When I married my wife in 2007 I fully expected to be in the running year in and year out for the “husband of the year” award. After all, this was my second marriage and certainly I’d learned a great deal over the years from my divorce. I was also now forty years old and I think it’s been scientifically proven that age forty is when boys mature into wise men (or maybe I read that wrong and it was “wide” men).
We had a small wedding at a tiny Catholic chapel and then headed over to a historic hotel for a luncheon with our guests. At the meal I toasted my bride, noting that she makes me want to be a better man every day. This was certainly true then and continues to be true now.
Through everything my wife continues to encourage and inspire me and, yes, to love me well and be a great friend.
However, there can be a significant gap between “want” and reality and I’ve never been awarded even one of those coveted “husband of the year” awards. I’ve been in the running for “jackhole of the year” a couple of times and was even a finalist in 2014.
Through everything my wife continues to encourage and inspire me and, yes, to love me well and be a great friend. Not perfectly, of course. She is human too. But there is no way I’d be in the place I am now, and with the love and encouragement to publish STAND, without her.
When I think about it there are at least seven factors or characteristics I can attribute to my wife and our relationship that enable me to continue to hope that one day I’ll be in the running for husband of the year.
My wife believes I’m a better man than I’ve been
Throughout the years we were dating, starting a few years after my divorce, I often made it plain to Jessica that I saw no need to get married. She usually didn’t say much but would let me know that she planned to remarry and if it wasn’t me then it would be someone else. I also attempted to shock her Catholic sensibilities by promoting atheism or some form of dubious morality and she would calmly let me know that she did not believe me. She believed I was hurting following my divorce but that, someday, I would want to remarry and try to be a better man. She was right even though I often wouldn’t let myself believe her.
My wife is a good and supportive friend
Jessica understands me well, even when I’m proclaiming the opposite, and she is good at supporting me, even when she doesn’t feel comfortable with my decisions or choices. She doesn’t enjoy risk and there is little riskier than starting up a new magazine.
My wife is forgiving
I would prefer that Jessica not have to practice this skill but I’ve provided her with many opportunities to make use of it. She doesn’t give up on me when I fail her and I’ve failed her many times. One of my goals is to reduce the number of times I fail her. After all, it’s only fair that she has an opportunity to forgive someone other than me sometime.
My wife is a fantastic mother
Seeing my children with their mother brings me great joy every day. They are absolutely crazy about her and rightly so. Jessica is incredibly attentive to their needs and encourages them to explore their interests. She works a full-time job and, despite coming home tired, makes sure to give Logan and Savannah the focus they need, and ensures they get good quality time to read together every night. Logan, in particular, loves this time with her and complains if I try to step in and do the reading. Don’t be mistaken though: I’m a fantastic reader.
My wife is incredibly strong (and stubborn)
Let’s get this one out of the way: my wife is stubborn and, as a Taurus, I know stubborn. And while it does drive me crazy from time-to-time (every day) she also stubbornly continues to love me even when I give her reason not to. The flip side of stubborn is strong. Jessica is incredibly strong, both physically and mentally. She gets up early to run long distances (often in the cold here in Michigan) while I remain comfortably warm in bed. Her strength—physical, mental, and moral—has been a key to the success of our marriage.
My wife enjoys spending time with me
This might shock you: not everyone enjoys hanging out with me. Jessica, on the other hand, genuinely enjoys the time we spend together and, though our time alone together has decreased since Logan and the Peach arrived, we still make an effort to spend quality time together, either at home after the children have gone to sleep (when they sleep) or by scheduling fairly regular nights out for a movie or dinner.
My wife is respectful of my family and their idiosyncrasies (or idiocies?)
Let me share a secret with you: my family is quite odd. Seriously. I know that’s probably difficult to believe but it’s true and my wife tolerates it well. Not only does she tolerate it but, at times, I think she even loves my family! Family is one of the big three trouble spots in a marriage (money and sex, as you might expect, are the other two) and it’s good to know that despite my family’s quirks, Jessica is respectful of the fact that they are still my family.
So, as you can see, I really do have it good and, to tweak a phrase from the film Jessica and I watch every Christmas Eve, I really do have a wonderful wife!
(Hey, does this get me in the running for Husband of the Year this year?)