Wednesday January 13, 2010

He is half part of a blessed man, left to be finished by such a she;
and she a fair divided excellence, whose fullness of perfection lies in him.

My true love’s name is Steven
. He has red hair, thick and straight. His eyes are a great color – they change from blue to gray to green, depending on the day, the weather, and what he is wearing. His hands are the perfect size, not too big and not too tiny. They are rough & calloused just enough. His ears are slightly elfy, just almost kind of pointy. I love that. And his lips offer soft & gentle kisses (and occasionally sassy ones…), a quirky upturned corner when he’s just about to smile, and they always house wisdom & kindness. He loves jeans and sweaters. He loves hot cocoa and beer (but not together, please). He is a natural teacher, a sacrificial leader, a playful father.

I love this man.

I’ve been meaning to post about him for days. And I’m just now getting to it. My friend Erin posted about real life romance today, reminding me just how badly I wanted to post this. So here I am. 🙂
I love to brag about my wonderful husband.
The way he loves me even when I am unlovely totally melts me.
How he loves me right through my tears and ashes.
He cooks me dinner for Valentine’s Day, and on occasional other days when he knows I need it. Or want it.
Sometimes he surprises me with flowers for no particular reason at all.
He emails me from work and always says what I need to hear.

This man knows me. He knows my weaknesses and my strengths. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly. But he’d never let on about the latter two things. (He likes to praise me.)
He loves it when I dress up, spritz on a little perfume, and buckle on my classy black heels.
But he also loves it when I am in raggy jeans, a sweater, and have my makeup-less face framed by a casual ponytail.
And yes, when he says I am beautiful, he means it.

He doesn’t like mascara, so I gave it up.
Have I ever mentioned that?
He loves my red eyelashes.
Even though he almost has to squint to see them. 🙂
He reads with me or to me, he holds me close, he lets me be alone, he rubs my shoulders, he washes the dishes, he changes the grossest diapers (and remember, we do cloth diapers so it’s a little more intense than simply tossing it in the trash)…
I don’t have to tell him what I need. Most of the time he already knows (sometimes before I even know myself). Not always. He isn’t perfect. And no, he can’t read my mind.

But he loves me.
With his words.
His actions.
His body.
His heart.

This man truly lives out his wedding vows to me.
He attempts & desires to love me as Christ loves the Church.

He works hard.
On the days when his job is easy, and on the days when it is back-breaking and brain-bending.
He provides for us, by God’s grace.
Even when he was laid-off last year, he worked hard to find a new job (a better job), pounding down doors when he needed to, searching and knocking and seeking. And God rewarded him.
He continues to reward him.

My husband comes home for lunch now, almost every day. It is a rare treat. And sometimes, yes, I have to rearrange my schedule to be here with him during lunch hour. And sometimes he rearranges his lunch hour so I don’t have to rearrange mine. 🙂

He lets me sleep in, not only after his alarm goes off but after he leaves for work. He knows my frame.

He loves to take me out for occasional coffee dates, or sometimes out for dinner, or even on weekends away.
But most of the time, he loves me where we are.
In our home.
At the table.
On the couch.
Cuddled in bed.
It doesn’t matter where.
Or when.
He loves me when I am smiling, happy, playful, delighted.
He loves me when I am weeping, rending my garments, crying out to God, even despairing.

Most of our what-you-might-call-a-date “dates” involve Netflix dvds, our nice fluffy pillows, and a bedtime snack. Ice cream. Popcorn. Tea. Drinks. Whatever we’re craving.
And -oh yeah- a friend mentioned game dates. We do that a lot! Especially on weekends during nap time: we love Carcassone, Settlers of Catan, and Bananagrams. These make for times of super sweet fun.

Other dates are what I like to term “family dates” for we take along our sweet little son – we go on walks, we eat pastries at the local family owned bakery, we grab a fast food meal & enjoy the rare greasy goodness, we walk randomly through toy aisles at a local store… We love these dates. We love being a family.

We don’t need weekly movies, fancy break-your-wallet meals, or private serenades.
We love each other daily.
In the little things, in the big things.
Noisily or in silence.

To be honest, much of our newlywedded (yep, I’m calling that a word!) days have been filled with great sorrow and grief. I grew up thinking that my happily ever after would be much more Cinderella-esque. Naive and probably stupid, I didn’t expect my first 2 1/2 years of marriage to be filled with burying five children, and the unique challenges involved therein. Right from the get-go (since Covenant died a mere two months and three days after our wedding), we had to learn to live with and love each other through the good times and the bad. In sickness (of heart, in addition to body) and in health. If I’m honest with you, I would have to tell you that I didn’t think we would face “the bad” or “in sickness” until many years later. But God had other plans.
God has taught us, through taking us through many fires in our 2 1/2 years of newlywedded bliss, that true love isn’t just blatantly evident when you are wearing pearls, smiling, holding hands during a sunset, and you’ve just signed the bill for an $87 dinner.

Our newlywedded bliss is blatantly evident (in fact, we’ve been told so many times) when we sit in the back pew at church, weeping through the hymns and trembling during the prayers – holding hands while wiping each other’s tears.
It is evident when his strong arms wrap around my shoulders after a bittersweet ultrasound, and we are weeping in the middle of the hospital.
Our love is also evident when we behold our tiny children, hold them in our hands, and view a very physical evidence of a very physical love – and we bless our God together, through personal waterfalls, for giving us these beautiful little children who bear our image as well as His.
This bliss is never more evident than in our most vulnerable moments – private or public.

I never knew that grief would be one of the earliest and strongest threads in the tapestry of our marriage, that would stitch us together and bind us so tightly in love.

This is, most decidedly, from the hand and by the grace of God.

Our bliss involves getting our fingernails dirty.
It means loving each other every day, no matter what grime is there.
It means lovingly getting through that grime together.
It does include dates in our backyard in the rain.
And wandering through the toy aisle at Wal-Mart.
And homemade-by-husby Valentine’s dinners with little handcut paper hearts strewn around the table amongst about a dozen candles.
And having my hair dried for me at night when I’ve gotten out of the shower and it’s just too cold to sleep with a wet head.

True love, our own newlywedded bliss (a whole 2 1/2 years into it), is all of that.
And so much more.

I love this man, my Steven.
And he loves me.

I’ll leave you with the beautiful words (that I could recite myself) of Anne Bradstreet, “To My Dear And Loving Husband”:

If ever two were one, then surely we. 
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee. 
If ever wife was happy in a man, 
Compare with me, ye women, if you can. 
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold 
Or all the riches that the East doth hold. 
My love is such that Rivers canneot quench, 
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. 
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. 
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

6 Replies to “Wednesday January 13, 2010”

  1. Yes, Melissa.  This is a beautiful post about love & pain.  I know the truth of what you say.  I am not thankful for death.  But, I am thankful for the strong bond that God blessed Scott & I with, as we live(d) together through the death of our son. 

    Your post here is so sad & so wonderful at the same time.  You certainly opened up a fountain of tears for me.  Thank you for sharing!

  2. This post was beautiful, Melissa. Simply beautiful and such a overflow of your obvious love and admiration for Steven. 

    I love these blog posts today! So encouraging. You all should’ve done this the week of Valentines  
    Thank you for sharing those things and for reminding me of the blessing God has given me in Jason. We are truly blessed women. 

  3. Peanut,

    My friend Tina, at Paisley & Lace, did a romance post that you will like, too.  She’d on my blog roll.  She has read your blog & been blessed by the things you have shared about misscarriage.

  4. Hers was lovely too! Thanks, Erin. I’m glad she’s been blessed by some of my ramblings.  And it is lovely to have other ladies bragging on their husbands. It’s a lovely way to publicly honor our darling men.
    So, now that ( have talked about our day-to-day romance… we’re going out on a double-date with our best friends tonight! lol. We’re going to a movie, and then coming back here for dinner (one of those freezer meals I’ve got on hand). I need some distraction, so our friends suggested a date. I’m pretty excited. I think Steven and I have only seen 3 movies together, so that’s like once a year. This is our dose for 2010 I guess.

  5. Okay, I’m crying. Big tears rolling down my cheeks! That was the sweetest, loveliest, heart-warming, most beautiful thing I’ve read this year. (And I don’t say that lightly!)

    Your love is very much Christ-like and honoring of each other. What a blessing for not only you two but those who are looking in at you and seeing it.

    I want a love like that, someday. I want to give that type of love to someone special. (Not that my family isn’t special because they are!! but you know what I mean…)

    And you both have been through some very sad and grievous times already… makes me cry thinking about it but God knows. He is always there with us.

    One of my dear sweet friends was sick on her wedding day and they both went through a very icky flu their first couple weeks of marriage. I know it doesn’t compare to your trials and tribulations but they too, got to live out the sickness part of their vows, immediately.

    Love ya,


    P.S Enjoy your movie night with friends!

  6. I sooo enjoyed that and hearing you talk about your true love (I guess I can say that simply isn’t done enough by people today).

    What a beautiful picture you painted and it made me cry  too.~Jaclynn

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