Apart from the occasional humorous anecdote or good-natured jab at his expense, I don’t often write about my husband. Sure, I write a lot about life and family in general, but I don’t think I have ever written about marriage or romance. Since I debuted as guest-blogger here for the first time ON Valentine’s Day, it felt like maybe I should write about my husband, Tom, once and for all. As I sat down, I discovered that I just couldn’t do it.
First, allow me to explain why I don’t usually write about him. You see, I grew up with a bad-to-the-bone single mom who raised the junk out of us four kids. She taught us all the important things: like how to be kind and compassionate, how to curl and feather our bangs to perfection and how to make homemade donuts. Basically, life essentials. And she did all of this alone. She did this in the wake of a divorce and then the death of my 17-year-old brother just shortly after. She is incredibly strong, and she did a pretty great job with us. But still, it was not easy.
So, every time I feel compelled to tell the world about what an incredible man my husband is, I think of the women who are raising the junk out of some awesome little kids, and are maybe doing it alone. I think about the people who have marriages in crisis or marriages that are just okay. I think of those that are still grieving the death of their spouse, or all the peeps who are single-n-lookin-to-mingle. OR the zillions of people who are happily-single-and-just-sorta-sick-of-hearing-about-other-peoples-marriages. And I panic. It starts to feel all weird and braggy, and I get in my head about it all. I tend to be hyper-sensitive to other people’s feelings and situations. It’s the blessing and the curse of being an empath, and sometimes it prevents me from publicly celebrating certain victories or gifts in my life. Including my husband. I just don’t want my joy to bump up against someone else’s grief.
In the past year and half, however, I have spent a lot of time studying pride, jealousy and envy in the Bible. These are three things that I have struggled with immensely for the past couple of 36 years. (Alright look, basically from conception on I have been a pretty gross person ok?) I have sooooooo far to go in this journey of uprooting pride, sinful jealousy and envy from my heart, but the one area that I have felt pretty strong is coming along side of those who are grieving or struggling. This is very natural for me. What is less natural and requires more of an effort, is the celebration piece. Celebrating others, and feeling the freedom to celebrate in my own life.
In the spirit of Valentine’s day, that is what I am committing to do. I am going to celebrate all things love and marriage. And while I am still quite afraid of bumping into a wound or two, I am giving myself permission to publicly celebrate a man who is long overdue for me to gush over him a bit. Guys, if you take the beloved Jack from the hit TV show This is Us (hold the drinking problem and 70’s mustache - replace it with mild-to-moderate anxiety and lumberjack stubble) you have my husband Tom. He is dependable, thoughtful, conscientious, protective, hilarious, steadfast and strong. Unlike Jack, he would never die in a fire to save our dog, but that’s seriously his one and only flaw.
In the past 15 years together, we have faced some really dark times. We have had some big wins and some pretty major losses. We have had moments where we felt like total failures as parents, we have been passive-aggressive and cranky (me), hangry (him) at times, but also really devoted and self-sacrificing. He lives more like Jesus than any man I’ve ever known. All the good in our marriage has been him. So I celebrate him today. And I celebrate marriage and love and things that are going right. And for those with wounds - whether fresh or long held - there is plenty of room for this empath to give a reverent nod toward grief today too.