Sunday, January 16, 2011

Introductions: my husband

I can't think of a perfect word. I can't think of the right thing to complete this sentence: My husband is _______.

The things he is don't neatly fit into "amazing" or "wonderful" or some word like that. Those words sound flat and tired compared to who my husband really is. So I'll try to introduce him another way.

(Pretty much all these things are exactly what I am not, by the way, which makes us quite complementary. Or crazy. Or both.)

He loves the outdoors. No. He needs the outdoors. He hears and sees and meets God there. He starts to die a slow death if he doesn't get outdoors often. His favorite kind of recharging is taking a trip to the Sierra Nevadas, climbing as high an altitude as he can, and spending the weekend camping, fishing, and walking around doing who knows what. I don't know because I'm not there. Yeah, most of the time he goes alone. Solitude and nature. He thinks it's the best thing ever. He even hopes to see a bear. (Wait, there's that wildness reflecting God's image...I can appreciate it. But I'll never get it.)

He doesn't love words, nor does he have a lot of words to say. But the ones he does have - the ones he speaks and writes to me - are valuable gifts. He doesn't waste time chattering about nonsense (like some people I am know). He listens, processes his thoughts in silence, and then speaks his mind clearly. Wow. Must be nice to not be a crazy mess of words and emotions and twenty five other things.

He is expressive in ways that I'm not. He's super creative, but it's not like he does crafts with me. Never. But he often needs to be creating. Sometimes that happens for him at work. He loves to be creating in the kitchen too (what an amazing cook!). And often times that expression happens at night, as he plays guitar and sings to the kids before bed. Most nights he teaches them praise songs, and they grow deep-rooted memories of their dad filling their dark bedrooms with music and worship.

He is risky, but in a good way. Not foolish, just guyish (which sometimes seems foolish to a female, but I know better). He models bravery, curiosity, and a love of adventure to the kids. They are very into his program. Only once have I had to establish a guideline: "If a person is still sleeping with a pacifier, he or she is too young to be pulled behind a boat in an intertube." (This rule was, unfortunately, enacted after said rule had already been broken. I found out by looking at the pictures. Yes, it's true.)

Oh, and he loves me. He puts up with my millions of words and emotions and social activities. He smiles at my drama. He lifts me up when I fall. And when he's not sure how to love me, he does the dishes. He always always always says yes to giving me time off when I need it. And he loves my children so very much.  What isn't sexy about that?

Here's a little glimpse at how my story and his story started to intertwine.

We met when I was 17, he was 19. He played guitar and led worship for the high school youth group I attended at church. (That guy is always the cutest guy too, by the way.) I loved him quickly.

In fact, he is the only guy I've ever loved.

The first gift he ever gave me was an abalone shell he'd plucked from the bottom of the ocean on a diving trip. I remember where we were standing, in a parking lot, when he presented it. The large shell had a folded up note inside, and he shyly said to me, "I brought you a treasure from the sea."

I do and I don't want to show you our picture from my senior prom. You guessed it: curling iron gone wild. And I wore a red gown because I knew they'd play the song Lady in Red. (That is so embarrassing.) They did. He was not in love with proms. But he was enough intrigued by the sassy, red-gowned redhead to take my arm and pretend to like dancing.

You've probably already gathered that he was not the kind to write his love in the sky with a plane or propose at a baseball stadium. Instead, he took me to the ocean, recited a poem barely above a whisper, and offered me a ring. Later he showed me the painting he'd made of the scene. His love is something like nature, now that I think about it. Quiet and powerful and deep.

We got married in August of 1997. All the men wore white tuxedo jackets because my grandpa felt strongly that black ones should be reserved for funerals. Everything about our wedding was beautiful.

Our relationship, however, needed some work. Needed some aging, some stretching, and some rooting.

We didn't know how to be married. We made a lot of great memories and a lot of mistakes, and threw a couple of kids into the story as well.  We had a dynamic mixture of fun and fighting for a decade. But more recently, we've emerged from a rough season. In the beginning of that season, God promised me that he would make the rough places smooth (Isaiah 42:16).

And He's fulfilled that promise. Oh, has he fulfilled it.

From the best day ever, New Years Day, 2011.

Despite the fact that my husband and I have many differences, we share many of the same perspectives. We want to love and serve each other and those around us. We want God to use us in His greater story, and we desire to be His servants above all else. We are true partners in parenting and share a vision for equipping our kids to become healthy, effective adults. And finally, we both believe we have nothing to offer each other, our kids, or this world unless we are individually living hand in hand with Jesus.

Trust me, we've tried to offer each other what we have in and of ourselves. It's a handful of pathetic crumbs compared to an elegant banquet when we are trusting God's ideas for our marriage. And as hard as this life is, let's be honest: we can't make it on crumbs. You can't make it on crumbs. You'll starve without God in your marriage. And if you have a rough place in your relationship, I encourage you to ask God to make it smooth. He is faithful to act, if you only believe He can and is willing. He wants to heal that place. He wants to be invited into it. And He will make it smooth, in His time, in His way (that's the hardest part), if you trust Him with your marriage.

My husband trusts God with our marriage. That's just one of many, many reasons I'm so blessed to be his girl.

Here are a couple photos for you (sorry they're small, but if I make them the biggest size, they get cut off. I'm really annoyed right now with my layout. gotta fix it soon.)

This one we look particularly giddy in. That's because we're on a weekend alone in a hotel which is on a lake in a snowy place. God bless you, grandparents.

Remember my ridiculously generous parents (see curling iron link above)? This is last summer, in Antibes. (If I knew something clever to write in French I'd do that here.)

OK, one more.

Now there's a kiss to build a dream on.



  1. Simply beautiful!! What a tribute to our Father, and to your husband, and to your faith!! He IS Able and Sufficient. You are blessed. Thank you for such a precious telling!

  2. Beautifully written Leslie. I loved reading this. I also loved that you didn't just share the "chipper" parts. God is faithful, & its so nice to hear about his faithfulness in your marriage.

  3. beautifully written Leslie. thank you for sharing him with us! quiet, strong, wild. all man, right? my favorite part: "Most nights he teaches them praise songs, and they grow deep-rooted memories of their dad filling their dark bedrooms with music and worship." that is absolutely priceless! praise God for the work He has done. He is so faithful, and Isaiah 42:16... i'm clinging to that. thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Great one sis! For next time, "...le joie de vive!...", can be used.

  5. what a sweet tribute to your husband Leslie! thank you for sharing this with us!

  6. so enjoyed reading this. again with the husband's emotional tank is filled by being outdoors....preferably fly fishing in a river. he dreams of climbing everest. we started dating when i was 16/almost 17 and he was 20. and we married in '97, too. glad to be journeying this life alongside Christ-centered women like you, L. may He continue to bless your faithfulness.