Her smile was the first thing that I noticed.
It was a Tuesday night.
On the following Friday, I knew that I wanted to marry her.
A month later, on a windy Halloween night on the banks of the Mississippi River, I asked her if she would marry me. I’ll never forget her response.
“Who are you and why are you following me? Police!!!”
Actually, she said yes. I was relieved because I knew that I didn’t deserve her. As I saw it, Marsha had no reason to agree to marry me.
She had it all together. She was smart and had things planned out. Even the little things. I, on the other hand, was a human collage of every character that Adam Sandler ever played. I was a twenty-six-year-old child.
But at least I had enough sense to know a good thing when I saw it. Old timers tell me that I out-punted my coverage. They’re right.
Sometimes on Facebook people talk about their marriage in an awkward way.
“Happy anniversary to my loving husband. It’s been a very tough, long, and painful two years but we’ve made it. Sorry for calling the cops on you last night.”
I can’t say that about our marriage. Sure, we’ve had to endure difficulties together but that’s the thing. We did it together. I’ve never felt like we were two competing entities fighting for the biggest piece of pie. She gets the credit for that because I really, really like big pieces of pie.
We’re all familiar with the man that verbally and emotionally abuses his wife. But this kind of abuse can go both ways. It doesn’t make one less wrong than the other. It just means that selfishness and cruelty aren’t isolated to one particular gender. I hear a few women who talk to their husbands like he’s the villain in some Nicholas Sparks story.
“You should’ve turned left, idiot!”
“You’re such a wimp.”
“Remind me again why I married you.”
And the woman who says those things is surprised when her husband becomes emotionally distant, develops an addiction to pornography and can’t seem to get the kids to respect him.
That’s one of the things that I appreciate most about Marsha. I know that when I come home, I’m not entering enemy territory. I look forward to coming home every day. Through ten years of marriage, Marsha has done an excellent job of supporting me, disagreeing with me and following me. No drama. And that same great smile.
There’s a scene in the movie As Good As It Gets where Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man.”
Marsha has made me a better man.
This weekend our family will celebrate Marsha’s birthday. I’ll obsess over getting her the right gift. Something that somehow lets her know how much she means to me. But I’ll also thank God for the gift that he has given to me.
He really has given me a good thing.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22 (ESV)