As a woman who loves her brothers, her fathers, her sons in the body of Christ I want to do something with this knowledge.
Yesterday was my husband's birthday. In honor of him and the many men we love beyond their ability to provide money for us, I want to focus on something unique about men. I want to show the way men provide themselves to us. I want to spotlight the way one man has given the best gift to me, a gift that is distinct from providing money, the gift of himself.
We've been married nearly 7 years, Dale and I. I've been regularly dazzled by the depth of this man, who he is, how he shapes me, how he is taught and changed by me, how love twines our lives together.
And love helps me both know and receive Dale for who he is, not what I long for him to be. I mean, the same guy I wake up next to, the man who travels and speaks alongside me, is the man who fails, listens, grumbles, creates, argues and loves me. Can I receive his gifts to me, the gifts that have much more to do with Dale's soul and body working in love than they have to do with money . . . .
Take our non-profit, Soulation. Dale runs almost everything. He is our accountant, travel-agent, resident researcher, sound technician (until recently he edited all our talks), video operator, web-technician, he updates our calendar, our new biographies, our pictures, he files for our non-profit status, he navigates the IRS law to ensure we're both writing off all true tax-deductible receipts, he writes all the code for our website (he'd say he's just a great copy-paster, but I know he has to hunt up that code somewhere and find the beginning and end--no small task for a novice and then integrate it into our Soulation site).
Dale intentionally invited me to do Soulation with him, wanting to share the spotlight with me on the stage, allowing his airtime to be cut in half because he believes in partnership on the road. This gift is beyond the diamond in my engagement ring.
In our home, I watch Dale keep spaces clear because he knows how clutter plagues my creativity. He shares in the task of walking our brood of corgis, the Ladies. He cleans alongside me, he researches and fixes items around the house, and keeps up on new projects. This gift is more than a cruise to the Mediterranean.
Take our friendships. Dale is an amazing conversationalist. I have a litmus test that if you cannot get along with my husband, you can't get along with anyone. He is full of grace and understanding, he knows how to listen, well. This gift means we can enter a room as a couple and find friends swiftly and pleasantly. This gift means more to me than a pair of deliciously sexy shoes.
In our marriage, I can trust that Dale really knows me, my interests and he knows how to add them to his own. He has watched and really liked the classics I keep adding to our Netflix list, he will switch plans last minute to go to a
restaurant I'd prefer. He consults me about absolutely everything, not that we always agree, but we always discuss it. Dale refuses to be less of himself in our argument, like when we talk about how I want to have children and he believes we must wait for the sake of helping care for souls in this world. I feel known by my husband, known and understood and this is why I can find deep satisfaction in what I do and who I am loved by, even here on the eve of the 1st anniversary of losing our baby.
I have a marriage where more has happened, more doors have been opened for me than I could have ever dreamed up.... and to think I almost married someone else.
Dale's only real fault is that he won't dance with me in public. And we go round and round about it. How I wonder if in my aging years, if God takes him from me, will I be one of those elderly women who sign-up for the community dance class, where I will be matched up with a young, pimply college student trying to earn some extra bucks teaching old ladies how to dance. Will my dancing debut find me with knees cracking and my figure sagging.
I've told Dale about my wonderings. And it troubles him every time we pass a senior citizen center that offers dance classes. He doesn't like the picture.
But, I tell him, you're the only thing keeping me from learning to dance now. And I roll him one of my insistent, pleading looks. He sits unhappily, unbudgingly.
And I sigh, dramatically. But soon lean over and kiss him on the cheek.
I really do think he is the world's best man.
This Christmas I want to learn to see our sparring matches about everything that matters to us, about philosophy and religion, about emotional health and investing, about designing our Retreat Center and Soulation and corgis as our dance.
Soul dancing with Dale...
As Christmas draws near, let me play the herald's role and sound the clarion call to women everywhere to honor the partners God has given them, to measure a man's success, not by his job, or by how well he meets our expectations, but to measure the man by his soul. May this recession help us accept the gift of the men who love us.