Wow! It is hard to believe that ten years ago today, Amy and I were married in Beverly, Kansas. We drove off into the sunset on a John Deere Gator. What a ride it has been since that day. I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on the last ten years of marriage and share any wisdom that I have learned along the way. I tell Amy, who is absolutely brilliant, all the time that I am glad she had that one lapse of judgment that lead to her marrying me. She has paid a severe penalty for that one slip up.
When I asked Amy to marry me over 10 years ago, she thought she was going to be a farmer’s wife and live in Kentucky the rest of her days. She worked as a nurse and would come home to help me on the farm. I don’t think she particularly enjoyed the work, especially some of the hard tobacco work, but she loved spending time with me. I was just happy to have someone to talk to that spoke good English. We were a good team and accomplished many things together. It is pretty easy to romanticize those days and gloss over the tough stuff. We faced challenging years of flooded out crops, workers who were inconsistent to showing up, financial stress, plus trying to learn how to live with the opposite sex (which neither of us had ever done.) Those were simple days and we had a lot of fun. We worked hard and played even harder. I remember one time we were sledding on a huge hill on the back of our farm. We had a big tractor inner-tube that we would sled down on and then we would drive the tractor down to tow each other back up. On one particular trip up the hill, Amy was riding on the tube. I hit a big rock with the tractor and the tube. Amy went flying into the air, bounced on the back of the tube upside down before landing in the snow. Like a good husband, I sped the tractor up and made her walk the rest of the way up the hill. Ah, the good old days.
Amy has stuck by my side through some pretty challenging days. She watched as God wrestled with my heart and He convinced me to quit farming, she was there when I cut my finger off and had 5 different surgeries to fix it. She was right by my side when I lost my first ministry position after we had moved 900 miles for the job. She has been there everyday through all the struggles of parenting and sleepless nights. Amy may not think she is tough and I question it at times too. But one thing she does have is resiliency. Which may actually be better than being tough.
I should have known it when by the way she acted when we were dating. Amy worked three 12 hour days a week as a nurse in Topeka, Kansas while we were dating. She would work 3 days early in one week take off a week to be with me, just to work 3 full days when she got home. The whole time she was with me in Kentucky, we were working hard on the farm. I guess the best picture of her resiliency was when I tried to dump her the second time. I know you are thinking that there is no way that this is accurate. Amy is way out of my league and I am the ultimate picture of a plain ordinary man with nothing really going for me. But I did try to get rid of her. Before Amy, I was a serial dater. I was always working on my next relationship. I was horrible at dating and treated girlfriends awfully. BTW, If any old girlfriends are reading this, I would like to apologize for being an idiot. But in a strange way, I did you a favor by removing myself from your life.
Anyway, back to me dumping Amy. We had spent the week together and I had been rather rude to Amy. I had hit my limit on the relationship. I was ready to move on to greener pasture so to speak. I did this pretty often. I think us living so far apart is what kept us together longer. I had made up my mind to give her the cold shoulder and get her to break up with me once she got on the plane to go back home. I drove her to the airport and told her we probably needed to talk less. And then I left the airport with her broken hearted. I am not proud of this in any way nor am I advocating this kind of behavior. I am just telling a story of a pitiful idiot.
Poor Amy cried all the way home. It would have served me right if she had met some handsome businessman who consoled her and they fell in love. Fortunately, for me that wasn’t the case. She dug her spurs in. I felt pretty good and considered myself back on the market. Amy decided that if I was going to break off the relationship, I had to do it like a man. She called me every day for two weeks. I didn’t want to be rude, so I answered her calls. Don’t ask me what I was thinking! She was resilient, she never gave up. Most people to this day, have no clue what she sees in me. They are blown away that she loves the biggest doofus on the planet. To that, I say, “Even a doofus needs to be loved!”
10 years of a journey together. We have learned some much about each other. We have counted on each other in so many different ways. We have struggled and we have overcome many challenges. We fight for each other. We still get on each other’s nerves from time to time, but we still love to be with each other. We still have long talks just like we did when we were dating. I am excited about the future because I know she is with me! We have faced so much and it was because we worked together to make it work.
Here are a few lessons that I have learned along the way and I hope they help you in your relationships:
- Learn to communicate how you feel to each other. If you leave it to guessing, you will always leave room for hurt feelings and distance in the relationship.
- Always go the extra step. Put your clothes in the hamper, put your dirty dishes in the sink (wash all of them if you want brownie points, I am sexiest to my wife when I do the dishes.)
- Always be willing to help, even if you are busy doing something else. This shows how much you value your partner.
- Never pinch your wife’s nose in the night when she is snoring. She will maul you like a cougar and you will end up on the couch. Save yourself the trouble and just go to the couch. (This is clearly hypothetical, lol!!!)
- Always be kind, watch what you say, and encourage every chance you get. I did a horrible job of this as a young married man, but am growing in this.
- Communicate about your decisions, even when your mind is made up. She will feel more like a teammate that has your back if she knows what’s going on. Plus she will save your tail multiply times when you are about to do something really dumb. (Again, hypothetical.)
- Last One, but a big one. Love her the way Jesus loves us. Be sacrificial with your love. Put her needs above your own. Don’t be afraid to be in the back seats to her plans or dreams. I am not advocating being hen pecked or a wimp, but love in a way that shows that you would lay down your life for her if it came to it.
Amy, it has been quite a ride the last ten years. I am sorry for all dumb things I have done and continue to do. I wouldn’t pick another partner to journey with, plus no one else wanted me. You have been such a God send and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us. I know two things; it won’t be boring and we can overcome anything because we will face it head on together. I love you. Happy 10th Anniversary!
Grace and Peace to you as put up with this numb skull for the rest of your life.