Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware of Puppies and Violins

I sale art. I work with the public. Which really means all day long I run my mouth, and we all know I love to run my mouth. I had a customer come in some time ago, it was a very slow day...and we talked. This very nice gentleman told me how much he loved his wife and seemed very introspective about their love and their marriage. “There is no secret.” he said, “Just don't give up. Learn each other’s ways.”

“Learn each other’s ways.”

Man that is deep and I am not sure if I have ever heard anything that holds more truth.

That is most of what marriage is, knowing each other’s ways. Beware of anyone who says that their marriage is puppies and roses, breakfast in bed and violins playing in the background. Be careful what advice you take from these people. Why be careful of this advice? Because puppies grow into dogs, roses die in the winter, someone has to wash the breakfast dishes and the violinist will need to be paid (probably 50% up front). Marriage is not easy, and pretty much it is always work...work that is worth it...but it is work. I believe you are among the lucky if God guides you to the person that brings you balance. Life is about balance, and a marriage is about the balance you seek and the balance you also provide.

Balance is something you have to look for. Sometimes you have to look down to keep your balance, sometime you have to look up and trust that your balance will come from someone else. You have to “learn each other’s ways” and know when to jump in and be ready to steady each other.

I knew when I saw Lee that my Soul already knew his. It was a moment I will never forget. Lee remembers the same moment... however his was on a different day. Our “day we fell in love” stories differ slightly. But that is the case for a lot of folks, I guess. Your true love moment is not always the same.

Ours is my favorite love story, because we are the stars of the tale. We promised our vows, we believe in our vows. It is a deal we struck based on love. The deal goes something like this: I will protect you, I will encourage you, and I will call you down when you are being a jerk. I will be your best friend and hold your hand for the rest of my life. I will bring you balance.

A story is only as good as its characters. In great stories you learn about characters hopefully in some enduring ways. But as enduring as great characters are they will have struggles, they will have vices. Turning the page you learn more about each other. Sometimes more than you could have hoped for, sometimes more than you expected to find out.

1. He coughs once. In my opinion everyone should cough two times, the second being a smaller cough of finality. Try it now... I bet you coughed twice as any normal person should. The one cough, this will be a point of contention during times of illness, but I did promised in sickness and in health.
2. He thinks I'm a mind reader. Often at my most surprised times he will cap off a situation with “I told you, you don't remember?” But here is the clincher, how can I remember something I was never told.
3. Lee loves bacon, I mean really loves bacon.
4. He rounds up to the closet dollar on purchases. He will also balance a checkbook this way if given the chance. That never ends well.
5. He likes to take trips where we don't know anyone.
6. His jokes would not win over just anyone.
7. He likes expensive toys.
8. He would follow me to the ends of the earth to keep me safe.
9. He is an amazing gift giver and loves a surprise.
10. He makes me brave, and I know I'm not facing everything alone.
11. He will never realize I'm the funniest person he knows.
12. When the road was rocky he has carried me.
13. He will keep my balance when I can't look down.

1. I leave cabinets doors open, he never knew his job would be to close them.
2. I think he is a mind reader. If I'm upset and he caused it, why does he not know that? How can he not understand? Seriously?
3. I hate the way the house smells after bacon is cooked.
4. I pay the bills, I balance the checkbook. His need for round numbers confuses me. (If every gas transaction is 32.00 I wonder, did I duplicate? did they charge us twice? How many licks does it take to get the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know).
5. I like to visit family on trips.
6. I love his jokes.
7. I'm cheap.
8. Sometimes I need to know I'm safe, He has to tell me.
9. I'm a terrible gift giver, I hate surprises, and I'm happy with sparkly new toilet seats for Christmas.
10. I want to be brave and act like I can face everything alone.
11. I think I'm funny, He can't quite understand why.
12. I don't want to travel a rocky road alone, ever again.
13. I will keep his balance when he can't look down.

Plans are great—if it is for something that has an end, but this is life, there is not an end to this story. We are all pages in a book still unwritten. There are just new chapters. We have today. Today is the day you can make the most of. Yesterday is spent and tomorrow isn't promised. In our marriage we have to try to stay on the same page or we might miss a very important piece of our story. Stories are always evolving, and the pages are always turning. We can't skip ahead; we can't go straight to the sunset-look at how much we would miss. My hope is that we may always remember the same moments, even if it is in our own way. I hope for balance.

Ours is a love story still being written. The moments captured and still to be captured in our memories will tell a tale of unexpected plot lines, celebrations, twists and turns, sadness and comforting. But if we hold to our promises of love for each other and be true to ourselves it will be the grandest story I will ever have the chance to tell. I don't think it will ever be in hardback. I don't think our story will be on a best seller list. It will be our story and ours alone. I will seek to bring him peace and I will require nothing less than peace for myself. We will find balance when at times it is too scary to look down. We are sometimes as different as day and night, but if we were the same, we would not both be needed. I love “learning his ways” it makes me let go of my need for understanding, it brings chaos to my need for order. He is my balance.

My husband makes me brave. Life has not been easy as of late but I don't have to face it alone. I will seek to bring him peace and I will require nothing less for myself. We will find balance. And balance is worth more than puppies or roses anyday.


Will somebody cut off that violin music? I did not bring the 50% deposit.

Lee, I'm sorry I did not get you the million dollars you ask for, maybe next year!


  1. Lee, I didn't make those vows that day with you and Priscilla, but I too love you and I am also learning your ways.
    Thank you for all the support you have given me in the past weeks.
    When I first met you I really liked you, but now I Love you very deeply and do consider you a son.
    Thanks for taking such good care of my girls.
    Love Brenda

  2. Aw-w-w-w-w! I felt like I was reading a portion of a "love story" book. You are both so blessed to have each other.