Whoever gets a wife gets a good thing, and has the approval of the Lord.
— Proverbs 18:22
It’s easy to take the person you love for granted. Sometimes all the things they do go unnoticed, or, at least, unacknowledged. Sometimes we get downright hostile to the people who care for us the most. That’s usually because we know we’re not living up to the love they’ve invested in us.
Marriage is a favorite pot-shot for stand up comics and situation comedies. In those worlds, men are intractable idiots and women are overbearing taskmasters. Of course, here in the real world, everything is a lot more complicated. In real-life marriage, everybody gets a turn to be pigheaded and oafish.
But the love we invest in each other pays daily dividends; and every day we have a chance to write off some of the debt we accrue.
I feel like I’m about to strain the love-as-an-investment metaphor to its breaking point, so I’m going to leave it alone, except to say this: That investment of love really does make us better people, even when we don’t quite live up to it.
When I met my wife, I wasn’t even half the man I am today. That’s not to say I was a terrible person before Kristin swooped in and saved me; but it’s true that I was kind of wallowing. I had no idea of the potential I had until she invested her love in me.
The thing about dudes is we take the path of least resistance far more than the female of the species. There is a germ of truth in some of the sit-com scenarios that paint men as slothful brutes who have to be cattle prodded to take out the garbage.
But it’s not really about the garbage.
For me, it’s always been about fear of failure. There’s no worse feeling in the world; nothing is more paralyzing than the thought that I might not be good enough. Rejection, failure and regret are the ghouls that haunt my ambitions and dreams.
Kristin can banish those ghastly terrors with nothing more than a look, a touch, a word.
My wife doesn’t rubber stamp everything I do with a seal of approval. She’s perfectly happy to let me know when I’m barking up the wrong tree. That’s the difference between a wife and a cheerleader. Kristin is interested in me reaching my potential; she wants me to be happy, not placated.
Is Kristin a perfect wife? No. Am I a perfect husband? Not even close. That’s the point.We’re not perfect people.
The “perfection,” if you want to use that word, comes in the joining of two imperfect people. Together you work to create something in your relationship that is far more than the sum of its parts.
In a marriage, you begin to understand your partner’s true self. You see the person they’re longing to be. And you helpÂ thatÂ person, the person waiting to be called forth, step into the spotlight.
That’s what my wife is doing for me every day. She pulls the best out of me; she holds up a mirror so I can see myself, not as I am, but as I am meant to be.
In my wife’s eyes I see what I’m becoming. And I really like what I see.