For my husband, with love and respect on Father’s Day, 2013

daddy and boys

You know, I really wasn’t sure what sort of father my husband would turn out to be. I thought, given his upbringing, that he might be a bit strict. But then I wondered if, given his upbringing, that he’d turn out to be quite lenient, in that “I’m never going to be my father” type of way.

Turns out it’s sort of both. While my sons may later be given permission to pierce their ears and color their hair purple and listen to whatever music society deems shocking in that era, they will be expected to do so while saying yes ma’am, no sir, completing their chores and doing well in school.

But, while I didn’t know what to expect when it came to my husband’s take on discipline, I was not surprised at all when it came the amount of affection he’s shown his boys.

My three guys can’t get enough snuggles, enough tickling, enough “I love yous” from one another throughout the day. The oldest greets his daddy with a shriek of pure joy when he seems him come in the door at the end of the work day, and the baby always has a grin and a few gurgles for him.

It’s not just affection with the boys – my husband believes one of the best things a man can do for his children is love their mother and for that I am truly blessed. He works hard at a dangerous job that is both physically and mentally demanding in order to provide us with a comfortable lifestyle. He spends time in prayer for our family and plans constantly for our future.

And, as he demonstrated tonight – he looks out for our safety.

After a completely slothful day at home during which we stayed in our pajamas, ate a bunch of junk food and just generally wallowed about like swine (save for a brief ER visit when the oldest fell and whacked his head on a door frame) we began settling in for the night.

Suddenly, the dogs began to bark. The barks turned into snarls – noises that always let us know something is definitely not kosher.

My husband rushed outside in his underwear, armed with only a small dachshund, to find that the spokesmodel for Faces of Meth had wandered into our carport.

She was scrawny, toothless and haggard and she asked him for a cigarette and directions to Wal-mart. He replied that he had neither, and that he couldn’t help her.

I was still inside, oblivious to our unwelcome visitor, when I heard the dogs begin to growl again. I thought it quite strange since he was already out there, and I poked my head out the door to see him still trying to respectfully turn the woman away.

As she gave one sad story after another in her erratic, slurred speech, he continued to address her as ma’am but refused to let her any closer to our door. I watched him for a little while longer, torn between his pity for the woman and his determination to protect his family before I chimed in and told her that the police station was about a quarter of a mile that way and perhaps she should head that way if she needed help.

The police met her at the end of the road, having apparently been summoned earlier by a neighbor. We left them to their business and headed back inside, praising the dogs and locking down the place.

He took the oldest to bed with him while I tried to unwind by cleaning the kitchen. While I put away dishes I marveled at the tremendous effort he always puts into trying to do the right thing. In his jobs as a parent, a husband, an employee and yes, even as a man dealing with a late-night junkie trespasser, he does his best to treat people with respect, to be a man his sons can look up to.

So Happy Father’s Day, honey. We love you and appreciate you so much, and we wish you a mulligan on your relaxing day with hopefully no head injuries or toothless meth addicts. Oh, and may the Royals beat the Rays. Muah.

But what about the consonants?

*This was originally posted on my anniversary earlier this year. I edited it a bit to share again with Lovelinks. Click here for a chance to win a slot in The Bloggess sidebar for a month sponsored by I’m also linking it with Theresa’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom at A Mountain Momma. 

I knew someone once who used to talk about how seriously she took her “marriage vowels.”

Now, I was pretty serious about my vows, but I never really contemplated my vowels.

After much thought, I figured it was important to take the AEIOU-and-sometimes-Ys pretty seriously.

Acceptance: What starts out as flutters in your chest at the mere sight of your loved one in the beginning will eventually turn into eye-rolls of annoyance later on. You don’t share a bed, a bathroom, or children with someone and not want to smack them occasionally. But if you accept one another for the beautifully flawed creatures you are, and understand that you’re no prize catch either, it’s easier to forgive when your spouse forgets to pay a bill on time, take the trash out, or farts on your leg in bed.

Empathy: Recognizing and sharing your spouse’s feelings leads to compassion. Much of the time, we get caught up in what we want, what we need, and forget to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Sometimes I actually have to sit down and concentrate very hard to see things from my husband’s perspective. I tell him it’s difficult because I have a hard time shoving my head that far up my ass, but he knows I’m kidding and that I’m really making an effort to understand what’s he’s dealing with.

Intimacy: Yeah, I’m talking about sex in this case. I’m gonna go ahead and say that it’s important to make the beast with two backs as much as humanly possible. I don’t think that people were meant to get freaky only for the sake of bearing children. If you’re not burning a hole through the bed on a regular basis, you’re missing out. Any time my husband and I are not getting along, I can always correlate our spats with a dry spell. And although many would say correlation does not imply causation, I’d say in this case, the more often you’re sharing your body with your spouse, be it in tip-top physical condition or flabby, fuzzy and dimpled, the happier you guys are going to be. (It’s really hard to stay mad at someone if you’ve recently seen their “O” face.)

Originality: You and your spouse are an original creation. There is no one else like the two of you. So don’t get caught up in the trap of “keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s easy to go from being a free-thinking person to being a lemming. You don’t need a Lexus, a McMansion and a yearly trip to Necker Island to be happy. Having the latest and greatest when it comes to stuff is definitely fun for awhile, but it’s not going to make you happy, especially when you realize you only bought it because you saw someone else had it. You’ll eventually see yourselves working so hard to fit into the mold of what an American couple should be that you could miss out on what the two of you really want out of life.

Union: You’ve been (hopefully) voluntarily joined. No one frog-marched you down that aisle into the arms of your spouse. You held some sort of ceremony to mark your intentions of becoming a single unit. Remember that when you’re upset with your partner and you want to vent to others. You wouldn’t betray yourself, so be careful not to betray your other half. Nothing is more pathetic than a grown up who still runs to their parents every time their spouse pisses them off. People are going to talk, so even though you think you’re speaking in confidence, you’re not, and what you thought was a private look into the innermost workings of your union is going to be public. I personally know way too much about others’ marriages, and you can’t “unknow” something. It’s really difficult to sit across the table from someone and not think, “That dude needs Viagra,” or “He’s a big fat liar.” Guard your marriage. Be careful what you share with others.

And sometimes, Yield: Even if you don’t want to. Even if you think you’re completely, totally justified and holding all the cards – give in. Because as a wise man once said: “Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be married?”

If you’re so inclined, you can vote for this post here until Friday. Thanks! (Update: We made it into the top 10% again. Thanks!)