The Marathon of Marriage: When You Have to Run in the Dark…

For those of you waiting for news of our marathon training, it’s been uphill and down—perhaps more figuratively than literally because, hey, we live in the Midwest.

No, our town’s not as flat as some places, but once when my daughter was learning to drive, we had to practice proper wheel turns for parking on a hill—Uphill, turn your wheels to the left. Downhill, turn them to the right—Finally, I found a spot and told her to show me what to do. She pulled over, looked at the road, and said, “Ok, but does this hill go up or down?”

Our town is pretty flat.

Our running? Well, some days it’s pretty flat, too. Other days…mountains…valleys…even a few volcanoes in there. Suffice it to say, it’s still on the horizon.

But more about that at a later date—I promise!

First, I want to tell you more about this husband that I’m running with—not just in training, but in life.

Quite a few years ago, I won a writing competition. The theme? “How is Your Husband like a Star?” I admit I almost felt guilty accepting the prize—because, in reality, it seemed like it should go to him! I think you’ll see what I mean when you read it.

No, he isn’t perfect. I’ll write some of those stories at a different time. (*wink*) But while our town may be rather flat, life rarely is. And through all the hills and valleys of our marriage, he has been there, faithful and true.

The Lord has blessed us—me—beyond measure. We have had many wonderful, happy moments in our life together: wondrous mountain peaks, cool valleys. You’ll read some of those here. But other times have been really hard. Like volcanoes and earthquakes. This piece shows more of the latter—and how my husband has been my star through it all. Again, you’ll see what I mean…

I hope you enjoy it.

When you’re done, comment below or on my Facebook page, Lessons in the Little Things and tell me how YOUR husband is like a star…

 

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My Husband, A Star:
Through Eyes of Love

 

Married to My Star

Married to My Star

I don’t think he understood what he was jumping into when he spent four hours calling every fifteen minutes, trying to ask me out on our first date.

Nor do I think he realized what he was getting when he asked, “Will you have me?” as he put a ring on my left hand.

No, I don’t think he even knew what he was promising when he presented the rocking chair to me on the night before our wedding and said, “I want to grow old with you!”

I think he just saw a young woman—a strong one, who lives life with a passion.  And whom he could tease…mercilessly.

But the rest—I think he just saw through eyes of love.

It was only months before our wedding when we went through the first roller coaster.  They told me I should get a biopsy. He held me as I cried, and he kissed away the tears, adding a few of his own.

Our rejoicing that all was fine lasted through the wedding–but was cut short when one month later, we found that my mother’s cancer had returned.  Once again, he held me.

He held me tighter the next month when my friend was killed in a car accident.  And tighter yet a few months later when the doctor called us into his office and told us there was nothing more to do except make Mom comfortable.

Our first Valentine’s Day together, he planned to put me on a plane so I could go home to see her. Instead, he supported me while the dean of my school told me there had been a phone call.  And he held me while I sobbed into his broad chest. He rocked me as I cried out my denial that I had missed her by three hours.

He encouraged me through the rest of that school year, getting up early to make my breakfast and lunch, helping me hold on ’til graduation, and then cheering me, as my mother would have, as I crossed the stage for my diploma.

And then he watched as I crumbled, sleeping all hours of the day.  He didn’t complain; didn’t nag—not when supper wasn’t made when he came home, not when none of the housework was done, not when I forgot to wake up long enough to pick him up from work and he had to walk the two miles home.  Instead, he just held me… held me as the nightmares made me too scared to sleep but the pain made it too hard to stay awake.  He understood that the good days were when I could cry… and the bad ones were when I couldn’t.

And then we reached a year. The celebration was sweet and wonderful.  We seemed to turn a corner, and things started looking up—including my weight…. We joyfully began preparing for an addition to our small family.  He stood by me, never complaining as I spent the first trimester with “morning” sickness twenty-three hours a day.  Nor did he complain when I spent the rest of the pregnancy putting on eighty pounds before our precious baby girl came into the world.  When I finally complained about how slowly that weight was coming off, he found me exercise classes and complimented me on every single pound that came off—even the half pounds.

Twenty-one months after our first baby, came our second beautiful girl…after another round of all-day “morning sickness” and another eighty pounds on me.  And still he never complained.  Daily he told me I was gorgeous and thanked me for his adorable girls.  He quickly became their favorite toy.  Slowly I walked the pounds away again, always with his loving encouragement and his assurance that he loved me the same whether there was more or less of me to love.

And just as the weight was almost off again, we found out number three was on the way. We were excited! And yet, I groaned as I knew what was going to happen to my body…again. But he just rubbed my tummy, smiled, and kissed me—like it was our first kiss.

This time, however, while the morning sickness was the same, the weight went on even faster.  Finally, two months before we were to deliver, we found out we had been gifted with a “Two for One Sale”—we were having twins.  Three weeks later, he never complained as we struggled to take care of a three-year-old, a two-year-old, and brand new twins.  He got up each night to bring them to me, as he had with our other children, so I could nurse them.  He walked them to calm them down when I just didn’t have anything more to give them.  He never complained when the tiny babies seemed to take up the whole bed and he was left trying not to fall off the edge.  He didn’t even complain when the babies took everything out of me and didn’t leave me anything to give to him.

As the babies grew, he watched as I struggled again with my body and the one hundred pounds I’d put on.  He kissed me, told me I was sexy, and bought me an exercise bike.  He cheered me on as I put mile after mile on it, once again dropping the weight.

Having four children to mother, it took a while to feel like I’d gotten my feet under me again.  He was there the whole time, chipping in wherever he could.  Finally, as the twins turned two, we both felt comfortable with our family of six.  We were ready to move forward with our lives.

But the Lord had other plans, and two weeks after our 8th anniversary, the little pink stick had a second  positive line in the second window.  In shock, I bought him a card of a baby peeking out through a cracked eggshell.  After he read it, I cried…and he held me.

It didn’t take long for us to look forward to this extra special blessing, but…several months later, he rushed home, praying no cop would see him as he broke every speed limit.  He arrived home just in time to hear me scream in the bathroom as I lost our baby.  He carried me upstairs, worrying over me when I fainted, worrying over the kids as they struggled with what had happened.

As the next months crept by, he continually told me how beautiful…how sexy…and how still very much a woman I was…especially when he saw me staring in the mirror, rubbing my hands against my flat abdomen.  As I struggled with health problems, he prayed with me.  And as I looked at that card that I had given him… the card that represented my baby that had hatched too early…he held me.  He let me cry, and he cried with me.

Our prayers and our tears were heard, and we were blessed once again.  This time we rejoiced together at each stage, even in the misnomer of “morning sickness.”

In the final weeks, as I waddled around with my usual extra pounds, I continually reminded myself that having a healthy baby was so much more important than my frumpy reflection in the mirror.  He would have none of it, though.  One morning, as I was heading out to a meeting where I would be introducing the former Mrs. Wisconsin, he left me a message declaring, “I just wanted you to know that you are one hundred times more beautiful than the woman you are introducing today!”

I cried all the way to the meeting—this time with sweet tears!

As our last baby was born, we knew, even more, what a special blessing and miracle she was for us.  But soon I started struggling with health problems again.  As they became worse and worse, surgery was finally suggested to prevent future problems.  Unfortunately, the surgery was botched, and he and our children watched as I became more and more ill from complications.  All responsibilities for the home and children fell on his shoulders, including caring for my most basic needs.  But when I lay in bed, crying…crying because the pain was so bad… crying because I didn’t know what was coming down the road… crying because I couldn’t take care of my family…he came and held me—and cried…. And he told me not to worry about the family—that he could handle the kids and the house and his job and even the cooking.

Then his voice caught as he choked out, “You just need to rest and get better—because I need you beside me!  I love you.  I can’t live without you!”

So how is my husband like a star?

A star in the night is a small light of hope, reminding us that the sun is shining on the other side of morning.  And that is what my husband has been to me through the dark times of my life.  He has been the twinkling light of Christ when I couldn’t see the Son myself.  He has been the warmth of Christ when I couldn’t feel Christ myself.  He has been one who, like Christ, loves me unconditionally.

For if you asked my husband what he sees in me after all these years of struggles, he wouldn’t tell you about any of this.  He wouldn’t talk about my weight yo-yoing, or about my struggles with my mom’s death, or even about the times when he had to do his work AND mine.  He would tell you he sees a young woman—a strong one, who lives life with a passion.  And whom he can tease—mercilessly.  The rest?

Through Eyes of Love

Through Eyes of Love

Well, like Christ, he sees through eyes of love!

 

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Now it’s your turn… How has your husband been your star? Please tell me below or on Facebook

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” –Eph 5:25

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Marathon of Marriage: When You Have to Run in the Dark…

  1. Diane Richards Weber says:

    Elizabeth, that was a beautiful expression of your love and appreciation for David. Truly, yours is a marriage made in Heaven. May you both continue to know His great love in your relationship with one another, with your family and with your friends. Thank you for sharing. Your mom would be so proud of you. Keep looking up!!

  2. Kate says:

    Elizabeth! This is beautiful. I love hearing about your early years of motherhood as well as your sweet marriage. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Kate,
      Those early years I was sooo young :-$ Learned a lot with motherhood and marriage as my instructors–and Christ as my guide. Friends like you help me look back and enjoy the moments–good and bad–that have so quickly flown by!

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