(not so) Top Secret

My husband and I had a pretty important milestone lately.  We celebrated twenty years of marriage.

In today’s throw-away society, that’s a pretty big deal.  I’m reasonably sure the divorce rate is now well over 50%. (I could research that, but this isn’t one of those serious, research-y blogs.)

Anyway, as an act of benevolence, and in light of the upcoming nuptials of some beloved family members, I have decided to share with you the secret of my marital success.

You read that right.  I am about to share with you, my faithful readers, top-secret, highly confidential information that may change the way we look at marriage, and, in fact, all of our relationships.

Come close now.  A little closer.  Lean in here.

Here is the secret–the secretest of secrets–

There is no secret.

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait–what?”

I’ll say it again: the secret is, there is no secret.

Part of our culture’s collective problem is that we think there is some magical answer to all of our problems.  There has to be some secret to how two people can stay married for twenty years, right? Some formula that makes it easy and does all the work for us. Do this, get that result.  A plus B equals C.

Oh, if only life were that simple.

My husband and I have stayed married for twenty years because we made the choice to stay married for twenty years.  If you think there haven’t been times during these two decades when each of us hasn’t thought about running for the hills, then you’re deluded.  Everyone has those feelings.  Human beings are volatile creatures.  We get angry.  We harbor resentment, and say things without thinking.  We hurt each other again and again.  Truthfully, no one has the power to hurt us more than the people we love.

It would be so simple for people to give up, to say to Hell with it and walk out the door.  Tons of people do.  Matt and I have not.  We have chosen forgiveness, and patience, and compassion.  We talk to God about our problems instead of the neighbors. We talk to each other when we have an argument instead of posting it on Facebook. In short, we make our marriage a priority.

To me, that isn’t a secret. We should treat all of our relationships, and the people in them, with respect.  We should give our best to the people who mean the most to us.  After all, that’s what we expect from them, isn’t it?

It’s so easy to think someone else will be better, someone else will do better, when in reality we are the ones who need to do better. We need to try harder.

That isn’t a secret, my friends.  That is a fact.


 

 

Voluntary Madness

As I sit here in my faithful, if slightly sagging recliner tonight, I am, for the moment, without my husband.

Where is he? At the bar? Working third shift? Coon hunting?

Nope.

He’s currently at the scene of two-car MVA.  That’s motor vehicle accident to the uninitiated.

My husband is part of our local volunteer fire department.  He, and his brothers and sisters, were all just sitting at home a few minutes ago, some probably in bed, when that shrill sound ripped through the evening.  The volunteer firefighter’s pager–a cold, unfeeling thing that dictates much of our lives.

As a teenager, I sometimes held volunteer firefighters in disdain.  Now, as VFF wife, I sometimes catch little snide comment and rolled eyes from people.  I know what they are thinking.  They have envisioned the Barney Fife types who just like strutting around with their pagers and giving people orders.  I guess there are some of those out there, just as there are always bad apples in every basket.

But what I have found is that these are hard-working, courageous men and women who voluntarily give up time away from their families to help others.

My husband spent days away from home while he was getting his certification.  He got further trained to drive the engines, because he is a naturally talented big truck driver.  He trains every Monday evening with his Station.   Mostly, though, he is always ready to literally run out the door and to the rescue of people in need.  It might be late in evening, like now, or it might be one or two in the morning.  Sometimes he’s back in an hour–sometimes not for five or six.

Sometimes he has to comfort people who are afraid, and hurt, and maybe even dying, all while acting as though he himself is not afraid.

He has been “toned out” during cookouts, birthday parties, holidays and family gatherings. He has missed his dinner and eaten a bowl of cereal, or maybe nothing at all because he was too exhausted to eat.

He has made lifelong friends, and so have I.  He has had struggles and frustrations and some scary situations, which he always downplays to me because he knows I worry.  He trusts his brothers and sisters with his life, and holds their lives in his hands.

So, take a minute to be thankful that there are men and women out there like my husband, who don’t do what they do because they are getting paid, or getting glory, or really even getting any recognition at all.  It’s easy to dismiss a volunteer firefighter because he’s the same guy you see mowing his lawn every week, or shopping in Walmart.  But make no mistake–he’s a hero.

And this one here, he’s mine.

12977063_10209707580512796_6581974544782213595_o

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...