There were no flowers, no bells, no whistles. The day came and went, as many do, without a big shebang. It was a good, ordinary day. Our 6,897th day since we said, “I do.”
It’s a bit ironic, the quiet man who cares the least about being seen or heard is the one I am asked about most often. This man has endured such cheesy escapades as reading the love chapter from the Bible every night for a month after we were first married because I didn’t want us to fall out of love. Deserving of wearing a best-hub-badge or something except that he.would.never.ever.
********This is a good place for a DISCLAIMER. This post is not for everyone. If you are cheese intolerant, you’ve read far enough. If you love cheese and real life marriage stories, this post is for you. If you are unsure, read on and decide later.*****
Jason, whom I often refer to as J, and lots of days, the cowboy, has granted this forgetful, unpredictable, irresponsible, phone-losing, over-sharing spaz more grace, more love than I’d ever in a million years deserve. He is the epitome of patient, more responsible than the most responsible human on the planet, and steadfast in every imaginable way.
In our years together, he has taught me many things about self-regulating, the vitality of strong, black coffee, how to love and savor the simplicity of life. His ritualistic routines and quiet ways have calmed my anxious heart countless times throughout our years. It is because of his persistent persuasion for me to rest, say no, take a break, that I am still breathing air. Because I love this cowboy, am forever grateful for the truths we have fought hard to learn, and lastly-mostly because I love encouraging your soul with real life, here are a few truths concerning faith, money and movies from love and life with a cowboy:
God + J + me =3
We need not go further if it were not for Christ. This marriage would be no more. I am not nice without Jesus. J is not patient or kind without Jesus. These things are true and if not, I would have told you. We are by no means perfect (just ask our kids) nor are we even near have arrived (not even close), but we are committed first and foremost to Christ and each other. It is because Christ first loved us that we can even like each other in the flesh. We snap at each other too much. We lose it lots of days. We scream and holler and then, we apologize. We sincerely ask for the other’s forgiveness, we forgive the other and mean it. Repeating as needed.
Feast or famine
Money. Whether you have little or you have much, for many couples, it is the greatest source of stress in their marriage. We are no different. We’ve yo-yoed back and forth: feast to famine, feast to famine since we two became one. Through the years, our financial situation if drawn on a piece of paper would look a lot like your favorite roller coaster. Roller coasters make me want to throw up- as have many of my financial debacles. I say, “my financial debacles” because I am to blame for most of our money messes. For way too long I was obsessed with stuff. On the days I was sure we were doomed without hope, J would calmly assure me, “We’ll be fine, babe. It’ll work out.” He has challenged me more days than I care to admit with his unwavering faith. To trust in The Lord to provide for us. And he has, ever-so-faithfully; providing one horseshoeing appointment at a time for almost twenty years. As a self-employed farrier (one who shoes horses), J has brought home checks left for him under rocks, in feed bins, or in between bales of hay for a couple of decades now because that’s the cowboy way.
On the set
Poets write about them, musicians sing about them, artists paint pictures of them, and we watch them in movies. Lots of days I feel like I’m on the set of, “Guess THAT western” as he quotes more cowboy lines from his favorite wild west show than he does his own dialogue. I’m not sure if it’s more the nostalgia, their quiet mannerisms or their confidence. Maybe it’s all of the above. Truth be told, I’m still trying to figure him out.
One proclamation I made sure to note. A question-answer exchange I’ve reflected on umpteen times.
In our earliest days of dating, we rode horses a lot. One particularly dreamy evening upon returning to the barn, lost in a love trance as he reached to take the saddle from the back of my horse I felt compelled to pitch a hypothetical. Feeling sure of where we were in our relationship and positive of where we going.
“If I asked you to choose between your horses or me, which would you choose?”
When what to my deceiving ears did I hear but a calm, cool sobering reply,
“Don’t ever ask me to do that.”
Noting his certainty, I made a mental note to heed his word and let that idea go.
Horses are a part of his world. I knew it then, know it still and love him all the more.
The cowboy’s love for horses and all that entails has allowed me to see and savor things (much like the movies) I most assuredly would have missed…
Like the hush of an old barn,
The value of a fair trade,
Cherished conversations with men who are as good as their word,
Life with the cowboy has taught me patience with spring and summer as to-do list are pushed aside until fall and winter when his calendar is less full and his back is more rested,
He reminds me to rest and be okay with a no-plans-day,
To stop and notice the blessing of each sunset as it rests beyond the barnyard,
and to appreciating the clear crisp, ring of the hammer on a horseshoe being shaped around the anvil..recognizing it as the sound of hard, honest work.
He has shown me how refreshing an afternoon ride can be for the soul.
Lastly, he’s given me these little dudes who I will love forever and ever plus infinity.
Surely if J and I wrote a letter to you young pups just saying “I do” we would write to you and say,
Dear precious lovebirds,
Step away from your gadgets
Sit on the porch
Savor a sunset
Look dreamy into each others eyes often (and say, “let’s look dreamy into each other’s eyes”)
Say, “I love you”
Be honest, always
and laugh, because a lot of life is funny.
Lots of love and cheesy wishes,
PS- If you are single and aching for Mr. Love, know this….YOU ARE LOVED! know that I have whispered a prayer for you…for God to comfort you as only, He can. Know this: God is always at work in the wait and He loves you more than you ever dreamed.
PS, again- We are not marriage experts nor do we play one on the internet. These marital truths have worked for us. We share them with the hope you will be encouraged where you are. Because I love cheese and believe this to be true…