Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wife Rule #11: Give Her Wings to Fly

The world-wide president of my church was happily married to his wife for over 67 years. It's safe to say he knew a thing or two about how to make a marriage work. A few years ago he gave a sermon about the women in our lives. I have always remembered from it an excellent quote, in which he recalled his wife saying, "You've always given me wings to fly, and I have loved you for it."

I know exactly what she meant when she said that. I have also been blessed to be with a companion who has always given me wings to fly. In our short marriage, we have both finished our undergraduate university degrees, which took a lot of mutual support and effort. She supported me during two years working on a Master's degree, and never criticized or resented my eventual decision to call it quits.

She gave me her unwavering support and enthusiasm during a three-year opportunity to sing in a world-renowned, highly competitive choir. The price of this privilege included my absence every Sunday morning from 6:30 AM until 11:00 or noon, including a whole year when she took our three small children to church alone every week.

Singing in the choir also meant I was gone many nights; every Thursday, most Tuesdays, and about 20% of Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, for at least 4 hours each time. It meant watching our children alone while I went on tours, sometimes for weeks at a time. It meant getting a babysitter, and fighting traffic and crowds, all so she could cheer me on, often while sitting with strangers in the concert hall. It meant watching the weekly Sunday morning television choir broadcast faithfully, while simultaneously fighting three little torpedo-like balls of energy.

She not only did this with grace and endurance, she did it with a smile. She was genuinely proud to support her man, even though it meant me leaving her alone with the children an additional 20 hours per week, on average. It was a difficult three years, but gave me experience and memories that will undoubtedly be among the most prized of my life.

In recent years, she supported my creative efforts when I built my photography web site. She has supported my passion for board games, spending hours play-testing prototypes with me. She supported my venture into a retail board game web site.

I recently told her I wanted to enter a nature photography contest. It would cost a little time and money to make the prints, mat them, and pay the fees. She enthusiastically encouraged me to do it, even though we both knew my chances of winning an award were slim. Awards don't matter to her. She has always believed in me, and the intrinsic value of letting me do stuff--of giving me wings to fly.

She called me this afternoon to tell me that one of my photos had won some type of award. There was genuine excitement in her voice. Her enthusiasm carried clearly over the phone line and wrapped around me, like a big, warm, bear hug. She is proud of her man. I don't know how to adequately express to her my gratitude for the love and affection I feel from her. She has taught me through her example that one of the best ways to show my love for her is to give her wings to fly. I hope I can accomplish this half as well as she does.

I love you, sweetie. Thanks for everything.

No comments: