In a tweet earlier this week, Joel Schmidt from The Practicing Catholic laid out a challenge to married men who write on blogs to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day by spending some time reflecting on the love they have for their wives. I’m still learning this whole blogging thing, but this is one subject that I hope any married man can easily write about.
In my reflections, I figured out something kind of funny, even if very common. Most of the qualities that I most love in my wife, Juliana, are qualities that help counteract some of the qualities that I dislike most in myself. She challenges me in subtle, non-combative ways that make me a better person. With this in mind here are five of many reasons that I love my wife.
- I am Catholic because of her. I can list many reasons as to why I sought full communion with the Church, but they all come down to the fact that she insisted on how important her faith was to her. She never pressured me. We had many long emotional discussions and shed a few tears, but we never argued about it. She let my journey into the Church unfold in its own time. The Church has been such a gift in my life. I am often asked by other Catholics whether or not I would have been a priest or religious, if I had not gotten married. The answer is a confident “no”. I do not think I’d be Catholic without my wife. I believe that with God, there are no “what ifs”, only “what is”, and His “what is” for me was to become Catholic and be married to this wonderful Catholic women.
- She is beautiful, inside and out. Not only do I love her physical and emotional beauty, but it is her appreciation for beauty that has helped change the way I look at the world. Whether it is nature, art, or music, Juliana always looks for the beauty in life. I have learned so much from her about appreciating that beauty. Her optimism in seeking beauty has been an enormous influence on me. In addition, she turns away from things that are ugly. By that, I mean that whether it is language, attitudes, or morals, she strives to avoid adding to the ugliness in an increasingly vulgar world. This is something with which I struggle, and she is an example for how I want to view the world, and what I want to contribute to it.
- She has made me more adventurous. Prior to meeting her, I had traveled outside of Oklahoma to only two other states: Kansas and Texas. In case you aren’t great with geography, that means I had crossed the northern and southern borders of Oklahoma and that was it. Juliana helped change that with a trip we made to New England that gave both of us the travel bug. So far in our life together, we have traveled to several states and around the World. I am not sure that I would have even considered traveling to Italy or France without her passion for travel creating a similar passion within me. Traveling and experiencing different cultures has been such a joy in my life, and I owe this to Juliana’s “let’s go!” attitude.
- She supports my dreams while keeping my grounded. I’m an idealist dreamer. I have a lot of ideas, philosophies and theories. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are just plain out there. Juliana kindly endures the bad and the “out there” while nurturing the good. She listens to a lot of rants, raves and worries, and takes them all in stride.
- She’s been through the dark days in my life and stuck with me. Some of the worst days of my life came not long after I met Juliana. Personal tragedies left a dark cloud over me. As I look back on those times, I am still a little surprised that she didn’t find a way to gracefully leave. She didn’t, though. She stood by me when grief caused irrational anger, selfishness and depression. She saw me at my worst before she really even knew me. Few people really understand the “for better and for worse” promise they are making at the altar. When she made that vow to me, I knew that she meant it. It is a testament to her ability to love. An ability that I am grateful to experience everyday.
I truly love my wife. I hope all those that are married can be as happy and in love with their spouses as I am with mine, and those who are single might find such happiness one day. Happy St. Valentine’s from The Slow Tonsure.