It's hard to know where to begin with writing this essay. Everyone thinks that they have the most handsome, most thoughtful, most romantic husband when deciding to enter these contests. In taking a moment to gather my thoughts before writing, I have to ask myself the question of what makes my husband Randy different, a cut above the average man. What sets him apart and gives me no doubt that he is the one who has earned the title "#1 Husband and Father" if not for this contest, but always in my heart?
The answer is simple, and yet profound: he loves me with the unconditional and self-sacrificing love of Christ. I don't want to spoil a great love story by giving you the ending first, but Randy is the husband and father he is today only through the fact that Grace has made all the difference in his life. Without Christ teaching and leading him daily in how to be a man after God's own heart, we wouldn't have a marriage approaching our tenth anniversary this year or a healthy, loving home for our three children.
Randy and I are both from "broken" homes and were children of divorce; we both experienced seeing our parents not make it to "forever" and didn't have the best examples in marriage and family life. I married young and had to go through the loss of my first spouse to infidelity and single motherhood in caring for my young daughter. Randy came into my life when I felt the most unlovable, unwanted, and discarded. The first time I looked into his eyes however, I saw the love of Christ and the potential restoration of what had been taken from me . . . . I knew I could trust this man not to do anything purposely to hurt me . . . and by God's grace, that has all come true.
There isn't such a thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect spouse - - - but I have the closest thing to that every single day and I don't take a moment of it for granted. Through the last ten years, we have experienced many losses together: the loss of a child, the loss of a business, the loss of his father, the loss of my health . . . and each time I have seen Randy come under me to support and defend my needs before his own. We have also faced many moments of bittersweet joy together: the birth of two more children after complicated pregnancies, buying two homes, watching our children grow and mature each passing day, and the blessing of praying for and loving each other through the ups and downs of daily life. Through it all he has been the steady support that has carried me through the life we share together.
I have so many moments that have frozen in time in my memory when I knew that I saw Christ working for and loving me through my husband. When the rubber really meets the road and all the potential "hazards" of life come into view, Randy has always shown me how much he loves me through his words, his touch, and his actions.
He has always treated me like a lady: preserving my affections and showing me such honor by asking for my hand from my father and then waiting to kiss me until our wedding day. He is a "gentle-man" and is always respectful of me as a woman and sister in Christ.
He has held my hand and prayed for me in childbirth and before many surgeries, soothing my fears with his quiet, steady presence. His is the first face I look to find after the anesthesia fades. He is my safe place.
He sends me to bed early and looks out for my needs as he stays up late to wash the dishes, even after having a long day at work. He misses much-needed sleep for me.
He calls me every day on his break at work and patiently asks me about my day, along with sending me loving and uplifting text messages. He invests himself in me.
He loves spending time with his family - and is willing to give up HIS interests to do so. Although he loves to watch sports, he lets the rest of us choose what to do, even at the expense of not being able to watch "his" teams. He knows that his family is worth more than anything else in the world.
He encourages me to have social time out with my friends each week, and although he hasn't been out alone with a friend more than 5 times in the last ten years, he is willing to send me out for some "me" time. He never complains about the amount of extra work that he will have to do to make that happen. He cares about my needs and serves me by caring for our children.
He works, tirelessly, to provide for our family so that I can follow my dream and calling to be a SAHM (stay at home mom). I am speechless when I think about the sacrifices he has made to see this come to reality in our family, even with sometimes working two jobs to take care of the finances. He isn't afraid to be responsible for our family and our future.
He is always affectionate, patient, supportive, romantic, and self-sacrificing; most importantly, however, Christ has free reign to work in and through him to love me (and our children) unconditionally. I don't deserve such love . . . but again, neither do I deserve Christ's love and sacrifice. I am a very blessed woman, indeed.
The thing I have learned most during the last ten years of our marriage is that, just as I had to make the choice to accept the Grace given so freely to me through Christ, I must also daily choose to accept and cherish the love and self-sacrifice of my husband. There are times even still when I feel so unworthy of the gift of this precious man and his love for me. In gratefulness and my daily service, I hope to "repay the debt" of love of both my God and my husband by choosing to accept that love that comes from both and offer what I can give in return - - - my whole heart.
I pray this debt will never be canceled.
Happy Father's Day to my husband, my friend, and my love, Randy.
Always your love,