Sunday, July 18, 2010

Silk and Linen

Happy Anniversary to J and me! We have been married 12 years today (the silk and linen anniversary, apparently). Two years ago we were at the airport, about to board a plane headed for Mexico and our 10th anniversary vacation, and we got a call from our social worker about Evelyn Beatrix. I don't think any anniversary gift will ever top that.

I'm going to take this opportunity to write about something that I've been pondering for a few months, ever since J's grandfather passed away in March. The reverend who gave the eulogy (the same man who officiated at our wedding 12 years ago) asked for stories and thoughts from the family to include in his sermon at the funeral. I kept silent because J's grandparents had 5 children and many grandchildren and I didn't think my contribution was really necessary considering the many contributions from other family members. But the question got me thinking about J's grandfather's legacy and about Zeph, since at that time we had just recently learned that we wouldn't be able to adopt him.

I'm not sure I can express this as eloquently as I feel it, but my marriage to J is part of Grandpa's legacy. Grandpa D loved his kids and grandkids, but most of all he loved his wife, J's beloved Grandma, who passed away last September. He loved her in the way God commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). And Ephesians 5:28: "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

I don't imagine that J's grandparents lives together were perfect and free from arguments and conflicts, but J's grandfather truly loved his wife in this biblical way and everyone who knew them saw the bonds of love that held them together as husband and wife for 63 years. That legacy of respect and devotion was passed down to the next generation, and I have witnessed the same relationship between J's parents. Ever since I've known them, I've admired the devotion, tenderness and respect that J's dad shows for his mom. I am immensely blessed to be the beneficiary of this legacy. J grew up with role models who showed him how a man ought to love his wife, and he has been a patient, faithful, forgiving, romantic, thoughtful, mature, compassionate and loving spouse to me for 12 years, through many different phases of life.

He loved me through my immature early 20's, the stress of beginning my teaching career, the agony of infertility, minor depression, a crisis of faith, the pain of our experience with Lucy and the sleep deprivation and decision-making of parenting Evie. Of course there were also high points during those times, but it is easy to love your spouse during the fun times, and J has always loved me through the rough times as well. I have no doubt that he will be loving me just as faithfully for the rest of our lives.

As a 20-year-old newlywed I didn't have enough life experience to appreciate how blessed I am to have married such a man, especially since I witnessed the same love and devotion in my own parent's and grandparent's marriages, so I thought it was a given. But now that I've had more life experiences and have seen other types of husbands, other types of marriages, I have become aware that J is truly a gift from God to me. I can't thank his father and grandfather enough for having helped make him the husband that he is.

As for Zeph, I truly hope that his childhood is happy and healthy and that he grows up with parents who adore him. But I am sad for him that he won't get to grow up with J as his dad and our fathers as his Grandpa and Papa. There are things that frighten me about the possibility of mothering a son some day (toy guns, plastic cockroaches, rubber vomit, puberty), but at the same time I am excited by the idea of having a hand in raising a baby into a man, a man who will be just like his dad and will some day pass on that legacy of love, tenderness and respect to his own son.

Deuteronomy 7:9: "[God] is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands."


  1. Beautiful, Karen.
    Celebrating with you both!

  2. Lovely post, and very eloquently expressed. :)


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