One of the things that frequently comes out of peoples' mouths when they hear that I have five kids is "How do you do it?" My answer is frequently "Well, I have a good husband. I don't think I could do it without him."
It's no secret that I love my husband. I recently made up one of those silly quizzes on Facebook to see how well my friends know me. One of the questions was about my "secret crush". I gave a list of actors that everyone seems crazy about and included Bear's name on the list. That was the one question that every person who took the quiz got right. I have no interest in Brad Pitt or whoever else I grabbed to put on the list. I even read Twilight and watched the movie just because everyone else was doing it, and seriously...Edward??? I don't get it. But I digress. Y'all know I do that sometimes, right?
So anyway, what makes Bear so special? Being the low-key and behind-the-scenes kind of guy that he is, he's kind of hard to get to know. I want to share the things that he does for me and for his children, the things that make him special to us.
The number one thing I admire about Bear is the way he prioritizes his life. His faith, wife, children, parents, extended family, and helping others are at the top of his list, in that order. I sometimes am frustrated by his stubbornness, but on the flip side, that same characteristic causes him to hold staunchly to that which he believes is right. It causes him to be deeply committed to those things he sees as important. He is loyal to those he loves.
Along these lines, I never catch him "checking out" other women. I know that it's normal for guys to look, but I also know that Bear believes it's not right for married men do so. I know that he tries not to. And if he does, he never gets caught at it. I sometimes hear other women talk about the things their husbands say about other women, the things they find their husbands looking at, the way their husbands openly check out pretty girls walking by. I'm just really thankful that I don't have to deal with that. I feel honored and respected that my husband finds our marriage important enough to guard his eyes, mind, and heart.
Bear also has a servant's heart. When I read or meditate on the scene from the Last Supper where Jesus takes on the role of the servant to wash His disciples' feet, I am reminded of my husband. When he comes home after working a 12-hour shift and sees that I've had a bad day here, he asks me "What can I do for you?" He willingly bathes kids, loads the dishwasher, or does anything else that he thinks will help me. When the baby is waking up numerous times a night, he offers to take over a night feeding or get up and walk with him til he goes back to sleep. Even if he has to get up at 0530 to go to work the next morning. When I am the one who is working, he does his best to juggle all the homeschooling, diaper-changing, meals, laundry, cleaning, and referee-ing. He has to work at it harder than I do; it doesn't come naturally to him. But he puts forth his best effort, and I appreciate it.
When I am pregnant, tired, and nauseated, he goes beyond his normal helpfulness. He takes over the tasks that leave me dry-heaving, like dirty diapers or handling raw meat. If we are out walking somewhere, he automatically starts rubbing the part of my back that hurts when I am on my feet for very long. Anything he can do to ease my discomfort or make things a little easier for me, he does willingly. And sometimes I don't even have to ask.
Once the children are born, he's a devoted, involved, hands-on Daddy. He's just as comfortable soothing a newborn as he is wrestling with the older kids. He loves taking them places and doing things with them. I think he probably takes more pictures than I do. He looks at them with such love in his eyes that it melts my heart.
He's not afraid to show affection. When he leaves the house or returns home, he kisses me and tells me he loves me. He stops to gaze into my eyes, and I can see that he loves me. I can see that he's missed me while we were apart. If we are near each other, he's usually touching me...hugging, rubbing my shoulder, holding my hand, or playing "footsie". We usually fall asleep all tangled up. I know that would drive some folks crazy, but "physical touch" is one of my primary love languages. That kind of attention is right up my alley! He also leaves notes, surprises me with little gifts, calls me during the day when he gets a break, and just generally does small things to let me know he's thinking of me.
Sound like I'm describing the perfect man? Not hardly. Nor do we have the perfect relationship. He's human. I'm human. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we even argue in front of the kids (gasp!) We may sometimes disagree on how to spend our money, how to clean the house, what activities or entertainment to choose. We may be complete opposites in how we react to situations. But on the important stuff--matters of faith, family life, life goals, morals and ethics, politics--we are on the same page. I'm really thankful that we share the same priorities. We have a good thing going here. I love you, Bear.
(And as you can see in the above picture, we're passing our morals onto our children as well! hehehe)