Forty-five years ago tonight, my late, great mil gave birth to my beloved Friend Husband. Of course, she wasn't late or my mil at the time nor was he my Friend Husband but you know what I mean.
FH was born in Brooklyn, NY, in the same hospital in which his own personal mother had been born, 26 years earlier. Two days before his birth, the obstetrician had told my mil, "If you don't have him by Monday, we're going to have to do something." Barbara was understandably disturbed by that and had a talk with Doug. "Baby, if you don't come this weekend, they're going to do something. So you need to come out." Doug, ever the compliant child, did.
I adore my husband, most days. He is a good man. That is not something that you hear all that often these days, and it could sound like dinging with faint praise, but I mean it as the highest praise. He is a good man. I've known a lot of not-good men in my life and so I'm grateful that the man who chose me to be his bride is such a good one.
Doug has many positive attributes. Above all else, he loves the Lord and seeks to obey Him as much as is in his power. There have been times when this has driven me crazy (as some of his other positive attributes have) and he's dragged me kicking and screaming into various situations that ended up being just right. I've learned over the past 18 years to trust him and to try to see what he is seeing in the situation before I jump to conclusion.
Doug is methodical. He thinks through things very deliberately. I've learned over the years to wait on him to answer me. He's thinking and needs some time. It is not often that his counsel is off-course. He works hard, has a generally even temperament (a big plus in our houseful of Swedish and Irish tempers), and loves us to distraction. He pays attention to us, even when he's tired and would much rather just veg out and read a book.
He hasn't always been this way. When we lived in Columbia, he spent a lot of time trying to further his career and I often felt like he wasn't around for us. He was denied tenure, got the job in Kentucky, and found a department that suited his temperament much better than Missouri had. The thing that impressed me the most was that he didn't let my anger chase him off and he changed into the loving, involved husband and father that he is today. As one who is always trying (often with little success) to change for the better, I truly admire that about him.
Doug supports me. Not just in a physical sense, which he does, uncomplainingly but emotionally. He's interested in the goofy things that I find to talk about (knitting, quilting, the internets, the children's foibles). When I'm having a lousy day, he's always ready on the other end of a cell phone to talk me off the ledge. He allows me time and space to pursue my interests and has always encouraged me to think beyond what my immediate plans and dreams are, to greater things that I haven't even considered. He gives me the time and energy to get there.
He is also a hard worker in the church. He preaches monthly in our congregation and before the twins came home and everything was topsy-turvy, he preached 2 or 3 times a month. He humbly helps any way that he is asked and even volunteers to do things above and beyond the call of duty. For the last several years, he's volunteered all of us to mow the church yard and clean the building in the height of summer. He didn't have to do this. He could have picked a month when the grass wouldn't have needed as much attention or he could have just not done it at all, but he consistently signs us up for work that month and encourages us to enjoy the experience as a family. And we do. I have no doubt that our children will remember that as one of the fun things we did when they were young.
Doug is an awesome dad. Honestly, I am sometimes jealous because I wish that I'd had a dad like him. I'm so very happy that our children have the opportunity to blossom in his presence. He guides them, listens to them, encourages them, teaches them, and plays with them. He is a fun dad and I know that our children adore him.
Now I'm sure it's sounding vaguely boring here...no man can be all these things. Yes, he is. He has his faults, as we all do, but by and large, I find myself trying to follow in his footsteps. Not just following his leadership but trying to be like him because I like what I see. I could do a lot worse than to be like my husband. He's smart, funny, loving, loyal, and strong. He is just a great good man. And I love him more each passing day.
My prayer today was for God to bless him all the rest of his days. And that (as well as thanksgiving for his presence in my life) will continue to be my prayer.
Happy birthday, honey! And many happy returns of the day!