Wednesday, December 31, 2008

With a spirit of gratitude

Not long ago, I ran across an article on LAF, which challenged us wives to write essays of tribute and gratitude for our dear husbands; below, Mrs. Chancey published a beautifully written piece about her own husband, Matt.

It was said that there will be an essay contest which will run through January 31, but regardless of the contest, I thought - I must do that!

It's easy to gain praise if you do something obviously heroic, such as for example saving a baby from a burning house or volunteering to deliver food and medication to a war zone. But most men and women have few opportunities like these, and so it might be easy to miss the nobility of their lives. My husband is a hero - of a different kind - and I'll make sure I acknowledge this, even if no one else ever does.

Every day, my husband goes out to a job that isn't particularly fascinating, rewarding or fun, and spends long hours steadily doing his work in order to provide for me and our soon-to-be-born baby. He doesn't complain about not having the job of his dreams, and instead, seeks to provide us with a sense of financial security.

His maturity, resourcefulness, and steady, reliable attitude give me confidence that no matter what, he will do everything in his power to make sure that I, and any future children we might have, are fed, clothed, sheltered and taken care of. He is a rare gem among the young men of today, who hover from one school program to another, change jobs on a whim, even during tough times, when they are "dissatisfied" - and expect to be provided for even when they undertake the duties of husband and father.

At the same time my dear husband, a man of a generous, humble heart, doesn't forget to express his gratitude about simple everyday things, and constantly tells me what a great help I am to him, gently encouraging me to improve in areas that are lacking.

A couple of weeks ago, he told me, "ours is the most special little home, because you tend to it. Thank you for not working outside the home. With all my work stresses, I can't even imagine what our life would look like if you worked too!" - this was so deeply touching, to get a confirmation that I'm definitely not wasting my time, and my efforts are appreciated by the only person whose opinion should matter - my husband. Also, it's important to know that far from adding to my husband's stress (due to "not contributing" financially by earning a second income), he feels I relieve his burden by managing our home!

By definition, human beings aren't angels, and one could always find something to complain about. But every day, I realize more and more strongly that I've been blessed by a wonderful, loving, sweet, caring, understanding, patient, generous and committed husband, who took me under his wing when I became his wife. When I'm sick, he tends to me; when I'm sad, he comforts me; when I'm insecure, he relieves my burdens by his confidence. I know God Himself brought us together in the blessed union of marriage, and thus placed me under my husband's leadership and protection - and by trusting my husband, I trust God.

We are a new couple - married less than a year - but during these short few months of our marriage, my beloved husband displayed incredible gentleness, kindness and generosity, so many times. A couple of weeks into our marriage, I became pregnant, which led to a somewhat debilitating condition throughout my first trimester. Think terrible, overpowering sickness when I saw a couple of dirty dishes in the sink. For a while, I mostly just slept, ate whatever I could keep down, and struggled to keep on top of simple tasks such as laundry and making beds. Never once, my husband complained about there being no dinner, or about dishes being unwashed, or about my mood swings. Once, he took a day off work simply because he thought it would cheer me up.

He accompanied me to all the more important check-ups I had to do throughout pregnancy. He rubbed my back when it hurt, and my feet when they were swollen. He researched important information which might concern me and the baby. Without pointing this out, it was always obvious he is more concerned about my health and well-being than his own, fulfilling the commandment given to Jewish husbands, to love their wives as themselves, and respect their wives more than themselves.

We started out with a rather limited budget, and a small loan on our house which we are determined to return as soon as possible. For the first few months of our life together, we slept on air mattresses, cooked on a tiny portable gas stove, and lived in a tiny, sweltering hot temporary building without air conditioning. Sometimes, I became discouraged, but my husband showed the most amazing skills, providing us with all the needed furniture and appliances. I have always been frugal, but my husband taught me the meaning of resourcefulness - bartering, buying second-hand, and not turning up my nose at a beautiful piece of furniture unjustly labeled as "trash" by someone else. At first I thought we'd be overwhelmed by baby expenses, but with God's help, we got everything we needed for free or nearly for free.

At the same time, my husband never showed temptation to cut back on the monthly sum of money we give to charity under the pretext of saving. On the contrary, he always keeps pointing out how we are so much better off than the widows and orphans who have no clothes on their back and no food on their table. In the most humble way, his hand is generously stretched out to those in need, from a hungry cat to organizations that support Jewish education. Equally, it's easy to see his thoughtfulness and generosity towards his family, my family, neighbours and strangers. Not only with money, but with his time, effort, and willingness to take other people's matters to heart.

As I try to write some sort of conclusion, I find myself struggling to find the proper words to express my gratitude for the husband I have been given. As I see the beauty of marriage, of family, friendship, closeness, of true, sacrificial love unfold before me, I feel I am basking in a tiny reflection of God's love towards all His children. Every day is a treasured gift and blessing bestowed upon me, and I simply thank God for giving me my husband, and thank my husband for being the man he is.

35 comments:

Sasha said...

He seems like a really great husband.You've been really blessed.
I'm very happy for you and your own happiness.

Ways of Zion said...

Simply wonderful! I must do the same, we are so blessed by God to have such wonderful husbands!

ROSIE said...

Anna,

Thank you for sharing this!! I try to tell my husband every day how much I appreciate him, his hard work, and how much I treasure his sacrificial love. We too have been married just a short time, a little over a year, but God has truly shown me His love through my husband's.

May the Lord of all richly bless you as you await your daughter's birth...You are all in our prayers!

Rosie

Anonymous said...

Anna, I think yours is most beautiful of these I have read, because your husband's greatness is not in his fancy jobs or his travels, not even in that he has gained your admiration through so many years of marriage and a large family, but so simply and beautifully that this is the man he IS. I too have a wonderful husband, and I thank God with you for these gifts he gives us women!

LaurenAshley said...

What a lovely essay! It sounds like you have a very amazing man of God in your life, but from your beautiful praise i would say he is equally blessed with a wonderful caring wife.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful. What blessings you are to each other.

lady jane said...

beautiful. :o)

Slice of life said...

Beautiful words

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna, your marriage will be infinitely blessed if you continue to see your husband with these eyes of gratitude, love, respect, and admiration. Prayers that you both continue down this rose-strewn path of contentment that (as you have shown) can truly be yours even when things are not going *right* by the world's standards. Blessings on your family as it is about to grow...on you as a wife as you are about to become a mother...on your husband as he prepares to be a father. May your marriage always come first, even as you lavish adoration on your little girl.
~Bethany

Pam Riley said...

This was beautiful dear Anna... May our Heavenly Father continue to bless your marriage and growing family! Oh how this world needs more wives with your heart for your Beloved and your passion to live a godly life; starting in your home.

Otter Mom said...

What a wonderful idea! I try to tell my husband often how much I appreciate him and all he does for our family, I'm going to put it in writing and give it to him.

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

That was great stuff! I'm sure your DH appreciates it too. Between the yummy food you fix for him and your genuine love, appreciation, and respect you have for him, I can see WHY he'd want to move mountains for you!

I remember you saying how, when Yitzahk (sp) accompanied you to the doctor's office for one of your pregnancy checkups, the other women were jealous of you; they were no doubt wondering why your DH not only brought you to the office, but why you were so 'lucky' to have him massage your feet and all. Well, I have a theory on that, and it boils down to this: they don't love, appreciate, respect, let alone honor, their husbands.

You know, long before I knew what blogs were; long before I was aware of men's issues; long before I found the Mancoat forum; long before any of that, I was turned off to women and the prospect of marrying one. Why? It's quite simple, really: they bash & trash their husbands. They don't say ONE GOOD THING about the man they married! They'll regale their girlfriends with tales about how they mistreated their man, and be richly congratulated for it. When women cheered Lorena Bobbitt for engaging in genital mutilation against her husband, that was a wake up call. Here were my thoughts and reactions to what I observed.

One, though the men these women trashed were human and therefore imperfect, I doubted that they were as bad as portrayed by their wives and girlfriends. Two, I don't want MY beloved talking about me like that! Three, though I'm far from perfect, I'm not a bad guy; frankly, I deserve better than that. Finally, if that's what love & marriage are all about, then you can keep it. What I read as I discovered blogs like Eternal Bachelor only confirmed what I'd observed, thought, felt, and learned years before.

Ladies, I cannot emphasize this enough; your conduct towards your man is more powerful than you realize! It's powerful around other women, because if enough of you talk well of your husbands, then other women will be less likely to bash their men; if they do, then they'll feel shame for it, which they should. Your conduct is powerful towards men too; even if you don't interact with him directly, your conduct is powerful. If he sees you being positive about your man, then his opinion of marriage in the future will be more favorable. If he sees you bashing your man, then he might decide as I did, and that you can keep it.

Let me put it another way: if the vast majority of women I'd known through the years had spoken well of their men and treated them well with a smile, then guess what? I'd have had a much more favorable opinion of marriage! I'd have said, "Hey, I want some of THAT!" I doubt that I'd have my blog.

Unfortunately, that did not happen; unfortunately, I saw the opposite through the years. I wish that I hadn't. I wish that I'd seen more women like Anna bragging on her DH. Why? My opinion would be totally opposite of where it stands now.

I'm going to close this out. I need to get ready to go to my mom's house for the New Year's weekend. If more women had done over the years what Anna does, I and most men would be JUMPING at the chance to get married! Ladies, please always remember to treat your man well. Not only will he treat you well in return (provided you chose wisely, that is), you will also influence men you do not know and never will know WRT their opinion of marriage. Thank you.

MarkyMark

CappuccinoLife said...

How very sweet. :) I should write something like that for my husband.

I wanted especially to let you know that we too are thinking of you. How frightening it must be at times. :( We don't have tv, so I am limited to our national public radio news (radically libreal) or radical right wing talk radio and it's taken me a while to get through all the rhetoric and realize that this is bigger than I thought.

My family and I wish you all the best for your baby's birth, and this new year, and safety and peace through it all!

Anonymous said...

Anna,
How lovely. Men love to be appreciated by their wives. I try to tell my husband often how much I appreciate his hard work for our family. You are a remarkable person. Although we have diffeent religious beliefs,( I'm a christian) Alot of the main values are there. You show alot of wisdom in your writing. I hope you will show this post about your husband to him if you haven't already. I think he would love to hear all of this. Isn't it wonderful when God matches you up with just the right person? And soon you will share together in the miracle of the birth of your first child. God is so good.HJ

American Maiden said...

Beautifully said! You have indeed been blessed :)

Rose said...

My mental image of Mr T has been richly embellished by your lovely essay Anna.

I think you two lovely people deserve each other.

Rachel said...

Mrs. T, I'm a new poster, but I've read your blog off-and-on...it has always been such an encouragement, thank you for sharing your life with us....

G-d bless your husband! And may this wee babe be the first of many "olive trees" springing up about your family table...I pray all goes well, uneventful (although after having five children of my own, no birth is completely "uneventfuL", lol). Please, fill us in as soon as possible, simply so that we can all share in the wonderful news...

Btw, my first (also a girl) was 12 days late. Sorry. Hope it won't be that long for you! May the nesting go well, and the violence near you cease...

Many prayers for all of you...

Mau said...

This was absolutely beautiful. Be sure to print yourself a copy to reference back to when you have difficulties in years to come. I am constantly amazed by the maturity you show in your very young marriage. Many blessings to you, your marriage, and your sweet baby.

Jan Hatchett said...

What a wonderful tribute to the best kind of hero--the simple, Godly man.

Soon your lovely new daughter will be a tangible sign of your devotion as well.

Anonymous said...

U are blessed. I pray that some day I may have a husband like this.

I do wish my husband was like this. I feel sad and a bit jelous, that you have such a good hubby. It pains my heart that mine can not respect me, in the way I wish he would

Elijah's Mommy said...

I just wanted to wish you and your family a Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to Mark...husbands accompanying women to check-ups during pregnancy, and staying with the wife during labor/birth, is one of the positive effects of feminism.
Back in the 50s, before feminism, nary a man would be caught going to the doctor with his wife, and certainly not holding her hand during labor. That was women's work.
Even today, the men that usually go with their wives to ultra-sounds are the more liberal, more involved guys. Either that or - in Israel- they are ultra-orthodox and their wives are forbidden from staying in a closed room with a doctor, hence the husband's presence.
Anyway, most feminist moms-to-be that I know have supporting husbands who came with them to the big check-ups. It's really a common thing today, in contrast to the past.

Mrs. Anna T said...

As far as I understand, being one on one with a male doctor is not a problem if the door is left slightly open, or even if the door is unlocked and someone - like a nurse or secretary - has constant access to the room.

Anyway my husband accompanied me even though none of the doctors were male.

Viv said...

What a beautiful post, and a great reminder to treasure our husbands :-)

Mrs. Rabe said...

Beautifully written, Anna.

God's continued blessing on your marriage and family!

Rachel said...

That made me cry. I had been having such a rough day with my husband until I read that and then I thought wow, maybe he's not so bad after all, he did some of the very same things.
So, once again, your little blog kinda made my day.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

That's a beautiful essay about your husband. You are very fortunate.

The amazing thing is that you just find more things to love year after year. With the great start you've got, you have a lifetime of happiness ahead of you!

Jennifer

MarkyMark said...

@Anon (post above Elijah'a Mommy),

You wish your husband were a good man like Anna's, huh? That begs a couple of pointed questions. What have you done to DESERVE such treatment? Have you been good to him? Have you spoken to him kindly, both in public and in private? Have you nagged him about anything over the years? Have you been ungrateful about what he's done for you? Have you used sex as a weapon? IOW, have you rebuffed him when he wanted to make love to you? I could go on, but you get my point.

You say that you've done everything to be a good wife? Really? I'll play along with this, but this assumption too leads me to ask another set of pointed questions. First of all, why did you not CHOOSE a better man?! Why did you choose a jerk? Why did you not exercise better discernment?

Whether or not you like to admit it, women have the power when it comes to relationships. A relationship cannot and will not start without a woman's consent; without saying 'yes' to his initial overtures towards you, the relationship cannot start. Furthermore, a relationship cannot and will not progress without a woman's consent; only if you say 'yes' as your relationship progresses will it go anywhere; the final 'yes' would be the proposal. Therefore, it's fair to say that women have the power in relationships. That begs one, final, yet crucial question: why did you not use your power more WISELY, hmmm? Why didn't you pick a better man in the first place? Finally, where do you get off complaining about your man when you didn't pick wisely in the first place?

It's been my experience that, when an evil man (or evil woman in my case) finds his way in our lives, that he will give off NUMEROUS signs that he's not a good man; he'll raise many red flags during your time with him. Then the question becomes: why were these warning signs missed?

In closing, if we want someone good in our lives, then we must use our eyes, ears, and brains that God gave us. Women must wisely exercise their power in relationships. If a woman ends up with a bad man, it's HER fault, no one else's! After all, she PICKED HIM...

MarkyMark

Anonymous said...

How old is your husband?

Mrs. Anna T said...

My husband is 28 years old.

Analytical Adam said...

I had a few commments to make. One is that there are some good men out there (although likely a minority) but many times women overlook them and also I have to say some communities don't want good men in their communities because of corruption issues and a decent man would see it. Some good men are suffering in silence. I think there are more men then you think who actually are not living in a selfish way although likely a minority. It is funny that the one group you could say that the majority are bad are men. If men said that about women they would be considered having a problem even though it is likely true of women as well that only a minority are really living properly and not just thinking life is about having fun which is what I got when I read many profiles of Jewish women on sites like Frumster.

Solomon who wrote Eshet Chayil did write in Kohelet 7 28 that it is harder to find a righteous woman then a righteous man although most believe he said this because the wives he wasn't suppose to marry turning him astray so he is blaming women for his decision which he shouldn't have made. You have some Rabbi's today that say women are better then men and again I think it is because of the fact they tend to attract corrupt men because they have some corruption issues and are threatened by decent men as both genders have free choice and can rebel from what G-d really wanted from them.

I think that is great Mrs. Anna though. One problem I have with Rabbinic Judaism is that women get respect, Rabbi's get respect but rank and file men do not and there are no prayers to show appreciation for them which leads to some men being taking for granted and only being blamed when something goes wrong and this leads men to feel it isn't worth it to be a decent man. Although

Mrs. Anna T said...

Adam, when I said it's not so easy to find a good man, I didn't mean that it's by any means easier to find a good woman - might be quite the contrary...

Karen said...

I'm so glad you two are happy together and compliment each other so well. That is a great blessing.

Analytical Adam said...

Thanks for clarifying Mrs. Anna. I face a difficult situation. I am 35 and I have lost some respect for Rabbi's which at best I feel they are naive when it comes to male-female relations although I respect their views on Shabbas and Kashrus for the most part. As I have said I have seen Jewish women do terrible things and support terrible causes yet many of them do go to Orthodox shuls and feel comfortable while at this time I really don't. Some women reject me because I don't fit any box completely. I am going to need G-d's help although I do feel if G-d help's me that I do feel male female relations overall are distorted and this hurts both sides.

Teabing B.M.Kay said...

Well, this is very much encouraging. Really encouraging.

Bible-based and so encouraging. I've to stop it here, otherwise I will keep on saying that this is really encouraging and blessing.

God bless you