Nearly 21 years ago, I met the Mister on a blind date at Texas A&M, under the arches of the Corps of Cadets Quadrangle. I will blog about that sweetness in the coming weeks. But, we have lived a lifetime since then.
And a blessed life it has been.
Newlyweds and the engaged are always a flutter about the dress, the flowers, the honeymoon and the matching bathroom accessories. They get butterflies when their man brings home flowers, takes them on a romantic date or kisses them goodbye.
You know what brings me to my knees in thanksgiving? This.
When I glance down the pew at church and see Scott deep in prayer, only to see a child pulling on his arm and he pops one eye open, smiles a crooked smile and gently pats said child on the head.
How he gives me “that look” when he knows I’ve had a rough day. He squeezes my hand and just knows. We no longer have to say the words out loud.
The quiet little smirk he gives me when I walk in the door from the hairstylist. It’s always followed by, “Babe, you look really nice.” And he means it.
The funny way he starts a conversation about a topic he loves. He peeks over the top of his iPad and says, “You know, I was reading this article the other day…”
How beautiful his blue eyes are to me, just as they were 21 years ago. However, it is his spiritual leadership in our family that has touched me most these last four years.
Every marriage is tested. At some point you have to decide a very important matter. Are you going to fish or cut bait?
There have been some spectacular moments in our marriage. The Hollywood kind. You know, when we renewed our marriage vows in Italy – twice. Kissed atop the Eiffel Tower. Held five newborn babies in our arms. Sipped martinis in Charleston.
It has been the moments when we’ve been at our worst, though, that I truly saw the man I married.
And, girls? I married up.
There was the moment when we lost our baby at 9 weeks. I was sobbing and beating his chest and he just let me get it all out.
When I wanted to give up breastfeeding with our first, he got down in my face and said, “Give it up. This isn’t worth it.” He knew that I would make a liar out of him. If you throw down the gauntlet with a Southern girl, you better back up. For the record, I did prove him wrong and nursed 14 months.
As we sat in the NICU with Luke, prior to his emergency surgery, we had to make the most difficult decision of our lives. We had to trust that the surgery would save his life and be at peace if God needed Luke more than we did. He squeezed my hand and said, “We’ll do this together, just like we do everything else.”
There was the sobering moment when we realized that to heal our marriage, we needed counseling.
No one thinks about the “for richer for poorer, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” will ever happen. But they happen. To every marriage.
For 17 years, I’ve relied on Scott, loved on him, fought with him, laughed with him, shared joy with him. What I never expected, though, was to become a better wife in the process. I never expected that God would begin to purify me through the goodness of him.
It is my greatest joy to call myself Mrs. Whitaker.
This life we are living IS the good life. We may not be living in Italy (yet), but where we are, this love that we share, is God’s greatest gift to me. Ever. You make me want to live a better life, be a better mom, a more loving wife, a more faithful disciple. The only place I need to be is here. With you.
I love you, sweetheart!