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21, 2011Does Porn
Let's face it: porn has become so common, it's now mainstream.
Some would have us believe that those of us who see something wrong with it are up-tight prudes not comfortable with our
own sexuality. These same people would have us believe it is a harmless diversion that every hot-blooded male has a right
to indulge himself in.
But, let's talk about reality. There are women who have lost their mates
to it, children their fathers and, according to stats dealing with murder and rape victims, many have experienced violence
at the hands of men heavily influenced by porn. Some may have lost their lives. Take serial woman killer Ted Bundy,
who admitted the profound influence the regular use of porn had upon his psyche and actions.
let's admit right up front that most men who view porn will not become murderers. Since this is a site about marriage,
let's talk about the women who claim that they have lost meaningful relationships to a partner's porn addiction. And
what about adultery? I don't even need to see stats to recognize that porn use can break down barriers that would normally
Also, I wonder how many marriages have been torn apart after
porn began to dominate the family-life to the extent that a man could no longer relate to a woman as friend and lover, or
appreciate the innocence of his children. I have read about, and met, far too many women and children who are in just
such a position. Here's what some have said (using fictitious names):
"My husband spent his
free time watching porn on his computer in his office. He wanted less and less to do with me. He had been mentally devouring
"sirloin steak" all day - I was like the common "hamburger," not very exciting. He also began to ignore
the kids and their needs... it just kept getting worse," Kelly told me sadly. She has been divorced for over five years.
Janet said of her ex-husband, "Jeff couldn't feel sexual towards a wife and mother
after watching all that garbage. For him, sex could not have anything to do with caring or love, it had to be dirty and trashy.
And how boring is an innocent child, even if it's his own?"
Nicole's relationship also came
to a sad ending. "He ended up sleeping in another room to avoid physical contact with me," she said of her husband.
"Everyone thought he was so nice and friendly, " she added, "he put on this super act of "Mister Nice
Guy" for everyone but his family. To us he was like a distant stranger. First it was the porn, then it was other
women in real life."
I'm willing to bet that most of you reading this blog have experience
with, or know someone whose life has been negatively affected by porn. Women are also becoming addicted and have become
comfortable with being nothing more than sex toys, forgetting that they may be subjecting their bodies to disease or creating
a new life, all for a few moments pleasure. In fact, the tables are now being turned as men become objects of
use to be thrown away with disdain.
As for me, I mourn the lost innocence of our youth
as they are singled out by porn marketers. (Think MTV.) How many will lose their wonderful and dynamic identities?
How many will grow to feel comfortable being degraded or degrading others for meaningless self-gratification? Or
This brings me back to Ted Bundy. His porn addiction began as a young teen. He struggled into adulthood
as one new low led to another, until the images were not enough. Finally, this person who seemed to be a well-balanced, dependable
fellow to his friends and neighbors, was overcome by fantasies influenced by years of pornography. He crossed the
line. What he did makes the discussions of broken homes and lost innocence pale in comparison. Bundy became a sexual
predator eventually executed for the rapes and murders of as many as fifty women. It happened over twenty
years ago. People need to be reminded. Here, I include a thought provoking quote from this man-turned-devil who was about
to die in the electric chair:
I’m no social scientist, and I don’t
pretend to believe what John Q. Citizen thinks about this, but I’ve lived in prison for a long time now, and I’ve
met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence. Without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography
- deeply consumed by the addiction. The F.B.I.’s own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among
serial killers is pornography. It’s true.".... Ted Bundy
How to be Somebody Special
Everyone wants to be special, and I often wonder why my family struggles with feelings of low self esteem. I suspect that
we are not the only ones who face feelings of self-doubt and inferiority for, when I am surrounded by groups of seemingly
confident people, I often detect hints of insecurity... even in the most popular and well-bred of the bunch.
me, I come from humble beginnings. My great-grandfather could not read or write and signed his name with an X, and my very
own dear grandpa only received a fourth grade education during his upbringing in Oklahoma. Mom quit high school after her
junior year when they moved to Arizona during hard times. Yet, instead of shame, my heart fills with admiration as I think
of each of them.
Mom was smart. She learned so fast, they jumped her ahead two grades in elementary school. Not only
was she sharp, she was famously witty, and so intuitive she seemed to possess a sixth sense. Great Grandpa Flowers eventually
became one of the most respected (and wealthy) members of his community with extensive land-holdings, and his oldest son (my
grandpa) worked tirelessly, planned wisely, saved carefully, and paid cash for the horses, cars, and houses he bought in his
lifetime. He died in his own home, a self-sufficient, well-loved man of character nearing the age of ninety-three.
wonderful characteristics run strong on both sides of my family but, even though people who knew them were often impressed
and inspired by them, self-confidence was not a strong point in their lives. They were not born into wealth or royalty, and
they were all too aware of their lack of formal education or refined finesse.
Unfortunately, countless talented, wise,
and good-hearted people are conditioned during upbringing and by circumstances to see themselves as less than who they are,
and may never realize the value they inherently possess within their own souls. They are like roses, daisies, and fruit-bearing
vines that are smothered and choked by a lifetime of neglect and weeds.
Sweet and sensitive children are sometimes ignored
and pushed into the background by their family, friends, or both. They, like submissive puppies dominated by top-dogs, are
conditioned to believe that they are inferior. (This is often the case in polygamous families where children are at the bottom
of the pack order, just below the less favored wives).
People are "broken" in many different ways. They begin
to behave in a manner that actually tells others how they feel about themselves, and unconsciously signal how they expect
to be treated. It becomes almost impossible to recognize, have faith in, and behave like the person each of us was
born to be. Some of us will appear overconfident and proud to compensate for not really feeling special at all. Oh, the potential
that is wasted, the Hell that evolves on earth when people are not themselves!
As I consider my humble grandparents
along with the proud pretenders I have met in my life, I find myself searching within my own heart. Looking deep, I realize
that I don't want to feel inferior or superior to others. I am led to believe that to be somebody "special"
we must reclaim our unique and individual places in creation and, after banishing the two-faced demon of inferiority and pride,
simply become ourselves.
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Joy and Sorrow of Spring
winter fades, the frosty air outside is replaced with comforting spring rain, and the days are sometimes warm enough
to open the windows in the closed-up stuffy rooms of our home. Fresh air meanders in, and we listen to a familiar
serenade of crickets, accompanied by a chorus of little tree-frogs chirping out back where the water runs behind our
house. It is a beautiful and welcome time of the year, yet also a sad and melancholy time for me.
Several years ago, one day late in April, I sat at the bedside of my mother listening
to these same sounds as her life ebbed away. She left us as I held her hand in the room of our home where she had been
a constant part or our lives for three years. Without fail, each spring brings with it the memory of that day.
As years pass and I grow older, I find myself understanding and appreciating who my mother was and
what she did more and more each day. You see, she was always there for her family and, in fact, had very little life of her
Mom was born in a little town in Oklahoma in the spring of 1920. She milked
cows, worked in the fields, and helped in the kitchen. Unbeknownst to her hardworking, religious parents, she would one
day move away from their small-town traditions and take on a life of different hardships of which they had no concept.
She married young, then watched most of her daughters enter into polygamous relationships against her wishes. She
then worked incessantly to help provide for their needs as they struggled with ever-growing families without the
help or support from their multi-wived husbands.
At the time in life when the children of most
families are independently building lives of their own, my parents' house was a safe-haven, always open and crowded as
Mom cooked and cleaned like a servant for her overworked daughters and needy grandchildren.
Some might say she gave too much. She gave up privacy, peace, and comfort to try to make life more bearable for everyone. Was
this her attempt to make up for the guilt she felt for not being able to protect her daughters from the influences they
were under...the choices they made that brought so much suffering into their own lives and the lives of their children?
Sadly, she was taken for granted. We came to expect her help and sacrifices, and in our own life-struggles
we didn't see or appreciate all that she did, her generosity, and the difference she made. We did judge her: after all she
sometimes seemed negative or controlling about little things. I look back and shake my head; controlling? For most
of her life she was at the mercy of circumstances, struggling to survive, trying to fill huge voids in the lives
of her children and grandchildren. Grasping to hold onto a few minor possessions and parts of her life was a meager attempt
to have control over something.
Mom cared for her parents as they aged, as well
as for my father in his difficult last year of poor health. Then, when my sister became the victim of an unspeakable
tragedy in Mexico, she gave up a short-lived quiet period of retirement to take on a new family. She was growing
old and tired, had health problems of her own, and was still grieving for my father. Her grandchildren needed help..what
else could she do?
Mom wasn't perfect...no...and she was the first to admit it. She saw her
faults too clearly, wished that she could have been better and stronger, hoped that God would forgive her for sometimes "not
being a very nice person." In truth, she did not understand and appreciate her own worth.
as I welcome the lovely sounds and smells of spring, I am reminded once again of her last days. I sit with
opened windows listening to the sound of spring rain, and think of her. How I wish that I could go back in time and
see her life and suffering with fresh, clear eyes. How I hope that I can be forgiven for my own immaturity and selfishness.
As I remember my mother, I miss her and pray that her soul rests with God in peace.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Marriage Under Construction: Proceed With Caution!
Marriage is hard work. It is a constantly changing experience that not only goes through different seasons,
but through different phases of "construction."
Like any long term project, some of the most important
parts are in the planning stages. Building a successful marriage actually begins before vows are taken
and promises are made. I'm not talking about the ceremony. If a couple doesn't really take time to become well acquainted
before getting to that point, they may be unpleasantly surprised to discover that, once the initial attraction fades,
they don't even like each other!
Remember that emotions experienced in a blossoming relationship tend to blur
the image of the person of interest. He or she may be gorgeous, talented, and interesting, and you may be flattered by
the attention bestowed. This is an important time to stop and consider that there is more to marriage than
outward appearances and/or a pleasing personality. A long courtship and time spent communicating is the first step towards
choosing a person who is in sync with the direction you want to go in life, both spiritually and physically. What is
most important to you, should also be important to the other...deepest held beliefs shared. At this stage, communicate,
converse, then talk some more. Get to know one another's families. Watch actions and attitudes over time, and be
familiar with and understand each other's background.
If physical appearance, success, or sexual chemistry were
main motivating factors before marriage, the struggle will be to remain always wealthy, always seductive, forever young and
beautiful. There is the very real possibility that someone with more of all-of-the-above will come along to disrupt
a shallow union.
Should getting to know one another include sex? This is a moral issue that is
important for many reasons. I believe that morality not only has a spiritual side but a practical, protective one. On
the practical side, sexual intimacy before marriage will dominate feelings and cloud objectivity. You need to truly know
the heart of a person before you marry him or her because, not only will the first blush of romance all too
soon become dulled by everyday life, but powerful sexual desire will also be overshadowed by sickness, financial issues, the
arrival of children, and aging.
Does all romance fade for those who move towards a more mature type of
love? Heavens no! Moments of caring and affection become rich and sweet for those who choose wisely and persevere.
If any marriage is to be a happy one, both husband and wife must learn to stop thinking only about
how good their mate makes them feel about themselves. Merging together as one, out of individual worlds of
self-interest, a whole new way of looking at one another unfolds. With a sense of compassion and understanding, they
can begin to focus on what they can do to give one another's life more meaning and joy. Developing attitudes of
patience and awareness can carry a couple into whatever the future may hold.
underestimate a harmless-sounding little word called "time." It can make or break a marriage. Without
time spent together as a family, there can be no bond. Time for recreation, discussion of problems, and shared joy and sorrow
all form strong invisible ties, fulfilling one another's need to be loved. Sometimes just being together in silence
is as uplifting as struggling to say the right things. Sadly, where there is no journey towards deeper love, time is a curse
to be spent trying to escape from problems that appear insurmountable.
"Do you promise to Love,
Honor and Cherish each other, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as
you both shall live?" Marriage is shared time, held together not only by love and loyalty, but with
commitment and effort. Let the construction begin..
In Search of a Father's Love
We always hear about how important women are to their children.
Truthfully, I don't suppose we can even imagine what would happen to our world without motherly love and caring. Good
mothers and women have always had immeasurable power to affect the societies they live in, and are a blessing to all who know
But, lately I've been thinking about modern-day fathers. How often do we hear people singing praises
or writing poetry about the other half of the parent equation? In the media, I see many father-figures being portrayed as
downright stupid, and no more respectable than shallow, immature children. It seems to me that the importance
of fatherly love is being all but lost in our modern culture. One of the most important spiritual and natural elements
in the world is being trivialized almost into extinction. We are becoming blind to the fact that there is nothing that
can replace the protective, guiding love of a good father.
The problem lies not only with the sitcoms
and movies. In recent years, in the name of women's liberation, men have been belittled, made fun of, and vilified. "Masculinity,"
which is almost considered a bad word to the politically correct crowd, is being relentlessly attacked and replaced with "sensitivity"
and other traits mostly associated with women. Even God is no longer allowed to be considered masculine by
those who have been most affected by this unnatural trend.
Men who are conditioned to be ashamed of being men
cannot make good fathers. Children who are deprived of healthy masculine influences suffer. How sorely manly strength
and goodness is being missed by many people who don't even know what they are missing!
It is true that
heightened emphasis on sexuality seems to be replacing natural love and caring in men, women, and children.
Yet, even as pornography becomes mainstream, and the very moral fiber and foundation of our country is pulled from beneath
us--as gender confusion rises to new heights--some of us have still been blessed with good father figures in the present,
or from the past, to remind us of what's being lost.
Let's be honest: No man is perfect, but it is imperative
that we remember the importance of masculinity and the love of a father. Not only will he rise above his passions to
be an example to those who need and trust him, but a kind, honorable man will put his family's welfare before
his own, and even offer his life to protect the innocent.
Tragically, many have never
experienced a close, healthy relationship with a father. Some have lost their daddies to wars or untimely deaths,
others have been abandoned, abused, or betrayed by confused or selfish men who chose to abdicate their sacred roles.
Those numbers are rising. The scenarios of pain and rejection that play out daily almost appear hopeless as men forget
how to be men, and we lose our examples of strong fatherly love.
I am reminded of a verse in
the Bible that speaks of returning the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children. Like
a breath of fresh air, at this time of year especially, I remember the birth of a child in Bethlehem who
grew to speak of God like no other prophet or teacher before him. He called the very Creator of life
"Father." Amazingly, He taught us to do the same. This hopeful story of long ago didn't end
there--for the noble Son still offers forgiveness and strength as He leads those willing to be led, to the
healing love of His Father.
(The following blog was inspired
by Mary's comments on my "Letters" page.)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The Power of Beauty
beautiful princess married the handsome prince, and they both lived happily ever after..." This was the type of
ending to the fairy tales many of us were raised on. I believed in them. I grew up thinking that if I could be beautiful,
I would hold the key to true happiness and my life would be complete. I would be loved.
just the stories I read that conveyed this idea to me--beautiful women were glorified in the movies I watched, and praised
lavishly in songs that were written for them. They took people's breath away, won the hearts of heroes, and earned smiles
and admiration just by entering a room. How hard it was to be ordinary, how devastating is was to be different. Yet this was
the situation many young girls found themselves in growing up. It seemed to matter very little how funny, kind, or talented
a person was if they were not pleasant to look at. The least attractive girls were usually at the bottom of the pecking order
amongst their peers. And I observed that in plural marriages, where a man can marry numerous women, youthful beauties captured
men's hearts over and over again.
Fast forward twenty or thirty years. Beauty is still important.
Oh yes, the masses worship fervently at the altars of gorgeous, egotistical Hollywood stars--both men and women. And even
some men now feel the urge to be beautiful. But something else has changed. Young girls not only feel the need to be pretty,
they must now be "hot." The little girl you see playing happily in the mud, will one day almost certainly grow
into a teenager who feels the pressure to dress and act in a way that turns guys on. In her quest to discover a sense of fulfillment,
she will likely be tempted with measures far surpassing the heavy make-up girls once used to make themselves feel beautiful in
my day. Plastic surgery, breast implants, and body piercing have become common procedures not only for older women, but for
high school students as well. What we women were born to look like can now be altered permanently with relative ease. Skimpy,
revealing clothing is the norm.
While many girls grow to believe that their mission in life
is to be irresistibly tempting, young men, on the other hand, fall prey to the idea that they are meant to be incessantly
tempted. Many of them sink to animal-like levels where sensual urges and thoughts dominate almost every waking moment. Add
modern-day access to pornography to the mix, and we have a recipe for anything but real love and caring. Some men will really
come to believe that animals are all that they were ever meant to be. They will degrade themselves, as they degrade their women.
Sadly, unhappy women and young girls fall prey daily to the deadly eating disorders that now plague our culture like
never before. Innocence and character are lost where the powers of raw beauty and sensuality dominate.
I believe that beauty is a gift. How pleasant it is to look upon a delicate flower, a wide-eyed child, a lovely woman,
or a handsome man. Yet it was not meant for everything and everyone to be beautiful. Physical appearance should not
be worshipped, neither should sex be glorified to be more than it was meant to be. We are all born with gifts to be discovered,
developed, and enjoyed. I long for our youth to understand their true worth and to seek out beauty in life
that is not only seen with the eyes, but discovered deep within the heart and spirit of humankind.
All of us grow older. Even the most extraordinarily beautiful people age, and each of us will one
day lay on our death-beds. What will beauty or sex appeal mean to us then? When all is said and done, perhaps some of
us will remember a time long ago when we played innocently in the mud with our sun-burned, dirt-speckled, toothless friends,
filled with an awesome sense of adventure and discovery--blissfully ignorant of the sensual power of beauty.
"...for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these..."
Tuesday, March 3, 2009Ron and His Brother Paul
My husband could have taken another wife. Like me, he was raised with the
idea that it is acceptable to live polygamy. An older brother of his, named Paul, did decide to take multiple wives throughout
his life, eventually totaling six in all. Yet, Paul passed away a year or so ago while living alone as a bachelor in Mexico
where he suffered a fatal stroke. Few, if any, of the many children he fathered even knew where he lived, nor was there
great sorrow at his passing. He did have a dog. You see, although Paul had many women and children he could
have bonded with, he never learned how to relate to any of them as a person, a husband, or a father. Not one. Except
for a few strangers, he died alone.
Today marks the thirty-first milestone of my marriage to my husband
Ron. Unlike Warren Jeffs and his child-brides in the photos above and below, we are only six months apart in age and share
a similar level of maturity. And, unlike his brother Paul, Ron stayed committed to one wife and one family. Me.
Us. Ron and I have lived with each other for the biggest part of our lives. Like a good wine, I guess
you could say we have aged and matured together.
To celebrate, we took some time to travel to the coast
and it was there that we indulged ourselves with breezy walks on the beach and uninterrupted meaningful
conversation that only two people knowing each other so well can share.
It was during the course of
one of these discussions, that I began to realize more deeply why many of the men I knew, were attracted to plural marriages aside
from the S-E-X factor mentioned in my last blog: As I was growing up, it was always apparent to me that the motives for
having more than one wife for most men did not genuinely include a strong respect for the institution of marriage,
nor did they possess an exceptional ability to bond successfully with many women and children. In fact, looking back,
I can see that many male polygamists in reality lacked the character to truly learn to relate to
any woman. Although it naturally seemed that they would be--should be--committed to
many women, in truth they were committed to none.
You see, polygamy can be a great escape from
the challenges and perseverance necessary to become truly spiritually and emotionally intimate with a woman or
her children, while providing a physical heyday for a guy. It can protect the pride of one not wishing to see
his own shortcomings, and discourage unselfish love. How easy it is to escape into the arms of a woman who never expects more
than a small portion of his time and who is grateful to be noticed at all, while leaving behind or ignoring the wife who longs
for more. A wife demanding her well-deserved rights is absolutely futile in a polygamous relationship. Begging is more acceptable,
but it is demeaning and not very effective either. The children usually have no rights at all.
Yet, I recently
read somewhere that many Americans consider long-term monogamy to be cruel and unusual punishment! Most of us who have been
married can relate to that statement on some level. To be honest, staying together for so long, at times has required a supreme
effort on both the part of my husband and myself. But, considering our unusual and stressful backgrounds, we are living
proof that two people can learn to love and support each other in a healthy way if they are committed to it. We have
been rewarded for our patience and persistence with an almost profound understanding of one another. Now, thirty-two
years later, fights and anger fade quickly--we both know we're in it for good. And we intend to keep it this way.
Happy Anniversary, Ron!
Wednesday, February 4,
Pedophilia and the Case
You may wonder why I am so concerned
about the spread of polygamy. After all, what's the big deal? In reality, why should I care if a man marries multiple
women instead of choosing to be faithful to one wife? Please read on.
I have said
many times that I think that one of the main reasons women choose to live polygamy is because it is taught to
them as a religious requirement, often beginning at a very young age. That's one reason for concern right there. But, what
about the men? Why do they choose polygamy?
Is it, as some Christian polygamists now claim, about "profound,
selfless, Christ-like love for women"? That sure sounds noble, but I'll bet many of you will question that motive
right along with me. After all, a man doesn't have to marry a woman to give her that kind of love. You may even suspect,
as I do, that the real reason amounts to a three letter word that begins with the letter "S" and ends
with the letter "X".
I suppose that some of these men
honestly do envision themselves as benevolent leaders dividing their wisdom and goodness among many adoring women and children,
and that the pollination part really is secondary. The fact is, the boys in my former religion were taught that they must
have multiple wives to honor God's highest calling, and some did go into it for that reason. I knew many of them when they
were decent young men - I saw them take wives, have children, and change.
"Letters" section, my old friend makes a heart-wrenching case about the negative effects of polygamy on a man's
ego. I don't think that discussion can be complete without bringing up the S-E-X factor. Here are some questions just
begging to be asked: What is it like for a man to know that any women he feels physically attracted to can be a
potential mate? What happens to the average guy who can indulge himself with a variety of bed partners
and is constantly in demand by different women? How does a man of character remain spiritually grounded in the
face of all these sensual experiences? Just how does all of this affect a man's psyche?
It becomes obvious
over time, that in such situations (including the extremes of our modern culture), the needs of "the
flesh" become more and more demanding. Unnatural hungers are awakened. At their worst they become destructive
and violating to the innocent.
Of the men that I knew, a few became dissatisfied
with having only one bed partner at a time. While presenting a religious front, others of these men became molesters and pedophiles.
Although they had numerous wives coming and going from their lives, they still were not satisfied. Some developed incestuous
relationships with their own children. Even little boys were not safe. (No, these extreme examples were not the
case with all of the men. But I have been informed of such behavior commonly hidden within other polygamist
groups as well.)
I think it is safe to say that the institution of polygamy attracts
such degrading types of men who have absolutely no religious or noble intentions to begin with. And young women raised in
polygamy (or otherwise) who did not get enough attention from their fathers can be prime targets for a lustful man who
steps in to fill their need for fatherly love. In polygamy, a variety of young girls can be desired and married by much older
men--and this is not uncommon. How sad it is for these girls as they age and are neglected and ignored for exciting
new wives and even younger child-brides. How bleak it is for their children who will also miss having a loving
On a radio talk show the other day, the host mentioned to me that
it may be a sense of family that motivates some women to become plural wives, and I think that holds some truth. In fact, in my old religion wives of the same husband were called "sister-wives."
We were taught that we would be sisters throughout eternity, and some really did start out behaving like sisters. (Heck, some
of the women married to the same man really were sisters! ) But the reality of jealousies and resentments soon set
in. Although some women were better at suppressing their pain, and denying their unmet need for the love and support of a
full-time husband, the need was still there. Very few of the marriages survived until old age. It seemed like the
men didn't really care, they always had replacements for any unhappy woman who gave up the miserable battle! So
much for loving fathers and strong families.
Let's be honest: realistically, even under the best circumstances,
a man will find that it is challenging to be a good father and husband that meets the emotional and
physical needs of only one family. I strongly suggest that the polygamy ideal now being
perpetrated by determined activists is not only an illusion--it is a dangerous one. And for this reason accepting
plural marriage as a norm for our society would be taking a GIANT step backward.
August 1, 2008
The Stressful Years
was busy. We had four children to raise, bills to pay, a house and yard to keep up, not to mention Ron's long regular work
hours and me helping my elderly mom on top of managing the household jobs. As my husband and I shouldered our duties,
we barely had time to look at one another - let alone carry on a conversation that amounted to more than just a few sentences. Brief
exchanges of vital information pretty much summed up our communication at that point. We didn't have the time or money to
get out much.
At some point, I began to feel that our marriage was entering its last
stages. It seemed we had nothing in common besides our responsibilities and the stress we shared each day. And love.
What was love anyway? We hardly ever smiled at each other. I couldn't blame him for not loving the overweight, harried housewife
I had become. Did I say "harried"? Okay, let me be completely honest and change that word to "angry."
One day I actually wondered: What would our lives be like without each other?
Maybe there was some dream I could pursue to make life interesting. Maybe I could move somewhere new and exciting with the
kids. I believe that it was providential when our seven year old daughter approached me as I stood folding laundry later that
"Mommy, do you know who taught me how to tie my shoes?" she asked seemingly
out of nowhere. I looked at her wordlessly and shook my head no. "Daddy did," she replied with a smile. "Do
you know who taught me how to ride my bike?" I gulped and shook my head no again. "Daddy did," she laughed
looking surprised at my ignorance. "Daddy teaches me lots of things."
I suddenly felt ashamed. I had
been too busy to notice those things. Even though he had always been busy and under constant pressure, my husband had never
tried to evade his responsibility to us and had always found the time to be there for our children. Wasn't that love?
How foolish I had been to entertain thoughts of life without him.
And what about
those vows we took that said "for better or for worse" - wasn't that more than a quaint old saying?
As for our personal life and lack of communication - when was the last time I had slowed down and really become aware of
my husband? Had I ever stopped to offer him a word of encouragement or gratitude for all that he did for his family
day in, day out? I suddenly realized we were both on automatic pilot, treading water, trying hard to get through each day.
That day was the beginning of new understanding for me. I began to take time to give my husband a hug when he
came home from work, and to show in little ways that I loved and appreciated him. I could see the surprise and gratitude
in his eyes.
I started to notice the times he stopped to rub my tired shoulders - wasn't he doing it
more often now? And the cup of specialty coffee he began to splurge on and surprise me with after an unusually
long and tiring week, was as welcome as diamonds. So were the lovely flowers he had delivered to me on our anniversary.
The moral of the story is this: When times are stressful, a little thoughtful awareness of your spouse goes
a long way. In fact, it can work miracles. A hug out of nowhere can be all that's needed to start turning things around
(although it takes getting used to if you haven't been affectionate with one another for awhile).
It's now been over thirty years. If our marriage had not been monogamous, I'm certain that we would never
have had the chance to see clearly and deal with all of our challenges, and would have given up, or lived on in misery.
Most of the kids are grown and we now have time to talk, watch a movie or go for a walk, and enjoy our family
and grandchildren. Laughing together is the best.
Since Ron's heart attack a few years
ago, I realize even more how grateful I am for my husband and how important he is to his family. We are truly partners for
And when I'm least expecting it, he still surprises me with a cup of specialty coffee.