D. Michael, my husband
December 29, 2018 | My Jottings
(One of my favorites from the archives….)
My husband Michael’s name is really Dennis. His parents named him Dennis Michael but never intended to call him Dennis. So he signs his name D. Michael B______. Some friends still call him D. Michael instead of just Michael, and that always makes me smile.
Anyway, my husband and I are a very romantic couple, and by that I mean that we take moonlight strolls on The Lakewalk near the shores of Lake Superior, listen to Etta James as we gaze longingly into each other’s eyes each night before we climb into our big bed, hold surprise scavenger hunts for each other with trinkets and love notes hidden all over the house, enjoy large red boxes of waxy chocolates and have a hefty bubble bath bill each month.
Actually, only one of the last six statements is true. The rest are all bold falsehoods. We haven’t taken any moonlight walks by the Lake because when the moon rises I’m usually yawning or already in bed, and Michael is watching the Minnesota Twins or the Vikings. We don’t hold scavenger hunts for creative ways to show our love, because we’re already tired of searching high and low for small, hidden things and are lately trying to give that up — we frequently have harried, romantic hunts for keys, cell phones, and checks that need to be deposited. And eating chocolate (hopefully coupled with peanut butter) is something we both firmly believe should be a daily chore practiced with moderation and discipline, so we eschew big red boxes of random shiny candies. Reese’s will do just fine.
Michael and I usually go out to dinner once a week, but the last time we went out for Valentine’s Day was several years ago. We did the unthinkable, which was drive to one of our favorite restaurants expecting to be seated within one hour. Once we saw the crowd and were told how long the wait was, we left and drove to one of our second favorite restaurants, and were surprised to find no place to park and standing room only inside. Then we drove to our favorite little sandwich joint and were greeted by the same. We decided that from then on we would go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day on either February 13th or 15th. No more of this February 14th business.
Well. Life has a way of changing things. Michael and I would probably never be chosen for the reality show America’s Most Romantic Couple. Sara teased us recently and said a reality show should be done about us, and I told her it would be successful only because it would help insomniacs get back to sleep. But we have some things that are so precious to me I don’t exactly know how to put words to it all.
He wanted to marry me before we ever met, after writing many letters and talking dozens of hours on the phone. He wanted to stay married to me after reality set in, which is even more amazing than wanting to get married before meeting. He helps keep me sane when I feel like craziness is maniacally tapping on the windows of my mind to be let in. He has taught me what faithfulness means and what a priceless, solid foundation it is for a marriage. He has built my confidence day after day, year after year. He has never disrespected me by an outright or a sideways glance at another woman in my presence. He sits with me on the couch when we have a few minutes, takes my feet in his lap and scratches the ridges left in my ankles by my SmartWool socks. He comes up behind me in the mornings when my mood is low and my hair is on end from the night’s sleep, puts his arms around me and tells me lies about how pretty he thinks I am (did I mention he has vision problems?) and how blessed he is to have found me.
He struggles with a terrible illness, but rarely with selfishness. He gets up every morning and makes me feel like I have a life partner who will always cherish me and work side by side with me, and believe the best about me. He often says in the middle of the day when there is finally quiet, “Let’s go read together,” and we take tea and shortbread on a tray to the sitting area of our bedroom, and soak in the truth and help from the Bible that we need for each day. He recently told me that when he saw me pull into the driveway after I’d been out running errands, that his heart did a little flip and he felt “twitterpated.” He dug his heels in years ago when my immaturity allowed me to talk of leaving each time things got rough, and he said, “I will never leave, I will always love you.”
He has worked his body into the ground for our family, sometimes in winter temperatures so far below freezing that he came home with tiny icicles on his mustache. He cries when I read touching stories out loud. He frequently directs me to take out the checkbook when someone is in need. He has never nagged, harped or driven home an important lesson to me. He has never withheld forgiveness for a time, just so I would learn my lesson.
He wrote “Happy Birthday Honey! I love you!” in giant spray-painted letters on a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood tied to the side of his truck, and drove it through town and to our house, honking the horn so I’d come out and see it. You can see the photo of that sign if you click here. Over the years he has gently Q-tipped my face for hours, which must be quite the boring and confining prospect for a manly man who would rather be hunting or fishing outdoors. He has leaned over and kissed me while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store. In front of people, even when we were in our fifties. He has assured me in the darkest of times, “God is faithful. He will do a miracle. He will answer our prayers.” He smiles like no one I’ve ever known. He has knelt with me and laid his arm over my shoulders in prayer as we have wept and snotted into our couch, crying out for our children and the people God puts on our hearts. Quite literally, he has helped me live.
He has reminded me to praise God, many times when my spirit was flagging and I didn’t want to. He has shown me what it looks like to humbly trust God and to rejoice in Him no matter what. He lives the same way today as he did when we had seventy-six cents to our name. In thirty-one years he has never touched another, and I am so thankful for the freedom and peace this has brought to our marriage. He has made me feel like I’m a gift from God to him, which at times is laughable because I can be a high-maintenance wife.
Stated simply and profoundly, Michael has loved me.
So we may not be sipping champagne by candlelight and sitting in bubbles in our whirlpool tub on any future Valentine’s Days, but I’ll take our form of romance any time. My husband Michael has done for me what no other man could do, and for that I will thank him and the Lord until I no longer have breath.
As I write all these things today, I’m reminded of some verses from 1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Why Jesus chose to bless me with a husband like this, I don’t know. It’s certainly not because I deserve him. I think it might be because my heavenly Father wants me to have a clearer picture of His grace.
Michael has been that, and more to me…
I was so, so happy to read this post! Not only because it’s wonderful to hear of such a loving, devoted couple, but also because I too am one half of a similar couple! After previously being in a loveless marriage, I now feel like I’ve won the jackpot! On breakfast T.V. this morning, a couple who’d won a million pounds on the lottery were saying how their life had changed so much for the better. And I thought to myself, since I married Alan, it’s like I’ve won a fantastic prize. (It’s good to remind myself how blessed I am.)
Interestingly, Alan doesn’t use his first name either. His full name is Frederick Alan Stevens. His father was called Frederick and Alan has always gone by the name of Alan.
Thanks again for this uplifting post, Julie.
God bless you both!
I wonder if Alan must think he’s won the jackpot too, to have a wife who loves him like you do, Kay! You both are so blessed….thank you for sharing! xxoo
I suspect that you have been blessed with a husband like Michael because you are lovely and deserve him and because you have loved him every bit as faithfully as he has loved you….this made me feel so happy today. Through thick and thin, easy and difficult times you have steadfastly been there for each other….and have truly known what love is. Thank you for this today. You made my day 🙂
You are kind to say what you have, Helen. But I really have been a high-maintenance wife at times, so I don’t know about “deserving” Michael. I do know I have been blessed, and it’s my desire to bless him in return! You are such a sweet encourager….thank you for helping to make my day as well. xxoo
Julie, thank you for sharing this update ~ I will pray now that I can love Curt the way Michael loves you! Phil 4:13! Have not been doing that lately ~ XXOO
Dearest Taun, Yes, and I join you in praying that I will love Michael the way he loves me. Every day I see I have missed opportunities, as the busyness of life demands my focus. Boo. Help us Lord! LY….
There is always a pattern in God’s world and now it is your turn to look after, lift up, protect, nurture, show your love, have patients, provide a secure home, and just tell him of your love for him when he needs it. All men have a warrior instinct and all woman who are walking in the Lord’s ways are their man’s radar. The portion of your blog of wanting to flee was a Sooter/McInteer trait that we all have had to overcome. Sis our other half have been such a blessing to you and I. God gave you and I them for a reason. I too am blessed in the Man that Michael is and have always felt a brotherhood relationship with him. Don’t just sit back, continue to press in and to be that Proverbs 31 Woman he has always known.
About your comments having to do with Feb. 14th, it is always a blessing to me as that is my wedding date to my Proverbs 31 woman. And now I can say to the world that I have a Proverbs 31 daughter as well because of my wife.
I often remember the many mornings and afternoons and evenings where both of them were involved in the schooling process. It was hard but sooooooooooo worth it.
I agree with you about your dear wife, Larry. God has given you an amazing woman there (Hi Christy!), and daughter! I’m so blessed to call them my family too. xxoo
You are blessed!!
His light shines brightly and your blog posts spread that light. The line that echoes loudly is “He struggles with a terrible illness but rarely with selfishness”.
I thank you for your comment Sue. I want my life to honor Michael as much as my words do. Xxoo
I loved what everyone wrote and especially Sue’s words. Julie,
you show your love for Michael as he does for you. Julie, you
are very lovable and your children and grandchildren are blessed.
Thank you Dorothy…there are days when this disease takes its toll on everyone and I don’t see myself as very lovable! I’m so thankful God knows how to love anyone! someone has a birthday coming soon… 😉
Julie, this is one of the most loving things I have ever read!
Your and Michael’s love for each ripples out beautiful blessings to all of us who know you. xo
Thank you Shari, for such kind words. Like any other couple, we have our issues, though. 🙂
Yes, but you are living by this: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8
…and it shows : )
Friends spread a blanket of peace and encouragement over their friends. You did that for me, Shari. Thank you. xxoo
My husband’s real name was William Michael. His parents also didn’t intend to call him William and he always went by Mike. He signed W. Michael or William M (on tax returns). We would joke we knew who the telemarketers were when they said can I speak to William (or Bill). Strangers called him that. He never corrected people who called him William or Bill. When we went to medical appoints in his last year I went with him. I did correct the drs. HIs name is Mike. When he was in hospice I also wrote on his white board (for his nurses and drs). His name is Mike. Call him Mike. A name is important.
Funny how so much of your story parallels mine, even here. Yes, a name is so important. It’s the first step to acknowledging a person’s worth and dignity. W. Michael and D. Michael. May God be with them, and us. xoxo