Loving my wife's whole life...
I had an idea about marriage that I thought I'd chase after.
I wrote Heidi’s mom and dad a little while back and asked them to share with me some things about Heidi that I may not know even after 20 years of marriage. They wrote me a long list of things and sent me over some pictures. I consumed their email like a starving, ravenous wolf. I couldn’t get enough of this unexplored part of her heart that I wasn’t there to experience but that shaped the woman that is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.
Here's some of the stuff they sent back...
“She was one of those kids that people loved partly because she was so cute and had this stubborn little frown. One of the men from church was a real tease and liked to throw her in the air. She hated it because she was afraid someone would see her panties!”
“She was always a sweet little one unless she had an ear infection, which was at least once a month. She would often wake up in the middle of the night and go to her daddy and say, “I want to hold you in the living room?” She knew better than to ask me because I would have put her back in bed.“
“One regret we have with Heidi is that we sent her to all day kindergarten thinking it would be good since she was a younger 5 year old. We also lived 30-40 minutes from the school and it was difficult to pick her up in the middle of the day. The regret is that I missed out on those sweet hours in the afternoon. She would come home very tired and really needed that extra time at home.
Heidi loved to have her room neat. She could not go to bed until everything was in its place. She would even put a towel on the floor under her door so we would not see that she was still up putting things in perfect order.
Nighttime prayers were very lengthy at times because she could not go to sleep unless her conscious was completely clear. She would confess to us every possible bad thought or action in her day. It got to the point where we tried to explain we were not her priests, that she could confess it to Jesus and He would forgive her on the spot. However, she still needed us to know to clear her conscience!!”
“Heidi played basketball growing up. When she would guard her opponent she would put her hand in their face to frustrate the other player. It ended up being her signature move. She fouled opponents so many times. When she first started playing, she had the ball, and the gymnasium was very quiet and I yelled, “shoot Heidi!!”, so being the obedient daughter she was, she shot, but it was at the wrong basket.”
“Heidi dated 3 Jason’s in a row, one in high school, one early in her freshman year in college, and then Jason Holdridge who won her heart. We are so thankful that he did. We love him like our son. He is just what Heidi needed. Someone who could lead a strong woman and guide her to have a free heart.”
This simple exercise of inquiring of my wife’s past taught me a valuable lesson and it was this…that even though I cannot remember (experience) these moments because I was not there, I can research (explore) these moments and try to embrace them as if I was there…taking her back to them whenever she needs to be reminded of who she is and where she came from.
I got to thinking about my heart as a boy as well, so I decided to do the same thing I did with Heidi’s parents.
I called my mom and dad and asked them to write me an email sharing a few things that maybe I wouldn’t remember about my past that tell a broader and more intimate story of my whole life. These are some things they jotted down…
“First of all, from the time you were born you did everything full-throttle. You were very high strung and would get home from school and be so active around the house to the point of climbing up inside the doorways.”
“You listened to Bible cassette tapes before you even learned to read. You would turn the page at the sound of the bell and eventually had the whole book memorized and we had no idea it was happening.”
“We eventually found out later in life that you delighted in peeing down the register instead of going into the bathroom because it was too far away. We always wondered why your room smelt like urine.”
“You were also a young entrepreneur always looking for ways to make money by picking worms, strawberries, apples, selling papers, shoveling snow, and even one time tried to sell chestnuts door to door up and down our street.”
“We prayed for you every night by your bed, but most of the time you were asleep when your head hit the pillow. You played so hard every day that you were zonked by bed time!!”
“You loved to eat and always ate fast because you wanted to win…everything was competitive. Sometimes you would eat so fast that you wouldn’t even chew, choking on hot dogs or large pieces of meat. You always had brain freezes anytime we had ice cream. We ate a lot of popcorn when you were little and you always were trying to keep up with your dad.”
It was a trip to read about the little boy Jason.
A thought hit me as I was thinking about my marriage and the imperative of loving my whole wife, that is, her life before and after I met her. It came out like this…
"I, Jason, will always be enrolled in a class called...“Heidiolgy”. I will need to continue to be a student of her history and her unfolding story. I will have to study her changing habits and to learn about the undiscovered motives that compel her inner being. Life with her is to be an endless exam challenging me to examine how well I’ve retained my knowledge of the body of work she’s experienced over the course of her life, revealing to me the things I’ve forgotten and need to work on in order to not fail the Final Exam.
There will be pop quizzes when I least expect them and the more I’m listening well and staying inquisitive about her goings on and where abouts throughout each day, the better I’ll do at passing those unforeseen tests of trust and love. I must read her body language like words in a textbook, remembering even little things that caused that subtle cringe or tiny smirk. I must keep of log of the hours as I watch her ups and downs.
My mind must be a notebook and my heart must be chalkboard filled with things that life is teaching me about her as my tutor. Heidiology 101 cannot be a class I fail. I must at least shoot for an A everyday and when my GPA drops a little bit, as it’s bound to do since I’m HUMAN, I have to look for ways to get extra credit by going the extra mile to boost my grade back up to where it’s supposed to be. I must stay a life-long learner and she must remain my primary and passionate subject matter no matter how cool my job is or how many kids we may have."
I saw a quote about 9 years ago that I’ve never forgotten…it only becomes more true as our marriage grows older and stronger…
“To love a Woman is to learn the song that is in Her heart,
And to sing it to Her when she has forgotten it herself.”
And to sing it to Her when she has forgotten it herself.”