Next week Kedron and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary, and it’s a miracle – not that we made it to 14, but that he survived the first few years. I was young, and trying so hard to be a “good wife” based on this ideal I had in my head. Sadly, my attempts ended in a string of hilarious failures that he patiently suffered through.
I stood in the basement one day in those early years doing laundry, when I remembered that being a “good wife” meant also doing all the ironing. I happily hummed as I hung Kedron’s freshly pressed work clothes in his closet.
A few days later I noticed that all of the clothes I had ironed for him were in the hamper. Surprised, I asked him, “Did you wear all of those clothes already?!”
His look said that he’d hoped I wouldn’t notice. “Ah, no. I appreciate you trying to iron my clothes, but you double creased everything and I can’t wear them like that to work. The only way to get the creases out is to wash them again.”
Darn that starch. I huffed, “Well, that’s the last time I ever iron YOUR clothes!”
He gently replied, “It’s ok, really, I’m happy to iron my own clothes!”
Over a decade later, he still irons all his clothes…and mine. And he’s very good at it.
For our wedding, I bought Kedron a pair of hair clippers. Romantic, I know. I was thinking frugally, because a “good wife” saves money wherever possible. I knew that his Dad had always cut his hair, but I have no idea why I thought that meant I could. I knew early in life that cosmetology would not be a profession for me based on the way I butchered one of my Barbie’s hair. She was deemed the “ugly” child that the other Barbies had to be nice to
Apparently, I had forgotten to tell my new husband about my Barbie’s hairless fate because a couple months after our wedding he asked me to trim his hair. He put the guide on the clipper and instructed me to just take a little off the back.
He took his shirt off and sat on a folding chair in the kitchen of our basement apartment. The clipper buzzed and then I said the word no one getting a haircut ever wants to hear. “Oops!”
I tried to fix it, but made it worse. I could tell he was nervous. Kedron has an amazing head of hair and was always particular about his haircuts. Finally I timidly said, “Umm…I think you should go look in a mirror.”
He came out of the bathroom and put the shortest guide on the clippers and said, “Buzz it all off.”
I gasped. He had never had a buzzed haircut. He’d always worn his thick, dark hair styled long. When we started dating, it hung nearly to his chin in front.
I held the clippers and stared at him wide eyed and asked, “Are you sure? Do you want to go somewhere and get it fixed?”
He smiled, albeit weakly and said, “I’m sure. Buzz it.”
I took a deep breath and soon long dark locks covered our kitchen floor. He kept reassuring me that it was fine and that his hair grows fast.
Now, his philosophy when it comes to haircuts is “You get what you pay for.” He does, however, ask me to occasionally trim his neck. Fortunately, I can handle that small task.
Despite my failures, I continued my efforts until it ended with runny pancakes. I remembered that my early-bird mother often made hot breakfast and always sent us out the door with a perky smile. One morning I dragged myself out of bed and tried to smile as I made pancakes. I was so tired, I didn’t even realize the pancakes were still runny when I slapped them on Kedron’s plate. He politely gagged them down.
That evening, he announced. “You don’t need to make me pancakes for breakfast. Ever.”
I sighed, “Were they really that bad?”
He shrugged, trying not to make it a big deal. “Yeah, they were pretty runny.”
I had no idea how I’d managed to botch something so simple.
He continued, “You don’t have to try so hard. I married you for you, not because I wanted you to be your mom or my mom or some ideal. Just be the best you.”
That’s when I realized that being a good wife is less about the tasks I do, and more about the person I’m becoming and the heart attitudes I have toward God, my husband and our home. Mysteriously, the more I focus on those attitudes, the easier it is to get the necessary tasks of household and family accomplished. (Ten years later, I’ve even mastered pancakes, to my children’s delight!)
Somewhere along the line, I also realized that I didn’t need to try to figure out how all men work. I only need to figure out how one man works – mine, and he’s handsomely unique.
I began to study him and pay attention to his needs and desires to understand how I could best help him. I learned that while he loves a home cooked meal, he’s also fine with frozen bean burritos. His only preference with food is that he doesn’t have to eat meat every day. Although he values an orderly home with clean bathrooms, if it means leaving the place trashed so I can take the kids to make memories with his grandparents, he’d rather we go make memories. I learned that he needs the space to dream big without me freaking out about the details of execution. Just as he gave me the freedom to be myself, I needed to give him the freedom to be himself.
The more I learned about him, the more I realized how much God had designed us for each other. I began to see that where I am weak, Kedron is often strong. And there’s no need to beat myself up about that and try to be perfect in every area. I just work to be the best version of me.
I wouldn’t trade him for the world, and whenever I mention the events of those early years he laughs, “Oh yeah I forgot about that!” In short – he rocks.
(He’s also a rocking photographer with a new photo blog Krow Photography!)