It’s Katie’s birthday today. Which is strange, because I’ve known her for almost 11 years now and every day I spend with her feels like my birthday. So happy birthday to us?
There’s no Marriage Abbey without her genius. I’m just a guy who writes about what he sees. And what I see is a vision of untiring beauty and goodness that I don’t deserve. I’ve been writing the following post in the lead-up to her birthday. This is how I view my wife even after all these birthdays that I’ve celebrated with her. I still see myself as not worthy of her love; rather, I deserve something else, something that elevates our relationship beyond worldly ways of thinking.
Every day after I wake up, I look at my wife and I think, I’m not worthy of a woman like that.
If ever I wake up and think, “I’m worthy of a woman like that,” then I’m not worthy of a woman like that.
Every time I see her put away the dishes, I think, I’m not worthy of a woman like that. And then I give her an ultimatum: “Let me help you put the dishes away even if you insist that I don’t. Or I’ll kiss you. And still put the dishes away.”
If ever I watch her doing chores and think, “I’ve had a long enough day at work so it’s time to relax,” then I’m not worthy of woman like that.
Every day she wrestles with Leo and I watch him play trampoline on her back, attack her fingers as if they were a teething toy, and ram her knees to mimic his favorite Pachycephalosaur (head-butting dino). This one-sided play is quite bruising, so I say to him, “Come attack Papa instead,” as we tag team this wild child.
If ever I abandon the code of chivalry in my own house, fail to save the fair maiden from the undersized T-Rex roaming our halls, and fail to sacrifice myself to secure her escape, then I’m hardly worthy of the best teammate a fun-loving Papa could ask for.
Every day she insists on putting together my lunch. She’s old-fashioned, even as she is part a generation of trend-setting women in the field of law. And she deals with my peculiar tastes and food portions every morning, just because she knows I’ll be also be carrying a portion of love in my lunchbox to work that morning. And every day I think of her when I warm up my meal.
If ever I receive my daily bread without thanking God for her… if ever I fail to think about a woman who transcends time, who lives out the best of the old while forging ahead into the new… and if ever I think I have it made because someone serves me…
Then it’s not even about being worthy.
It’s just time to step up my duty as husband. No poetic insight is needed. I will just have to be a better man. Because I don’t deserve her or any of this. The worst thing a husband can think is that he deserves the privilege of his wife. My wife, for all that she does, shows me that I am so tiny next to her infinite depth of love and infinite height of selfless actions. Because the only thing I deserve as a husband, as a sinner trying to mimic Christ, is to be humbled so I can participate in the grace that can make me worthy of a woman like that. What I deserve is to be made low and then be made new, every day, for her sake. Every day Christ offers such a thing, and in everything Katie does, she offers me a way to receive it. What a Sacrament we live, to be wake up every morning to that grace.
Now pardon me while I treat my Katie to a well-deserved lunch on her birthday.