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Cardinals

I wanted to write a post for Stuart in September, in honor of our fifteenth anniversary, that would record how much I love him. But, he forgot about our anniversary until we had been married for fifteen years and one day and this forgetting smudged his outstanding qualities and left me without any romantic writing material.

When February rolled around, I was too busy buying wine, lighting candles, cooking dinner and hanging a pink gauzy canopy over the bed to take the time to record my appreciation for my husband. Stuart is not a romantic and it’s taken me these fifteen years to figure out that it’s my job to sweep us off our feet. Once, on Valentine’s Day, when Stuart was in charge of the plans, we watched The Perfect Storm. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, I’ll spoil the plot for you...everyone dies. One of the sorriest Valentine dates a girl has ever had. So this past Valentine’s Day was an improvement. Except for the canopy. Stuart complained that he was trapped in a pale pink cave and he flapped around like a giant moth trying to escape its confines so he could get ready for work the next morning. It’s a good, laughing memory.

The seasons have spun from fall to winter to spring and today, finally, I write for Stuart. The birds call to one another and court at the feeder outside my kitchen window. A male cardinal stands on a hill of sunflower seeds. He scoops up a seed and gallantly feeds his female counterpart. “Here babe. Try this tasty morsel.” Makes me weak in the knees. The tenderness between these two lovebirds is my favorite part of spring. I read up on them expecting to find that the male cardinal stuck around long enough for a one-night stand and then was on his merry way. Instead, I learned that the bright red bird stays. He feeds his babies. He and his wife divide the family chores. He is faithful and dependable. Just like Stuart.

Faithfulness. We've been married long enough to know that it's easy to be deceived. We've seen the marriages of good friends torn asunder. Friends who have bought into the lie that the arms of another might provide the happiness, the romance they are seeking. Friends who have given up or given in instead of hanging on through the tough times, the stretches of boredom.

Once, not too long ago, logistics and distance demanded that Stuart leave us at home to attend the wedding of his last bachelor friend. He spent the weekend with other husbands in the same predicament. Stuart lost his wedding band a few weeks after we were married and we have not replaced it due to the almost certain possibility that he would lose it again. So he went off to the wedding, and the revelry, with a hand that expressed singleness but he wore his family around his heart and he was not tempted to pretend to be what he isn't. His married companions with their golden reminders on their ring fingers had no such qualms.

Once, we went together to a wedding. A second wedding for the groom. This second marriage to a woman who did not smile on her wedding day. At the reception we sat next to an friend who did not bring his wife but a new girlfriend. I nursed my fourth infant and danced with my husband on that sunny New England autumn afternoon and felt like a bride for I knew I was loved and my husband trustworthy.

Today our culture teaches that happiness is god and everything that gets in the way of personal fulfillment should be sacrificed on the altar of selfishness. My children and I will not find ourselves upon that altar for my Stuart is faithful and dependable and selfless. And it makes me weak in the knees to be married to such a man.

Comments

Janelle said…
I feel like a fly on the wall reading this intimate portrayal of your marriage. Thanks for sharing such sweet and precious moments. This is what a marriage is supposed to be.

I had no idea about the male cardinals. I always thought they were cocky and self-absorbed.

Great writing, Kate!
Christy said…
That's beautiful, Kate! I know from experience that being confident in your husband's faithfulness is a wonderful thing. There are always a lot of affairs on deployment, and my husband is very careful to avoid anything that would even make it appear that something might be going on.

I'm glad you wrote this, even if it is a few months after you first intended to write :)
Give me faithfulness over "romance" any day! Hubby & I have been married 15 years next month, and his faithfulness makes me weak in the knees.

You're a blessed woman...but you know that already!
Christy,

I think your comment brings a whole new dimension to this post. Military marriages must overcome some mighty hurtles in order to succeed. I'm sure you and Isaac are a light to the men and women around you.

Janelle,
I thought the same thing about cardinals and was quite surprised to learn otherwise. Did you know that they can raise as many as four broods of young (though more typically two or three broods) each year? Glad I'm not a cardinal!

Kate
Kate-that is beautiful and truth. You should link this up on Monday for our marriage monday topic-Is marriage for happiness or holiness. Very appropriate I would say. It would be an encouragement to others.
Much love,
Angela
Alana said…
I'm married to a cardinal, too. So thankful for that!!
Xandra said…
I have friends who do not understand the complete trust that I have in Trevor. It would no more cross his mind to be unfaithful (in any way) than to decide to step out into busy traffic.

We are surely blessed with marriages that withstand the test of time and grow closer and closer as the years go on. Although it's a bit belated, congratulations on your 15th anniversary!

Xandra
MiPa said…
What a beatiful post! I believe this is my first visit to your blog, but it won't be my last. Thank you for the blessing.
Linnet's Nest said…
Beautifully written and brought a tear to my eye. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

You said: Today our culture teaches that happiness is god and everything that gets in the way of personal fulfillment should be sacrificed on the altar of selfishness. This is a sad truth.

~blessings.
the160acrewoods said…
i love your post. I totally understand it. and that's what I love about it. WE live in a sad world, but i'm so thrilled to have such a stable man who loves me.
Lynn said…
Hi Kate,

My first visit as well. This is wonderfully written and makes me weak in the knees.

God bless Stuart. A man after God's own heart.

Wonderful post. Thank you.
Vaughanville said…
"And it makes me weak in the knees to be married to such a man." I know that feeling intimately and can only shout a "hallelujah" for you and your family. May there be more men like him and more women who appreciate what they do have!

Michele
Faith said…
This was beautiful. I did know that about the cardinels...we have a pair in our backyard...they are awesome to watch.
I loved reading this about your marriage...praise God for such a godly husband!
Meg said…
What a wonderful way to honor your man and marriage! Thanks for sharing.

I loved reading about the cardinals!

My honey is out of town and reading this makes me miss him =).

Blessings, Kate. Love, Meg
Jennifer in OR said…
My first visit here as well, and wow, how did I miss this blog before?? You're an excellent writer and a wise woman. I'll be browsing around...
e-Mom said…
Lovely! I enjoyed this post, Small Scribbler. You have found a good man. Bless you and Stuart. And happy fifteenth anniversary!

Thanks for participating in Marriage Monday, today.

e-Mom @ Chrysalis :~D
Elise said…
Oh, this is so beautiful, friend! It makes me think of the very similar qualities in my own Kevin. What a contrast to the unsmiling bride and the man with a new girlfriend- a happily married, contented nursing mother of four... it is such a beautiful, secure picture. And the world would have you believe you are trapped- such freedom it is!
Thank you for sharing this lovely picture of *you*- and the picture you painted of the moth flailing about in his pink cave was the funniest thing to imagine!
Thanks for your honesty and insight. May God protect all our marriages! Good to hear from you again.
Faith said…
Mm, that is so true!
And great timing because just this evening I was marveling at my TJ and his trustworthiness and faithfulness. I *know* that nothing but death could take him from me ... and that in itself is an incredible gift.

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