Last Monday Mike and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary. How we have come this far is no surprise; it was through the grace of God. I married a perfectionist, a “Type A” personality, but I’m quite the opposite. I fly under the radar of unplanned big events.
I got pregnant because I hated taking birth control pills. I started taking the pill every other day and, when I was running low, I cut it in half. These measures of birth control proved to be unsuccessful; therefore our son Mikos was born. After that I stopped taking birth control pills.
I knew from the beginning what a great guy Mike was. I will always remember our first Christmas. He showered me with so many meaningful gifts, even though we were just dating. But his benevolent heart sealed our union. My husband has a servant’s heart, and this is one of the greatest gifts you can have. His life’s work has been to keep harmony in our family.
Early on I was a handful; my liberal ideologies and my desire to be equal to my husband in marriage were posing a big problem. I was convinced that I could do better in life if I had a career. I threatened to go back to college so that I could get on with my real calling. In the meantime God was tugging at my heart to discover my real purpose in life. At no time did Mike ever try to discourage my crazy, emotional stages in life. I went back to college and received a Bachelors of Science from Biola University. The acronym for Biola is Bible Institute of Los Angeles; you can’t get more Christian than that! Again the Lord’s hand was working, guiding me to the right path.
We all have them. These minions that attack our minds to cause havoc were raging in me. After our first born I discovered that I suffered from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This meant that my entire family were affected by these erratic acts. The imbalance of my hormones made me behave irrationally with outbursts of anger that later made me suffer with great guilt. I needed help, but back in those days help was not available. While listening to a Christian radio broadcast I heard an advertisement about a natural, homeopathic method to control the PMS outbursts. My life was all overboard with two weeks of crazy and two weeks of remorse. Poor Mike got the worst of it, so when I told him about the clinic for PMS, he welcomed the idea.
It took 45 minutes to drive to Arcadia, but at this point in my distress, I would have taken a plane to Timbuktu to get help. I was given natural progesterone made with yams as the main ingredient. To my doctor this method of treatment was considered unorthodox, but I had no other alternative. I do remember that the medicine had to be refrigerated. This was over 35 years ago, and Holly Anderson’s PMS clinic is still in operation. I can testify that it helped me regain my senses and helped me to save our marriage.
Once I got the PMS under control, I needed to take care of this women’s lib thing. While searching for God in a Protestant church, I started attending a class on “How To Become A Fascinating Woman.” Taking this class out of curiosity was the genesis of a long lesson in humility. All along I had been misguided by the women’s movement in the seventies. Taking the role of the man in our home did not work out so well. Reading the Bible and getting directions from God was not only eye opening, it was a revelation. I understood my role as a queen in our household when I got off the king’s throne. It took some time, but slowly I realized that appreciating the simple gestures of kindness reaped mountains of rewards. When Mike washed my car, I would make a concerted effort to sincerely thank him. Then he started to not only wash my car but to gas it up as well. These little acts of kindness were becoming second nature to me. Mike is the head of our household not only because he is the financial provider but because it is in the right order of God.
“Be kind” is an overrated phrase of the world that people use for their own narcissistic purposes. Being kind is much more than words that are spoken; it’s performing acts with loving gestures. In our marriage, being kind has taken me to the prayer closet; there I place my heart in check before I open my mouth. It takes patience to practice kindness in a relationship, and for me it has taken years.
Pick Your Battles
We have had our share of fights, but it is usually the woman who is the first to admit being wrong. Men are not as emotionally astute as women. When a man is wounded, he tends to go inward with his emotions. We women are more vocal, expressing our animosity with greater displays of drama. Did you know that women speak 20,000 words per day, while men speak only 7,000! This is how God made us; this distinct difference makes us better equipped in the argument arena.
Never compare your husband to another man, and never nag. There is nothing worse in a marriage than a woman verbally abusing her husband, it induces pinned up anger and causes strife in any relationship.
Staying in Love
There are so many marriages that I believe could have been saved. A woman’s role is to always be supportive of her husband, to encourage him, forgive him, and to become his light. I can only speak for myself, but when I immersed myself in serving the Lord, Mike noticed a change in me. I attended church by myself for years, realizing that God calls us individually; but it bothered me that he did not have the same interest. I prayed for years for us to worship God as a couple. I pressed through, keeping the promises of God in my heart, knowing that Mike would one day accompany me. When I returned to the Catholic Church he started to attend services sporadically. Now we attend Mass together every Sunday. So, to you women who are dismayed because of your husband’s walk, keep praying; through your prayers God will bring them in.
I do not know who Mike voted for this past presidential election. I’m a conservative, but Mike’s not sharing my same political interest was posing a huge problem. We had many heated arguments over this until the Lord revealed to me that Mike has his reasons for his beliefs and I needed to respect them. I still suspect that he may have liberal tendencies, and I’ve learned to tone down my views to a bare minimum in order to keep peace. Nothing is worth causing this type of division because our love for each other always supersedes anything that the Enemy will toss our way.
We passed COVID-19 quarantine because we have definitely learned to live with all of our vices on display. Mike cooks and I clean. He protects me, and I constantly pray for him. We talk about everything: his job, my aches and pains, our kids. He offers solid advice and I always do what he suggests because he is over me. Please do not misunderstand this last statement, because I honor our marriage by allowing my husband this rightful role as the head of this household. He is my best friend; no one will ever take Mike’s place because our love is unconditional.
Dear Lord, You know everything about our marriage. I pray that You will continue to bless our union. Lord, help me to be more patient with Mike, and give me special graces to get through the challenges of life. I lift up all married couples, especially those who are struggling to stay together. Lord, guide their decisions and lead them into Your loving arms. Pour out Your love on every married couple and bless them. Amen.