A real man rides a carousel with his son and doesn’t think a thing about it…

Disclaimer:  High Gag Factor today.

Here’s the thing about marriage – it’s just so darn true what people say about seasons of peaks and valleys.  So cliche and yet so very dead-on.

I do not by any stretch of the imagination have a perfect union, namely because well…they don’t exist.

I strive to not ever be one who will put up the “perfect” front and not be real and share struggles that we have had as a couple and myself (I don’t share my husband’s personal struggles with anyone unless he has given me permission to do so because 1) those are his own stories to tell and 2)  it’s not his fault that he married a very honest writer.  Bummer for him on that one.)

We have had some scary doozy-of-arguments.  We have sometimes fought in front of our children (yes, I realize this is a basic “Parenting 101” no-no).  We have said some pretty terrible things to one another.  We have both at times admitted that we are just not happy in our marriage.

We’ve worked really hard at this gig and we continue to do so.  One day at a time.

JJ knows I love the arts but having these three little young blessings kind of distracts you from enjoying a good musical and concert now and then.  Note:  For those of you who do not have children, it’s not that life stops after they arrive it’s just that it becomes a little bit more of a logistical challenge.  Just slightly.

But this year, JJ surprised me by purchasing tickets to Purdue’s Convocation Series and let me tell you, Purdue has quite the talented ability to attract some fantastic entertainers.  We have already seen Casting Crowns and Bill Cosby.  This past Thursday, we had the privilege of hearing/watching/bawling to another band that is my new favorite.

Rewind with me for a moment to two and a half years ago…It was March of 2008 and though I was only six months pregnant with our third child, because it WAS our third child in four years, I looked like I might just give birth at any moment.  I was large and in-charge and maybe just a little grumpy about it.  Did I mention that I was also caring for a three year old and a one year old?

JJ knew I needed a getaway and promptly scheduled a weekend away in Nashville, Tennessee.  Neither of us had ever been before but we are both such music lovers that it was a safe choice for us both.

“I got us tickets to a lunch show with Rodney Atkins and a show with Brad Paisley that evening,” he told me.

I remember thinking it was somewhat odd that Rodney Atkins would play a lunch show but whatever – I was getting away.

When we arrived at the “concert”, we walked into a convention center and had to “check-in”.  I was thoroughly confused – wasn’t this just a show?


My ever-so-creative husband had actually gotten us tickets to the Country Music Seminar held each year in downtown Nashville.  It’s a convention for everyone in country music radio – DJ’s, producers, managers, agents.

Everyone there had a tie to country music radio – except us.

We listened to Rodney Atkins then headed backstage to meet him (yes, my husband somehow finagled that one, too).  As we were walking in, a trio of cute twenty-somethings were walking out but we didn’t give them much thought as our shoulders brushed – after all, there were emerging artists all over the place because this was THE PLACE to be if you wanted to woo the DJ’s into playing your songs.

That trio?

Lady Antebellum.

We listened to them this past Thursday night as they played a sold-out show on Purdue’s campus and I can honestly say that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a concert that great.  It was literally incredible.

Early in our dating relationship, we had some issues of a wall that had built around my heart.  Pieces of it unfairly stayed there for longer than I care to admit and didn’t fully crumble until about a year and a half ago.

But now it’s completely down and he’s in.  And I couldn’t love it more.

Lady Antebellum sings a song called “I Run to You” and all I can think of is JJ because criminy…I run to that man.  He is my safe place.  I run to God first, yes.  But JJ?  He’s a very close second.

As we were returning to our hotel room after a show during that weekend, we were in an elevator with a DJ.  “What station ya’ll from?” he asked.

My husband, without missing a beat, said “KICKS in Atlanta.”  He didn’t even flinch.

The DJ looked impressed as we left the elevator and I wallowed in the guilt of fibbing for only a split second before I emerged into giggles.

It’s just forever an adventure with that man and I’m so thankful he chose me to ride along with him.

My list of 1,000 things continues…I am so very grateful for:

121.  A husband who is always the same – even through the peaks and valleys.  His consistency is so soothing.

122.  A husband who delights in delighting me.

123.  A husband who I can safely run to. (Note:  This dangling participle is making me crazy but I don’t know any other way to say it.)

124.  A husband who absolutely 100% supports everything I ever want to do.

125.  A husband who still chases me after the kids go to bed.  :)

126.  A husband who believes that our marriage should be the top priority and forces me to remember this when I am knee-deep in kiddyland.

127.  A husband who has given me the gift of staying home with our children.

128.  A husband who shows me a lot of grace when I accidentally overdraw my checking account.

129.  A husband who continually challenges me and forces me to rethink things I once thought to be absolutes.  He will not let me stay in one place for too long much to my irritation.

130.  A husband who is not going anywhere and has made that abundantly clear to his “fear-of-abandonment” wife.  That darn wall-crumbler…

In a world that so quickly suggests divorce when a marriage hits a valley, that muddles the waters with well-intentioned feminism, and would like us to think “me” rather than “we”, may you to run to God first, yes, but quickly turn to your spouse next.

And should you not have a spouse, may you know that you are Christ’s bride and He honors and cherishes you beyond your wildest dreams.

Click here to listen to “I Run to You”

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