Most men I know will testify to the truth of this statement: When men marry, we marry up.
It is clear to me today, more clearly than ever, that I married up. On April 22, 1978, Denise and I stood up before a preacher, said our words, and united as man and wife.
Today is our 38th anniversary, and it is a testimony to the grace of God in our lives.
Yes, I married up.
I have learned more and learned to enjoy more things than I ever imagined. I have learned that an afternoon shopping—a loathsome task in general to the male of the species—is a much better way to spend my time than a day of doing something I would enjoy, but doing it all alone.
I have learned that watching a movie that I have no desire to see, such as Good Will Hunting, with her is more satisfying than together watching a Pink Panther movie that she will never enjoy.
I have learned to watch—even if not enjoy—the Food Network on a Saturday morning with her, and that it is a good investment of time, for it beats wasting my time all by myself.
I have learned the value of seeing things from different perspectives, as our moments of disagreements have taught me.
Oh, yes, all we men have married up. The smart ones of us will recognize it, learn, and grow as human beings and as husbands, fathers, and friends. Most of us waste precious time—sometimes years—refusing to acknowledge the fact, and go on our merry ways, aimlessly wandering through life and not maturing.
I have learned that Denise is much better at handling troublesome situations than I am, and it is wise to defer to her judgment.
I have slowly learned over the years that when she calls me stubborn she is correct.
I have married up, and am better for it.
At the same time, Denise has grown as well.
She has learned to endure baseball, just because it is my favorite sport.
She has become an avid student of history after watching countless historically-based movies with me over the last 38 years, such as our favorite The Winds of War.
Denise can now sit through a Marx Brothers movie, occasionally emitting a muffled laugh.
She has adopted my love of mystery, such as the movies from the stories of the great Agatha Christie, including Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, The Mousetrap, and Death on the Nile.
She has traveled with me at times to sporting events as I wrote for the newspaper, and turned these into family traditions, such as our yearly visit to the Amish restaurant in Montgomery, Indiana during basketball regional Saturday.
Denise easily recognizes when I am tired or upset at the end of a day, and she provides plenty of space for me at home, even if it only means I take a nap in a chair.
In reality we have discovered what a good couple does: we complement each other. We fill in the holes that the other person might have. We make allowances for their weaknesses. We are still learning—after 38 years—to laugh at ourselves individually and together.
When we raised our children one of us was gentler with them, while the other one tended to analyze and speak directly. Neither one was perfect alone in dealing with them, but between us and God’s grace we tended to find answers.
Together we share the fruit of our endeavors with four children who make us proud and happy, along with a growing bevy of grandchildren.
Thirty-eight years after marrying my sweetheart I am more convinced than ever that we men marry up. If we fail to understand that, pity us, for we only injure ourselves by not doing so.
Yes, men marry up.
So do women.
Happy anniversary, Denise.
I love you.