Lessons from a Joy Boy
In two days Stuart and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Being married to Stuart has been a crazy, fun adventure. When I promised him a long time ago that I would follow him anywhere, little did I know that promise would take us away from Texas to Colorado, Florida, and back to the Great State of Texas (Is “Great State” an official title? It should be.).
Compared to my Grandpa and Granny Click’s 70+ years of marriage and my Grandpa and Grandma Rothman’s 55+ years of marriage, 5 years isn’t very long. However, even in this short time I have already seen tremendous growth. To my surprise, I discovered on about day 7 of marriage that it is in fact not like the movies. Who would have thought people actually have to work for a living, have disagreements, and experience growing pains? Who knew that my life wouldn’t come with a soundtrack?
But you know what the movies don’t tell us? How awesome it is when you work through the tough stuff and come out on the other side stronger. Hollywood doesn’t tell us that staying married is worth it or that getting a new spouse every few years actually complicates things and brings more heartache than working through differences. And they never, ever tell us that God’s plan for marriage is undoubtedly the best plan.
I love my husband. Those of you who know Stuart know what an amazing man he is. One of my first memories of him was the Sunday after one of my best friend’s wedding. The night before, I caught Triston’s bouquet, the only one I’ve ever caught, and started dating Stuart within a few weeks. I guess there may be something to that “myth” of being the next one to get married when you catch a bouquet. Anyways, Stuart was giving the communion talk at church in front of about 1200 people. One look at him, and I perked up, suddenly no longer tired from getting in late the night before. He spoke about the aroma of Christ. I must have been hanging on every word because I still remember the topic!
And that is where it all started. I have learned more from him than I may ever realize. Because I like to make lists I thought I would write out a few of the things I have learned from Stuart. And I want to pass these lessons along to you.
- Roll with it. Stuart is one of the most adaptable people I know. He can change plans on a dime, even big life plans, and never miss a beat. I am still trying to roll with the small things like a last minute change in dinner plans or big things like moving to a new state. But Stu has this down; he does this with grace and a smile.
- Be present. The boy has no concept of time. Really, he doesn’t. But the cool thing is that wherever he is, he is there. Most of us may be physically present but our mind is running a hundred miles an hour somewhere else. Not Stuart. If he is with you, he is with you. No matter where you are or what you are doing, be there.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. Because Stuart rolls with life he also sees the best in people. When disappointments come, and they will, he assumes people have a good reason for the letdown. He hears beyond the words coming out of someone’s mouth, sees beyond actions, and believes the best. Whether you are right or wrong, give others the benefit of the doubt. Chances are they have more going on in their life than you will ever know.
- Work hard. I wrote a post some time ago called “The Two-Miler” which gives a little more insight to this. He works hard in all he does. He goes above and beyond what is required. And that is something we are challenged to do: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for man.” (Colossians 3:23)
- Laugh often. Laughing is a regular part of Stuart’s day. Even things that I find no humor in, he is falling off the couch with laughter. Literally. He has this contagious laugh that even if it’s not actually funny, you cannot help but at least smile. He is lighthearted, never taking the little things too seriously. He reminds me to lighten up! Chances are, most of your frustrations are not worth getting worked up about (Don’t worry. I am taking to heart what I’m writing.). Laugh every day. A joyful heart is good medicine. That’s in the Bible. 🙂
- Get excited about football. The first football game that Stuart ever watched with my dad and me was a Cowboys game. Stuart will cheer for any team, ANY team, other than the Cowboys. This has been a point of contention, but I’m closer to giving up hope (I can only say that because it is not football season. Check with me again in the fall.). He will turn on the TV in the middle of a game and start cheering as if his favorite team is on. He won’t even know who is playing! He just loves to watch football. Learn to love football. Kelli and Carolyne, this one’s for y’all.
- Don’t look back. When a decision is made, that’s it. If you have taken time to simmer on it and pray about the decision, go with it. Don’t look back. This one is still hard for me. I second guess decisions a lot. Stuart reminds me there is no point in this. He is right, and he lives this. Forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. Press on.
- Love is a choice. Back to the movies for a moment. I want love to be about feelings, excitement, walks on the beach, weekend getaways, breakfast in bed, notes, blah, blah, blah. While these things absolutely have a place, the overwhelming type of love in marriage and life in general is agape love. It’s unconditional. I have done some pretty stupid things. I have made some decisions I would change (But I refer you to number 7 and am reminded to press on). Through Stuart’s unconditional love there is healing. There is hope. There is a commitment that no matter what comes we will stayed married until one of us goes to be with Jesus. And that is all because love is a choice.
- Be comfortable in your own skin. Confidence is not something Stuart lacks. This is not an arrogant confidence. It is one that comes from being relaxed and comfortable with who he is. God has made us each unique. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, having different talents and passions. We also have flaws because we are human. And that is okay. We shouldn’t give too much credit to what other people say about us, whether it is positive or negative. There is something relaxing about being around Stuart. There is no striving. He is who he is no matter what. Make peace with who God has created you to be.
- Appreciate the differences. I actually only had 9 points I wanted to talk about. But 10 is a round number, and I like it better than 9. Stuart would never add an extra point just to make an even 10 points. This reminded me that we have many differences. I used to think this was a negative aspect. While being very different has brought a unique set of challenges, we have also grown to appreciate what each of us bring to the marriage. I now see the way we compliment each other and how we balance to each other. You may be in a relationship that you and your significant other are on opposite ends of the spectrum. It may take time to discover how, but you can learn to appreciate these differences, seeing how they are actually blessings in disguise.
Those of you who know me can verify that I really struggle with many of these points. Incase you forgot since reading the previous paragraph, refer to number 10: we are different. Some of these practices that come more naturally to Stuart do not come easily to me. But I am working on it. Each day he encourages me to be better and to grow.
For you married people, I pray that God will open your eyes to see how He is working in your marriage. Chances are that no matter how close to or how distant from you feel with your spouse, you can learn something from him or her. And for you single guys and gals, keep becoming godly men and women. No matter what our status in life is, people are watching. Let’s keep striving for Christ and growing in our your faith.
So there they are, a few lessons I’ve learned after being married to Stuart Joy. Oh, how I love that boy. 🙂