My husband Jay spent almost every summer of his growing-up years in an 18 wheeler with his dad and he learned to drive a "big truck" before he ever learned to drive a car. As he is fond of saying, he has "more miles in reverse than most people have in drive." It's amazing to watch him back a 48 foot trailer into a narrow loading dock without damaging the truck, the trailer, or the dock.
We met when I started attending church after I relocated to Louisiana for a job. He was handsome enough, tall and well muscled with black hair, chocolate brown eyes and long black eyelashes that I would die for, but he was quiet and...somewhat awkward with words. I, on the other hand, love words. I love reading and writing, studying the English language, dissecting sentences and finding the perfect phrase.
We were introduced by the pastor and a few church ladies who liked to meddle, but after hearing his first two sentences I made a snap judgment. He was one of those people who hadn't "bothered to learn" proper use of the English language. I smiled insincerely, murmured the correct responses to his inquiries about my job (teaching horseback riding to small children and always a conversation starter) and waited until I'd turned and walked away to roll my eyes.
After a few months of attending church though, I became aware that he came up on Saturdays to help clean, cut grass, and do whatever handy-man work was needed. He visited the elderly who couldn't always make it to church and offered them rides when it rained, and he even volunteered to stay overnight at the church so that Katrina evacuees could have a place to sleep. In addition to that, he reached out to me with laughter and joy when my life was particularly dark and trying. He made me smile but I still wasn't sure he was the one. After all, I'd been expecting a pastor, a teacher, or a biblical scholar to fit that spot in my life. Finally, God stepped in and the soul I saw in His mirror had some character issues I'd never recognized before. Ugly things, like pride and arrogance. I faced up to the nasty realization that I was an educated snob. The worth of a man does not lay in higher education and an inclusive knowledge of the English language, but in the kindness and sincerity of his heart.
After almost six years of building a life and business together, I still find myself marveling at my husband's practicality and common sense, his kindness and understanding, and a whole host of skills that I benefit from but will never master myself, like knowing the interstate by mile markers, reading a map in the blink of an eye, maintaining a 6 car distance while driving, and squeezing more miles per gallon into a trip than I ever knew was possible. He still appreciates my mastery of the English language and has no compunction about using me as his spell check and dictionary. As we celebrate six years of marriage this Sunday, I humbly ask that God blesses us with a lifetime of on and off-road adventures together, safely.