Today is Valentines Day. Not that Shauna and I dignify the commercialism of this day by falling prey to all the heart-shaped (and expensive!) madness. Oh no. I gave her (and my daughter) flowers a week and a half ago. But it’s still a good time of year to reflect on love, romance, and marriage. In particular, I want to comment on some of the things Shauna has taught me over the years.

1. Hospitality. My mom was good at this too, but you don’t tend to pick up stuff when you’re living at home with your parents. Shauna is a spectacular cook. She has a “need to feed” as she puts it, to make sure no one ever leaves hungry. Ever. Go big or go home. That kind of thing. I think without her, my home would be more of a sanctuary than a community hub. Most days, I love the hub. The rest of the time, I can deal with it.
2. What true beauty is. I loved her when we got married, I loved her when she put on sixty more pounds, and I loved her when she lost ninety more and kept them off. She was beautiful at her biggest, and she’s beautiful now. She always will be. Because she is beautiful. Not just her body, her shape, her face, her eyes, her neck… not just her voice, her laugh, her hair, her smile… not just her heart and soul, even. HER. SHE IS.
3. That I can be a selfish jerk. She’s never said that. She’s never had to. Marriage has a way, if you’re paying attention, of bringing out the worst in people. But, as someone has said, after forty years, only the best is left! But seriously, there’s nothing like living next to a captivating, fragile beauty to highlight your boneheadedness.
4. Grace. Before we got married, I confessed a waning porn addiction to her so she would know what she was getting into. I was getting better, but I wasn’t outta the woods yet. Her grace and patience were astounding. They still are. Now its not porn, it’s grumpiness, stubbornness, selfishness. Her grace is real!
5. What generosity is. She loves to give, and it’s contagious. Now, thank God, I love to give too. And I love her even more for passing that on.
6. That being a mom is the most important job in the whole world. Watching her with our kids makes me wonder how other moms could ever find motherhood less than fulfilling. Of course, she thinks she’s a lousy mother. I disagree, but while I wish she didn’t feel that way, I think maybe it’s that drive to always be better that makes her so darn good.

Thank you, Father of lights, for your amazing gift in Shauna. I love her, I love you, I love life.