Characters are the backbone of what makes a story a story. The more developed and interesting the characters are, the more compelling the story.
As we drew closer to our 25 year mark of two becoming one, I kept being drawn to the need to wrap some words around my husband. It’s easy to become so close to a spouse that you forget who that person is as an individual. Routine and familiarity create a fog of predictability that cause you to take them for granted.
So, just like back in school, I sat down to flesh out a character description of the leading man in my life. I tried to be objective and focus on facts. I tried to examine WHO he is, not necessarily WHAT he does which is how too often we tend to define a character.
So here is a brief character description of my husband Todd. I say brief because once I got going, I could’ve easily written for days.
Tall, dark and handsome. An abundance of hair that roughly ten years ago began graying Richard Gere-ish No complaints from me.
He is the hardest worker I know. Common sense oozes out of his pores. He is the practical, logical voice in any conversation. At times this can be maddening.
Todd is the kind of guy that doesn’t shy away from hard conversations. He is not afraid of conflict or confrontation. In his direct and focused way, he can articulate things in a way that cuts to the heart of a matter, all without raising his voice or getting overly emotional. Again, with the madness.
Typically he is focused solely on the thing he is focusing on. This means multi-tasking is foolish in his mind. This guy can flat-out run a meeting. He’s a problem solver, quick and efficient with as few words as possible. But life isn’t usually solved this way, so he also frequently is awake at night wrestling issues alongside God.
One thing he will not put up with is drama, which means raising two daughters has had it’s trying moments. Thank goodness his wife is drama-free. Snort…
I love it when he laughs. When he starts to laugh hard, most times he can’t stop and then he’s crying and you just wish it would go on forever. One of his favorite actors is Jim Carrey, if that tells you anything. There are stories to tell another day of the fun he had playing a character called Bubba Earl. Our Kansas friends, who never met Bubba, would be surprised to know that in another life, he could have easily been Dick Van Dyke.
My husband views the world primarily in black and white. He loves God. He loves his wife. He loves his kids. That has never come into question. Ever.
When he gives his word about something, you can almost set your clock as to when it will get done. Therefore things like being on time and following through on commitments are non-negotiable in his book.
His faith in God’s willingness to pour out grace and mercy to those who ask has caused him for years to seek just that every morning before going out to “slay the dragon” for his family. He has learned not to lean on his own understanding and instead be led by the Spirit of God.
The thing that endears me most is that he’s the guy who hasn’t been afraid to fail. After witnessing a few failures, I love him even more. I’ve seen him fall and get back up more times than I can count. Integrity has been a quality hard won and is a gift today to all who know him.
He is directionally challenged and finds drive through ordering completely overwhelming. But he is not one bit afraid to ask questions, seeking relationships with strangers who quickly become friends.
When I step back to really gaze into the character of this man, I swoon. No kidding. Being content within a marriage is a choice to love a person for who they are, not necessarily how they make you feel on any given day. To look deep into the personhood of this man to whom I’ve committed my life has been a sweet exercise and one I need to do much more frequently in the years ahead.
I admit that I had to keep going back to edit out all the ways these traits made me feel or how they were different from mine. The crazy thing is that I kept wanting this to be about me. Imagine that.
Way too often than I like to admit, I spend my time zeroed in on our differences, the stark very real differences. It makes me sad and gets my head out of sorts. The clashing of mindsets and strong wills going at times in opposite directions.
The other day he looked me in the eye and said, “Kel, it’s OK that we are different.” Well…yes…thank you for always reminding me of the obvious.
He is my rock, my teammate, my lover and friend. Happy, Happy, Happy.