Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Welcome encouragement  

I have a friend at church named Kenny. Kenny is my age, as is his wife Lori. Lori leads the choir that I sing in, a choir that sang in front of the church congregation for the first time this past Sunday. After the church service I talked to Kenny for a bit, and he told me that the choir sounded wonderful. I told him Lori had been doing an excellent job leading us. His eyes brightened, his smile widened, and he took on a surpassingly joyful demeanor and said, "Curt, words can't express how blessed I am to be married to such an incredible woman." He went on to describe in detail how much he loves her, how she inspires him, how she completes him, and how thankful he is that God allowed him to meet and marry her.

We went on to discuss his impending fatherhood (they're expecting their child's birth in August). He told me of his thrill at seeing the baby's heart beat in the ultrasound. He told me about his excitement and anticipation of being a father. Mostly, though, he explained to me what an incredible mother Lori was going to be. Interspersed throughout it all, I was able to tell Kenny what an amazing wife I had as well. He drank it all in, seeing that we both shared a fathomless appreciation for our wives that is too uncommon in our society.

I have praised my wife to other men before. On those occasions I usually receive polite nods and/or snide remarks in response. I know that most people don't want to hear about how much I love her, but sometimes I just can't keep it in. Kenny, on the other hand, understood and shared in my joy. Hearing him speak so adoringly of his beloved encouraged me, as did his receptiveness to my words. Before Sunday, I hadn't had any sort of deep conversation with Kenny. But now I know that he's a kindred spirit when it comes to marriage, and I know that I can go to him when I want to share my joy with someone who'll understand.

I know men who love their wives with all their hearts. I know men who treasure their marriages. But I don't believe I've ever had a conversation like the one I had with Kenny on Sunday.

This is the point I was working toward yesterday before I got sidetracked. My marriage is succeeding, and I love my wife more than I could ever describe. I have lived in that condition for almost six years without any such overt and joyful encouragement from other men as what I received from Kenny. But his words truly refreshed me. That, I think, is one way that men definitely should encourage each other. We happy husbands ought to share our joy with one another and so build each other up and sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron.