To my husband on his 34th birthday, I don’t love how you treat me.

I love birthdays. I love that birthdays celebrate a person as an individual, simply because of who they are and the fact that they exist. I believe birthdays are a celebration of humanity. The older you get, the ‘humanity’ it may be reminding you of is the fact that life is indeed finite. If you are young, they signify exciting milestones. Every other holiday or event that celebrates people always exist within the context of something ‘earned’. Anniversaries don’t really celebrate each individual, but rather they celebrate the couple withstanding the test of time. Graduations celebrate years of studying and the passing of final exams. Retirement celebrates completing decades of working hard. My husband is a man that deserves his own holiday. Not for the husband that he is to me, or the son that he is to his parents, or the friend that he is to those around him. Although, he could probably earn a medal of honor in all of those categories. I am not going to brag about how he treats me or how he makes me feel, because frankly, that is not why I love him (we can save that for an anniversary post 😉 ).  Today, on his birthday, I want to celebrate the incredible person that he is.

In the grand scheme of life, my husband and I have not been together very long BUT I knew what I was signing up for when I walked down that aisle. How did I know? Because I know the man I married. Let me explain something about my husband, he is without a doubt the most amazing person I have ever had the honor of knowing. I first met him on a trip to Europe six years ago. Yes, we definitely had some chemistry, which originally drew me to him, but honestly, I have felt that chemistry with others in the past. What was different about him? We talked and talked and talked, basically for 10 days straight. Just talked. No hugging. No kissing. No hand-holding. The more we talked, the more I learned about him. It didn’t take long for me to understand that the character of this man was unmatched by any person I had met thus far in my life. It wasn’t overtly obvious.  He didn’t actually say things like, “Look how amazing I was when I did a, b, c, and d.” Regardless, I knew then and there that I just met an incredible human being and he had raised the standards for any other person I would come in contact with in the future. The first night I came home, I told my mom immediately, “I don’t know if anything will ever come of it, but I just met my most favorite person I have ever met.” This is still true. (Yes, I said it just like that, grammatical errors and all).

Why do I love him?

It is not for how treats me, or how he makes me feel. I believe there are plenty of stand-up men and husbands that would treat me well. I also know that fuzzy feelings fade and passion can fizzle. The love that I feel for him now, I don’t believe is a kind of love that I would have recognized when we first met. I also know that the love I will feel in 10 years, is not something I would recognize today. How he treats me is an extension of how he lives his life; wholly, completely, selflessly. He doesn’t talk about what it means to be a man of God. He lives it. Day in. Day out. He doesn’t have to write a blog to reach people, in fact, he doesn’t have to say anything. He speaks through his actions, through what he doesn’t say, and how he doesn’t say it. He honestly, truly, loves everyone without judgment, without resentment, and with an endless unconditional forgiveness. He has touched countless lives with no need for recognition (he actually refuses it). When we first got married, I started to ‘uncover’ just how incredible this man was. I still uncover anecdotal stories from family members and friends about various instances in which he has helped them in their time of need. It has taken me 5 years of dating and 1.5 years of marriage, and I still uncover stories about one selfless act or another (he doesn’t tell me about any of them-or anyone for that matter). These stories don’t shock me anymore. Now, when someone comes up to me and says, “Do you know what your husband did??” I just respond, “I do.”

He has taught me what it means to live a Christ-centered life.   If you have met him, you have been in the presence of a truly incredible human.  Likely, if you know him, you already know that.  As his wife, I can testify that he is the same man when no one is looking as he is when in front of the world.  Actually, if it is even possible, he is even more selfless when no one is looking. There are, I would guess, hundreds of people out there who have no idea it is my husband who has helped them and he prefers it that way.  Look up the word beneficence and that is my husband.  Honestly, it’s incredible.  He has yet to claim any blessing we have received in this life as ‘ours’ but rather, his first response, without hesitation, ‘who can we give this to?’ He does everything for everyone and expects absolutely nothing.  I think he would give some saints a run for their money.  He challenges me to hold myself to higher standards, simply because he holds himself to the highest.  He can always do more, he can always give more, he can always be kinder. He can be a better husband, a better friend, a better son, a better co-worker, a better boss.  He never settles for what would be acceptable by society’s standards, but rather he holds himself to Christ’s standards and will never settle for less than.

So, to my husband on your 34th birthday,

You have taught me a whole new meaning of what it means to put others above myself. Not because you have put me above yourself, but because you have put everyone else there. You have taught me humility in a way that I never knew existed. You are the embodiment of beneficence and selflessness and have redefined what it means to give with a servant’s heart. The world has been blessed by your 34 years on this earth and has been made a better place because you are in it. Today, on your birthday, I get to celebrate you for the person you are. The man that I love. There is no other holiday in which I can celebrate your ‘accomplishments’ because you would never allow any recognition. You hate attention, and chances are, I will be scolded for this post.  You have no idea how rare your humble and generous spirit is. It is people like you that truly will the change the world and it won’t be through preaching or debating. It will be through living what we have been called to do.  I have no doubt that you were put on this earth for something greater than just being my husband and I am so grateful I get to be a witness to it.  I am absolutely blessed just to know you, and in awe of the fact that you chose me to stand by your side.  I have no doubt that when we make it home, you will have a crown waiting, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I love you and happy birthday.

-That chick you gave the ring to. 😉