Sacramental Perks

Having been married for, like, five whole minutes, (156 days, to be totally precise) I feel I am now entitled to express my expert opinion and let you know that I think marriage is really great. Really, really.

There are just so many perks and cool features.
One cool feature, for instance, would be the app that used to count down for our wedding day and has now been reliably counting up since we got married. That’s how I know I’ve enjoyed 156 days of marital bliss. (Wait, did you actually think I counted? Dude, pregnant over here. As if.)
An example of the many perks would be the sacramental graces that get “floooooowin’ down to you and meeeee.” Personally I think my husband got a lot of very interesting ones. Most notably: the Grace of Inexhaustible Good Humor and the Grace of Never-Ending Gentle Patience.
They’re not listed in the Bible or anything but I really think that those are A Thing. 
I mean, he has always had a fantastic sense of humor and been incredibly patient with me, but seriously, you should see this guy in action since his little wifey went all crazy-pregnant-lady a few months ago. 
I shall elaborate for you: last night, it was getting late, and decisions had to be made, so decisions started getting made.
1. I decided Peanut and I needed to go to sleep.
2. Alex decided he wasn’t ready to go to sleep, and was going to watch a movie.
3. I decided I couldn’t go to sleep if he wasn’t in the same room as me. Peanut agreed with this conclusion.
4. We decided he would watch his movie on the laptop with headphones next to me while I went to sleep. Peanut was again satisfied with this conclusion.
(In case you’re wondering who translates for Peanut, that would be me. Definitely me.)
All these things being agreed upon, we started getting settled. Per usual, he took way less time than I did. After all, Peanut and I have a lot of pillows to arrange. Things like that take time. After he had gotten comfortable, he asked with no small amount of amusement: 
“Are you building your pillow palace?”
Me, haughtily: “I’m just arranging them.”
Alex, grinning: “Okay.”
Alex turns back to his movie but is interrupted two seconds later by:
Me, shrill with anxiety: “You have That One Pillow!”
Alex, alarmed: “What pillow?!?”
Me, getting hysterical: “That One Pillow!! I have to have That One Pillow! The extra-firm pillow with the special pillowcase on it that your mom gave me! I NEED THAT ONE.”
Alex, instantly: “I am SO sorry, I didn’t know, here you go! Here’s your pillow, honey.”
Me, starting to feel bad but still super serious about That One Pillow: “Here, you can have this pillow. And this pillow. Just not That Pillow. I need That One.”
Alex, totally calm and gentle, taking the other pillows: “Okay. Thank you, honey. Those are great.”
Alex turns back to his movie but is interrupted two minutes later by:
Me, poking his shoulder.
Alex removes his headphones, and looks at me with concern.
“What’s wrong?”
Me, aware that this is a ridiculous reason to interrupt a movie but somehow unable to stop myself from being consumed with concern over it: “Uhm, is it okay with you if I eat the dinner leftovers for breakfast, or did you want to have some tomorrow?”

Now, that is a dumb question. But I was convinced I had a good reason. It has happened in the past that he has asked about leftovers, which it turned out that I had already eaten for breakfast. He’s always super kind about it, and I always feel bad anyway. “I should have asked, I should have asked,” so this time, I thought, I would ask. If he wanted them OF COURSE I would not eat them first thing in the morning like the ravenous pregnant woman I wake up being.

Once I had poked his shoulder though, I thought, “Oh, shoot – this is so dumb. I hate being interrupted, and here I am interrupting him to ask about dumb leftovers…”

All kinds of things could have happened at this moment. The poor man’s pillow had been snatched, his movie kept getting interrupted for silly reasons…he could have rolled his eyes or something, you know? Something sad could have happened.

He just smiled at me. This really great smile like there was nothing more perfect I could have done in that moment, or like he’d never imagined anything more wonderful than his crazy wife poking his shoulder during a movie to ask about leftovers.

“No, sweetheart. You can have them. Thank you for checking.”

And suddenly, everything was okay. I smiled back, and fell right to sleep.

That’s the amazing thing about my husband.

Not that he has an inexhaustible good humor and never-ending patience, which he does, and which are also amazing things, but that my husband helps me feel like I could actually be the kind of wife I really want to be. Not just the kind that gets hysterical over pillows and can’t sleep because of leftovers or has a little anxiety attack over poking someone’s shoulder or gets crushed by someone rolling their eyes when, really, my execution is pretty bad and I deserve an eye-roll but I did mean well…Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware I am that kind of wife. But he doesn’t just see me that way. He sees me as the kind of wife who, after all, does mean well. The kind of wife who wants to consider her husband first. The kind of wife who is trying. 

I am positive that’s a sacramental grace because I’m positive that’s how God sees us. He doesn’t just see our little anxiety attacks and moments where we spazz out and moments where our execution is really, really pretty bad. He sees our efforts, and in seeing them, helps us be more next time. Marriage keeps teaching me that. It’s definitely a perk of this wonderful sacrament.

As I said before, there’s a lot of those perks: this morning I woke up right before the sun was rising. I was sitting in our bed when it rose, in my pillow palace with my sweet warm husband in our room surrounded by all the beautiful sacred art our friends and family have given us, with my hot honey tea and everything glowing in this incredible orange-gold light. I thought about that sweet smile this precious man had given me the night before and all I could think was, “This is beautiful, Lord. This is really, really beautiful.”

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