I remember when I used to think 40 was old.
Then Wally turned 40 and it didn’t seem THAT old. Now, it’s nearly 3 years in my past and 40 doesn’t seem old at all anymore.
Today is the day that 50 no longer seems THAT old. Yep, today Wally is 50 years old, half a century, five decades . . .
He threatened me not to plan anything special for his birthday and I promised him I wouldn’t. That would be my gift to him, not making a big deal out of his big day. If you know him at all, then you know that is the perfect gift for him.
Wally has never wanted a celebration for his birthday. He would be happiest if we just ignored it and just kept swimming through life. He doesn’t want the recognition. He doesn’t need the validation. He likes the appreciation, but receives it best in small, sincere portions.
For years I have told him that he is important to us and definitely worth the hoopla of cake, candles and gifts. For years, he has humored me and played along, but he has only longed for the hubbub of the day to end and for the normalcy of March 4 to commence.
I normally try to find a birthday card and had pretty good luck on Valentine’s, but this year I didn’t even try. (Especially after my fruitless card search on our anniversary!) Honestly, I hope that these words here, might try to convey what I am thinking and feeling on this major milestone birthday.
Our marriage is special. Our relationship is unique. My husband truly is one-of-a-kind. God uses Wally to make it so. He designed me for him and him for me. He is the God of details and in His sovereignty, leaves nothing to chance or happy coincidence.
So often, I try to explain this to Wally, how I feel about him and how blessed I am to call him my husband. I want to add more descriptive words calling him my best friend and telling him that he is my favorite person to spend time with. I tell him how I trust his counsel and respect his Biblical knowledge. My feelings for him have only deepened over time and my appreciation of his hands-on approach to parenting has only grown. He truly shares the household responsibilities with me and we both often look at the other, commenting on how we are glad we are in this thing together.
Lately, as I have contemplated Wally’s fulfillment of the role of husband, I realize that I don’t need him to be my best friend, or my teammate. Somehow, somewhere the role of husband and dad has been cheapened in our culture and society. Whether it is the “dumb dad” stereotype in sitcoms or the emasculated, follow-the-strong-woman part many men succumb to in the relationship – there seems to be a disconnect from what a husband is Biblically supposed to be from what a husband has become.
Wally may have been a little older when we married. He has not yet been married even half of his life, but in his pursuit of Jesus, he epitomizes what I understand a Biblical husband and father to be. He loves me as Christ does. He gives up his wants and desires to see mine fulfilled. He speaks truth to my heart. He apologizes to our daughters without condition. He serves us with no task being beneath his masculinity.
The name “husband” should mean all of these things. The name and role should not be cheapened by our contemporary culture that is challenging and changing so very much. When a Biblical worldview is skewed, then everything is up for grabs. The definition of marriage is now negotiable in certain circles and some people believe their gender can be whatever they want to identify it as. While these topics have become hot button issues in denominations and politics, the degradation of the role of husband has been much more subtle.
I appreciate the strong, quiet way Wally loves mercy, seeks justice and walks humbly with his God. He pushes back against the stereotypes in how he fulfills his manly role as a husband. Wally may always be in the minority in his generation, he may not realize how rare his faith walk truly is, and he may never realize the God-given value he invests in others by what he models.
Jokingly, I have said our daughters need to marry men that cook and iron like their daddy. But, all joking aside, Wally has set the bar incredibly high. We do pray that if it be God’s will for the girls to marry, that they would marry men who understand and hold to the Biblical definition or who a husband is and what a husband does.
Wally doesn’t see what the big deal is all about. He assumes that he is just doing what all “Christian” husbands do. Just like his birthday, he doesn’t want to be fussed over or made much of. It isn’t mock humility. It is simply who Wally is.
I get it. He is a big deal. I am thankful for his birthday today and I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate who he is and the man God is making him to be. I am blessed to be on this journey with this remarkable man. I am beyond blessed to call James Wallace Vinson, my husband.
HBD Wally. I love you so.
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