Tuesday, June 02, 2009

As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women. Song 2:2

“Out on the road that lies before me now
There are some turns where I will spin
I only hope that you can hold me now
‘Till I can gain control again…”
Rodney Crowell

We are opposites in almost every dimension. Thus, we need each other. Badly. Blessedly. Gloriously

I love a crowd. “Me & my 200 buddies are gonna….” She prefers sitting on the couch with me or sitting over dinner & dessert with a couple of friends.

I love new things. OK, to the ADD level, I love new things. She finds joy in the same things.

I am wired toward open-ended, inconclusive dreams. She is wired toward completion. Practicality. Usefulness.

I love to be speaking in front of the crowd, and have zero administrative skills. She greatly prefers to be behind the scenes taking care of the details that make the big stuff happen.

I like being served. She prefers to serve.

My #1 love language is her #5. Her #1 is my #5.

My Kiersey temperament is ENTP. Hers is ISFJ. (note the total non-overlap of any of the letters…)

My spiritual gift is designed to be used in public & in front of people. Hers is for behind the scenes. If you’re wondering, the Church needs more people like her than like me. Far more…

She is cautious & thinks long & well before acting. I live all-too-frequently in the realm of “ready…FIRE!...aim..."

I'm pretty much a selfish oaf, left to my own devices. She is most decidedly not.
This opposite-ness is, I believe, a great strength in our marriage. Challenging, to be sure, but a great strength. At the risk of demeaning where I’m trying to go here, Rocky said it best: “we got gaps..She’s got gaps, I got gaps…and we fill in each other’s gaps.”

She wakes up in the morning thinking, “how can I help Mike, James, Anne, & my boss succeed?” What a treasure!

25 years ago today, she put this ring on my finger. I’d love to tell you that we never had any struggles or challenges. But any time you put two imperfect people in very close proximity, there will be…not might be, WILL BE challenges. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Once we fully realized the magnitude of the commitment we had made—which realization come gloriously early in our marriage, thankfully!—we got to work building a marriage. (for more on the magnitude of that commitment, see Genesis 2--the marriage relationship was created before the church, before government, and even before sin entered the world! Marriage is God's idea & His design.)

The following is NOT a clichéd, hackneyed statement: I am so much more in love with Lisa today than 25 years ago that it hardly bears comparison! Really, I am.

Years back, our friends Curt & Noel Hale sang a song that had this line: “Today, I’m marrying my best friend.” I did that. It was true on June 2, 1984, and it is so much more true on June 2, 2009. My wife is my best friend. My greatest encourager. My wisest sounding board. My partner. My co-laborer, to use Paul's phrase.

I cannot even imagine my life these past 25 years without her. There is no telling what a tragic folly I would have become. Scripture quotes God saying “It is not good for a man to be alone…” In my case, I should pencil in “especially you, Madaris!”

And the amazing thing is, in 1984, I wasn’t much of a catch. (well, except for my dashing, studly good looks, of course…*smile*) I’m not that much of a catch now, but I really wasn’t one then. (I know...be afraid of me back then...) And yet, here we are, celebrating 25 years.

I am hopelessly, helplessly, wonderfully, gloriously in love with Lisa Mixon Madaris. Whatever I have become professionally & personally is largely because of her. My speaking opportunities & teaching opportunities for the Kingdom? Because of her. Pretty much any service I have ever done for the Lord…because of her. Ph.D. in Financial Economics? Because of her. Dad with a slight clue? You got it. Church deacon & Sunday School teacher & ordained minister? Absolutely because of her. My hopes for the future? Yep. Because of her.

She has literally saved my life. She is the one who said 3.5 years ago, “I really wish you’d ask Brett {Robbins…my Dr.} to take a look at that place on your back…” Turns out, it was a rather large amelanotic melanoma. One Dr. said “these are usually diagnosed in an autopsy.” She has made numerous trips to Houston & M.D. Anderson at my side. In fact, she has had to drive for several those, since I was on the “physically unable to perform” list after a surgery or a treatment. She has swabbed my face at night during two cycles of high-dose IL-2 treatment during which my systems were not functioning. She has laid there in the room not sleeping much, listening to the beeps & hisses of the machinery that monitored me & kept me alive. She has spent two long, tense, lonely mornings in the surgery waiting room waiting to hear from Dr. Mehran. "In sickness and in health"...she's had plenty of the "in sickness" part of that vow.
And yet, her next complaint will be her first.

And her parenting…oh my! No child ever had a better mother. Just ask my two; they’ll tell you. Ask me: I'll tell you! She put her professional life on hold for a bunch of years to take on THE hardest job there is: full-time, stay-at-home Mom. And she did so with great joy. (aside: DO NOT EVER ask a young mother the foolish, idiotic question “do you work?” I’ll answer for all mothers everywhere: “YES, (you clueless moron)!! Very hard! But not outside the home…”)

This Fall, our nest will empty. Neither of us is thrilled about this, for we dearly love our children and treasure time spent with them. But she helps me be thrilled for our children as they begin to find their wings and their life calling. And, rest assured, we are excited about sitting around, reading, drinking coffee, going on the little side trips she’s been wanting to do, traveling, ministering, etc.

I find it VERY sad that so very few of my children’s friends come from intact homes with Mom & Dad. Illness & death happen, of course. That’s tragic. And sometimes--infrequently, but sometimes--very bad marriage mistakes are made on the front end, such that divorce becomes the best alternative. But what just chaps me off are the many who have tossed marriage vows aside for the sake of convenience of “finding myself” or “well, she’s just not as cute” or “we’ve drifted apart” or whatever. In short, I find laziness a very weak excuse.

In all seriousness, I offer this: If a relationally-challenged, arrested-adolescent hammerhead like myself can marry and stay married, you can too! I mean that most sincerely!

So, today, we celebrate our 25th anniversary. I'm told it's the silver anniversary. Here at 55 Clipper Road, it's the...well, coffee cup & flowers anniversary. Our money for buying things like silvery is fully invested in pharmacy school tuition and freshman dorm expense this year.

The celebration? Lisa's celebrating by battling our totally-incompetent driver's license office & then going to work. I'm celebrating by weedeating the yard, going to work, and then tonight--the piece de resistance--by teaching my first class meeting of Principles of Microeconomics @ WCU. (Note: we are gearing up for a beach escape in a couple of weeks.)

25 years of her holding me in the turns where I spun until I could gain control again...And being my very best friend on the planet.

Can't wait to see what the next 25 hold!

I love you, Lisa! Thanks for loving me!


Stephanie said...

beautiful, mike... as always! again, happy anniversary! i pray many, many more come your way. it thrills my soul to see others treasure their mates. always has, but more so now than ever before. i, like you, get a little frustrated over the way people treat the marriage covenant...again, i always have, but now more than ever. you two are so precious and i am blessed b/c in 1992 God saw fit for the two of you to BEGIN ministering to me. 11th grade Sunday school...the fun began and still continues! :)
much love here,

BrendaStrider said...
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