Marriage links for the week

Richard, a Methodist minister in Wales and author of the blog Connexions,
has a post called Celebrating
Marriage
, so I have to link it. Though the post is short, it links to Real
Live Preacher’s excellent post Marriage
is Good Work To Do
, which says (among other things):

The busier you are, the more intentional you must be about your marriage.
In the end, the children will leave, jobs will come and go, and even something
as precious to me as writing may only be here for a season. Jeanene and I
hope to be together until the end. And when the end comes, I do not want
to regret
our journey together, knowing that I shortchanged it because I was too busy
doing “important” things.

According to Katy at fallible.com, a husband who knows just
what to say
is
one of the best things in the world.

Ben of Marriages Restored chimes
in
on the discussion of my
post
on monogamy.

Jane Missionary ponders the meaning
of submission
in the context of marriage
and culture.

King of Fools tells why he received The
Look™
from his wife, and deservedly
so. I myself have received The Look more times than I care to count, and deservedly
so.

Doug McHone of CoffeeSwirls writes about guarding
your heart
to preserve love
for your spouse and the health of your marriage.

I of course guard my heart around women who are not my wife, but I can’t help
being flattered when Miss
O’Hara says
(toward the end of the post), "I have to say that Mrs. Happy
is one of the luckiest women on earth. *sigh* They don’t make too many like
that anymore."

His and Hers: Animation adoration

His and Hers is a weekly discussion of a question or topic relating
to marriage. On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the week’s
topic. I invite others to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in
celebrating marriage. This week’s question is:

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Mrs. Happy’s response

Bugs
Bunny
. I kind of relate to him because he’s laid back, he doesn’t worry
about things, he has clever ways of dealing with hard times, and he likes to
kiss guys who wear plaid.

Curt’s response

Brendon Small from
the show Home Movies. He’s an 8-year-old kid who has a lot of insecurities
and a couple of good friends. He deals with his anxiety by making short movies
and in doing so provides some great comic therapy for everyone who watches
the show.

Finally

The advertisements in my comments windows are growing increasingly inappropriate. L3sbians
Against Bu$h
and Mus1ims 4 Nad3r are really annoying me, as are
the other disturbing appeals to the darker side of human nature. So I upgraded my comments
account from the basic free service to premium membership, which should eliminate
the ads, allow me to customize the window’s appearance, and restore comments
older than four months. I’ve been trying to activate all that, but the experience
is reminding me of hitting a cockroach with a fly swatter. It just hasn’t
worked. Apparently, it takes 24 hours or so for all the cool features to
kick in. Now my blogging time has expired and I have nothing to show for
it. Hopefully, though, by this time tomorrow, there will be a noticeable
change.

Prayer for marriages

This post is part of the 40 Days of Prayer leading up to the U.S. presidential
election, sponsored by Spare Change.


Heavenly Father,

We thank you for recognizing in your wisdom that it is not good for man to
be alone. We thank you for giving life to the first couple and providing us
a model for marriage. We thank you that when that couple failed and passed
on the legacy of sin to all humanity, you provided us another model in Jesus’
relationship with the church. We ask now for a revival of passion for joyful
marriage in this country. We ask that men and women of influence would publicly
encourage and demonstrate the blessings of the lifelong commitment and fidelity.
We ask
that you pour out your peace and strength for our president and his wife as
they remain devoted to one another in the withering glare of partisan politics
and
vocal
criticism
as they advocate for a return to true marriage.

Help us all to deal with our spouses in absolute love and respect, serving
each other even when it means great sacrifice. Give us opportunities to share
the joy of marriage with others, encouraging our peers and instructing young
men and women in the reality of how a husband and wife should love each other.
Lay bare all the lies told in popular entertainment about the glamour
of loveless romance and sex. Reveal to the entire country your perfect plan
for marriage and renew every couple’s love.

Amen

It’s sad ‘cuz it’s true

There is a television commercial showing in New York right now (and perhaps
all over
the
United
States)
that breaks my heart and infuriates me every time I see it. It promotes a wireless
telephone service (I
think Verizon wireless) and its IN program
that allows customers to talk to other customers of the company for as long
as they
want without incurring any charges against their allotted minutes.
I couldn’t find a video or a script for the ad online, so this script is from
my memory:

Two teenage sisters stand in the living room of their house. Their mother
and father enter. The father is a big, fleshy, goofy-looking guy with curly
blond hair and a clueless enthusiasm. He carries two brand-new cellular phones.
The mother is disproportionately attractive, and the teenage girls are basic
carbon
copies
of their mother—thin,
shapely,
symmetrical, and well dressed.

Father: Great news, girls! We got everyone new cell phones, so
now we can keep in touch all the time no matter where we are!

There is an uncomfortable silence as the girls take the phones and grimace
at the thought of speaking to their father for any reason other than to ask
for
money. Mother
tries desperately to alleviate their chagrin.

Mother: And it has IN, so you can talk to your friends
as much as you want.

The girls’ dispositions brighten dramatically.

Girls: Wow! That’s great!

The girls both hug their mother.

Father: Yea! Group hug!

As Father steps forward to participate in the hug, the girls release their
mother and walk away callously, immediately followed by Mother.

Father: (valiantly trying to remain enthusiastic) Yeah! Okay,
then. This is gonna be good.

The attitude displayed in this ad is one of the saddest commentaries on American
families that I have seen in a while. Here is a functional family with no obvious
problems. The parents are married and apparently have a good relationship.
The girls are not afraid of their father. He isn’t overbearing or abusive.
He seems to adore them and to want to be a part of their lives. He has
supported them from their births. He has protected them and provided for them
throughout their
lives. He is the one man in the world who would give up his own life for their
benefit without hesitation. But his daughters,
his precious little girls, his beloved princesses, view him as unworthy of
their attention and treat him accordingly.

To make matters worse, the commercial plays
the situation as comedy. I find no humor in it. Sadly, though, many people will
no doubt chuckle at the hapless dad on the basis that "It’s funny because it’s
true." And that’s the saddest thing of all.

Happy, but flailing

Writing is a personal transaction between two people, conducted on paper,
and the transaction will go well to the extent that it retains its humanity.
While that’s true of most writing, there are a few exceptions when it comes
to
blogging. On a Web log, the
personal
transaction
occurs
a little differently. It is conducted not with ink on paper but lighted pixels
on
a computer
screen. And it doesn’t occur between two people but among several (in some
cases several thousand),
all
of
whom have the opportunity to weigh in and have their reaction noticed by others.
But
I do think that a blog’s posts must retain a level of humanity
in order to be effective.

I try to do that here. I can’t really help but stay human when I talk about
my love for Mrs. Happy. I just hope it has the desired effect of encouraging
married couples and providing hope (and maybe a little instruction) for singles.


I have been suffering from writer’s block for more than a week now. I tried
once
before
to begin a post with the fifth sentence on the 23d page of a book
picked randomly off a shelf, and I tried again tonight—this time using On
Writing Well, Fourth Edition
by William Zinsser. The exercise wasn’t much help, but
at least I have something to post. If you
have
been silently
hoping to see a post on a particular topic here, leave your request in the
comments or send me an e-mail. Please.

ICYWW

I kind of hate it when a blogger apologizes for not posting. It takes a certain amount of presumption to feel that need. I’m feeling the presumption now, though, and the urge to apologize. I know, however, that the world goes on turning and people’s lives are as rich as ever even when I don’t post a His and Hers or a Marriage links for the week. I posted neither this weekend since Mrs. Happy and I participated in a 24-hour prayer event at our church and also played host for some aspiring missionaries. There was really no time for blogging. In case you were wondering.

Time apart

Before we were married, Mrs. Happy and I spent a lot of
time together. It was, well, sweet sorrow every time we parted.
She used to ask, "Are you going to miss me?" I would always reply, "The only
time I don’t miss you is when I’m with you." That was probably sign No. 402
of at least 500 that I was truly in love with her, but even then I didn’t recognize
my own feelings, still thinking we were "just friends." We don’t have to say
goodbye at the end of the day anymore—one of the best things about marriage.

Even so, there
have
been
times
(not
many,
thankfully) when
I’ve
had to go
several
days without seeing my wife. Those days are painful and full of longing,
but our reunions are the sweeter for it. She grows more beautiful every day,
but when I go a few days without seeing her, that progressive beauty kind of
builds up and stuns me when I see her again.

We haven’t been apart this week, but we have been sort of separate. She got
a freelance calligraphy job writing place cards for a fancy wedding reception,
and it has been taking up all of her waking moments. We haven’t arrived home
from work at the same time, or gone to bed at the same time, or even really
eaten at the same time. We have been able to converse a little, but her attention
has been focused on the calligraphy.

I’m not complaining. This was a good thing for her to do. Nice
handwriting is sort of a lost art in this age of e-mail and word processing,
and skill at calligraphy is downright rare. She has both, and her services
are like gold (at a bronze price) to brides who want to give their weddings
an elegant touch. Usually her side jobs don’t take up so much time, but this
was a last-minute thing with a short deadline. As such, it was almost like
being apart.

When she got home today she was a salve to my sore eyes, having continued
to grow in beauty as always. I hugged her like I haven’t hugged her in a week…and
then some.

America’s pastime

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Having grown up in the Dallas area with
no baseball team but the Texas
Rangers to root for, I have never been a big fan of the sport. I tried to play
for one season in elementary school, but I got stuck in right field and faced
pitchers who couldn’t find the strike zone and instead threw as if a target
were painted on my left leg. I got walked a lot, but it was never pleasant.
Anyway,
I’m saying this because for some bizarre, alien reason, professional baseball
is trumping blogging tonight. I saw Houston lose a heartbreaker to St. Louis.
I hope the
Astros can pull it out in game 7. Now I’m watching the NY Yankees get their
gluteus maximi handed to them by the Boston Red Sox, and I’m loving every minute
of it.
I never had an opinion about the Yankees before I moved to New York. I still
have no preference nor dislike for the team itself, but I cannot stand Yankees
fans. They are absolutely the most obnoxious, fair-weather sports
fans outside of European soccer (no offense). I take a little satisfaction
in the few times they’re humbled. As of this writing, the Red Sox are leading
8–1
in
the sixth inning.

In the meantime, go
read this
. I have linked this site before, but I’m thinking now I may add
it to my permanent links. There’s some powerful and heart wrenching material
here born of life experience and pain in large measure. This post, however, is
a joyful
one, celebrating the arrival of a newborn: "The child is like a teenage boy
– he parties all night, sleeps all day, and is obsessed with breasts." Heh.

Update: The Yankees lose, 10-3. That oughta shut ‘em up for a while.

Dazed and confused

I’ve been doing an awful lot of RLTB posts lately. I guess I’m in sort of a rut
where writing is concerned. Tonight, I’m puttering around on the computer listening
to an iTunes playlist consisting of Roger Miller, Fountains of Wayne, Del Amitri,
Bill
Cosby,
Stevie
Wonder,
and
BNL.
While the music (and occasional spoken-word comedy) plays, I’m checking out the
OmniWeb browser.
I had thought that Safari was the final word in Web browsing, but OmniWeb is
pretty darn cool. Anyway, in my browsing, I came across a collection of writings
on marriage
by Jared the Thinkling. Now there’s a fellow Christian husband who cherishes his wife.
He even has a post listing 100 reasons he loves her. I’m going to have to try
that some day.