These four walls

We currently live in a one-bedroom apartment. That means that, provided we still
live here in November, our baby will not have a nursery—he’ll just have half
of our bedroom. That’s going to be difficult, but what makes me really sad about
the situation is that my wife doesn’t have a room to decorate for dear little
Tater. (For those of you just joining us, be sure to read the
explanation for
our
baby’s nickname
.)
It would do my heart good to see her and, of course, help her lovingly choose
fabrics and colors for the bedding and the walls, but I’m thinking that maybe
it’s a good thing decoration isn’t an issue.

We argued more about the planning of our wedding than any other topic in our
entire marriage. I can only imagine the disagreements we would have about the
decorative atmosphere in our baby’s bedroom. First of all, I would insist on
something a little different. Everyone has teddy bears and toy cars. There’s
nothing wrong with either of them except that they’re a little overdone. Christians
tend toward Noah’s ark and the Garden of Eden because they have cute little
animals, though I think that neither global destruction resulting from God’s
wrath nor a scene necessitating strategically placed leaves are appropriate
for a youngster. So I came up with the perfect solution: robots. Boys love
mechanical things, and robots fuel the imagination. I mentioned this idea to
Mrs. Happy a couple of weeks ago. Since the point is effectively moot, she
didn’t offer an opinion one way or the other. But earlier this week, she just
couldn’t hold it in any longer:

Her: I don’t think I like your robots idea for the nursery.
Me: Why not?
Her: Robots are cold and lifeless.
Me: No. You’re thinking of the psychotic evil robots. We’d
focus on the benevolent robots who protect our planet and the universe from
superhuman villains and other destructive forces.
Her: (pauses, staring at the ground) You’re going to turn
him into a nerd, aren’t you?

In the end, I guess the baby doesn’t care what we put on his walls, if he
has walls. Just give him bright colors and a soft blanket and he’ll be fine.

RLTB

I seem to have caught a cold in the middle of summer. A friend of mine told me earlier today that a lot of people he knows have symptoms similar to mine, and that he suspects the beginnings of a whooping cough epidemic. I personally think that his opinion might signify the beginnings of a head-full-of-rocks epidemic. History will judge between us. In any case, whether I have a cold or whooping cough, I’m in no condition to blog.

Marriage links for the week

Amy Scott talks about some of her family’s quirky
and adorable little habits/rituals
.
Mrs. Happy and I have a few of our own, and I can’t wait to share them with our
baby and develop even more.

Dr. Linda Mintle explains why people need to deal
with their own issues
before
trying to correct their spouses. (ht: SillyDad)

An article in Christianity Today examines the
mystery of oneness
.

Steve Lynch continues his review of the book Covenant Marriage with
chapters 8 and 9: Getting
to Know Yourself
.

Shanti tells her
love story
on her blog. (thanks to Irene for the link)

His and Hers: Shopping

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.

If you could have a $1,000 shopping spree at the store
of your choice, which store would you choose?

Mrs. Happy’s response

New York & Company

Curt’s response

Amazon. If I had to pick a brick-and-mortar store, I’d pick Borders.

Reasons I love my husband, 1–10

Since Curt recently finished his
list
of 100 reasons why he love me, it seems
only fair for me to post my own list of 100 reasons why I love him, even though
I’m far more loveable, and this will be ten times more difficult for me to
do than it was for him. (Note: This is absolutely true. Just ask anyone
we know.—Curt
) Of course I’m only kidding (still, it’s true—Curt),
but I will only do ten at a
time.

  • God and family are his top priorities.
  • His hugs are the warmest, most genuine hugs ever given.
  • He tells me he loves me at least five times a day.
  • He thinks I’m beautiful no matter what state I’m in.
  • He enjoys children’s book and junior fiction as well as sophisticated literature
    that flies way over my head.
  • He is not afraid to cry or become vulnerable in my presence.
  • He encourages me to be my best.
  • He sings to our unborn child every single night.
  • He has a great sense of humor—sometimes dry, sometimes silly.
  • He is extremely intelligent, but doesn’t take himself too seriously.

A message from Baby Happy

My daddy says babies make people happy, and me especially. I find myself hard-pressed
to explain this phenomenon. A baby is just a person the same as any adult—though
admittedly smaller, softer, and less capable of using cutlery in an appropriate
manner—so it escapes me why my existence should inspire any more elation than
does a run-of-the-mill grownup. Apparently, I have the unaccountable ability
to brighten the countenance of strangers who then proceed to regale Mama with
tales of their own children, offer her advice on sleeping habits, and insist
that she immediately seek out a profeesional yoga instructor who specializes
in prenatal exercise.

Furthermore, I can make close friends and family members positively euphoric
simply by moving my appendages while they’re in a position to feel. My two
uncles had occasion to visit me this past weekend, and their reactions to my
movements ranged from fascination to delight to abject fear. Ah, what power
I possess. Though I have never tasted air, I have made hearts race,
elicited audible exclamations,
provoked gallons of joyful tears, and even prompted the exchange of currency
for goods and services. Daddy has told me that a man named Pharoah once altered
the course of two nations by taking action on behalf of a baby named Moses,
so
I should not
find it
so strange that I induce smiles in others. Still, I find my influence bewildering.

Perhaps this should not be such a mystery to me. After all, I have never laid
eyes on either of my parents, and yet I love them both with all of my being.
They have neither heard my voice nor felt my skin, but they would both willingly
die to save my life. And that, I suppose, is where the real power lies.

Movie manhood

-
I want you to do me one favor.

-
Yeah, sure.

-
I want you to hit me as hard as you can.

-
What do you want me to do? You want me to hit you?

-
C’mon, do me this one favor.

-
Why?

-
Why? I don’t know why. I don’t know. Never been in a fight, you?

-
No, but that’s a good thing.

-
No, it is not! How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been
in a fight? I don’t want to die without any scars.

Infamous lines from an infamous
movie
. It examines the current state of manhood in light of the blurred definitions
of
gender roles in modern society and, therefore,
personal relationships. Fight Club is all confused angst and bitter
soliloquies, but it expresses some authentic emotions. Contrast that with another
movie starring Brad Pitt. Troy is
all about larger-than-life men doing hypermasculine things, knowing exactly their
role and reveling in it. These men shaped history, steered kingdoms, fought battles,
and died gloriously. Troy is not a great movie by any standard, but I must confess that
it forced me to contemplate my own life in relation to Hector and Achilles.

It’s not really a fair comparison, I know. These men were mythic in their
proportions, probably because they
now exist only in myth. But they fought wars, knew no fear, and faced extreme
circumstances head-on without even blinking. I, on the other hand, have never
been in a fight and have never been called upon to defend myself or my family
from anything scarier than a couple of stray dogs. If the heroes of the Trojan
war were real men, then what am I?

When I examine these guys a little more closely, though, I see something different.
Why did they fight? Hector fought because
he was the crown prince of Troy. He fought for his people, though I think he
fought mostly for his own sense of honor. <<Note: Spoilers
follow.
>> Achilles kills Hector in
one-on-one combat because Hector killed his cousin
on
the
battlefield.
Hector’s fight did nothing to protect
the citizens of Troy. In fact, it robbed them of their strongest leader. It
robbed his wife of a husband and his son of a father. He could have refused
the fight. He could have yelled
over the wall, "I’ll see you on the battlefield." Or even, "Here’s
an arrow in the ankle for your troubles." But he accepted Achilles’ challenge,
for no reason other than his own code of honor, which I think boils down to
pride,
which
is a terrible
reason to fight and a worse reason to die.

Achilles, on the other hand, fought for nothing but his own glory. At first,
he didn’t want to fight in the Trojan war. He despised his king and hated the
idea of fighting under his command. His mother, an immortal nymph, told him
that if he did not go to war,

you will find peace. You will find a wonderful
woman, and you will have sons and daughters, who will have children. And
they’ll all love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead,
and their
children after them, your name will be forgotten… If you go to Troy,
glory will be yours. They will write stories about your victories for thousands
of years. And the world will remember your name. But if you go to Troy, you
will
never come back… for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And
I shall never see you again.

And that’s why he goes to war: to die so his
name
will live on. But what good is your name to you when you’re dead? It
might do good to others if you die for a cause, but to fight and to die for
nothing
but your own glory can’t be the definition of manhood.

What is the definition of manhood, then? When King David was about to die,
he gave his son Solomon some excellent
advice
:

I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself
a man. Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His
statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according
to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that
you do and wherever you turn.

Of course, following God and keeping his commandments is not restricted to
men, but only by following
and obeying him can I be the man and, by extension, the husband and father
he intended me to be. Which in turn brings to mind the greatest story ever
told.
Jesus
sacrificed
his life
to save
mine,
and he
did
it purely
out
of love
without
bitterness
or resentment. He is the ultimate role model, the ultimate man because—unlike
Achilles—he really was both God and man. He was the physical manifestation
of everything a man should be because he followed God perfectly. His glory
walked hand-in-hand with his obedience…and his victory. That’s why, when
confronted with a momentous decision, I never ask myself, "What would Hector
do?"

Marriage links for the week

Happy Blogiversary to me! Today marks two whole years! If you want to help
me celebrate, reread my first post. Thus end the festivities.

Ryan tries to make his wife feel special and draws
criticism
(in the comments) from all quarters
but hers.

KSmilkmaid demonstrates why kids who live on a farm don’t
need many
(or maybe
even any) toys. (HT: Amy Scott)

Steven is a stay-at-home dad with four kids, and he’s blogging about the experience
at SillyDad.com. All theses stories
about kids are making me envious and impatient for little Tater to arrive.

TheWriteJerry is learning some
important lessons
(and continues
to learn
) about communication with
his bride-to-be.

Steve Lynch continues his review of the book Covenant Marriage with Chapter 7: Five Levels of Communication.

Tim Challies ponders what his life would be like if he didn’t have a family
and concludes that he is not
cut out for single life
.

His and Hers: Childhood fun

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.

What was your favorite toy when you were a child?

Mrs. Happy’s response

I had a Raggedy Ann doll that I named Shirley, and I literally loved the stuffing
out of her. All Raggedy Ann dolls have a heart on their chest with the words
"I love you," so my mom sewed my first initial into Shirley’s heart, so I knew
she loved me, too.

Curt’s response

I had a plain old generic teddy bear that I named Yogi—no relation whatsoever
to the
Hanna Barbera character.
Yogi and I (frequently accompanied by my sister and her doll Debra) had some
amazing adventures together, and I think I didn’t stop sleeping with him until
I turned 13.

Thanks, and Welcome!

I received an e-mail from Christian blogosphere heavyweight Dr.
Adrian Warnock
earlier today asking, "I wonder if
you would be OK about receiving a warnie?" The implication that I might refuse
such
an honor
is charming, and doubly so if you read the question in a British accent.
(I should note that I met Adrian in person once, and we argued about
which of us pronounces our words normally
and which of us has an accent. I say that on his blog, he can call my accent
American, but on this side
of the ocean, he’s the one who talks funny.)
Anyway, I said I would indeed be okay with that and threw in a few "thank you"s
for good measure.

So I began trying to compose a gracious and humble acceptance post, full of
wit and self-deprecation as well as appreciation to the good doctor. I was
about halfway through that post when I decided to check his site and see if
he had linked to me yet. He had. He had written some very nice things about
The Happy Husband, along with this introduction:

Allthings2all is a fantastic blog, better known as "The Happy Husband".

He was partly right—Allthings2all is a fantastic blog, but it is not better
known as The Happy Husband. I’m not sure what happened there. All I know for
sure is that I no longer need to try be humble and self-effacing. It’s just
coming naturally.

In any case, I’d like to extend a hearty welcome to any and all readers here
by way of Adrian’s Blog. My purpose here, as he mentioned, is to
celebrate marriage
. I’m here to work against the pervasive ideas that marriage starts
out with a bang but quickly gets boring, that lifelong fidelity is unnatural
and confining, and that marriage’s main value is societal rather than personal.

Marriage is a beautiful, fun, exciting journey, and I know I’m not the
only one who thinks so. This site is for others who value marriage as much
as I
do.
It’s
for people
who
understand what I mean when I say that my wedding was the happiest day of my
life except for every day that has followed. It’s for people who are single
and want to look forward to marriage, but don’t see any reason for hope in
the mainstream media.

So if you’re visiting for the first time, make yourself at home. Click around
the categories in the sidebar for things you might be interested in, such as
my list of 100 Reasons I love my
wife
, stuff about marriage
in general
, stuff
about our marriage, stuff
about our first child (who will be joining us in November), and some other
things. Come back on Saturday for my weekly round-up of marriage
writings around the blogosphere
. Most of all, just hang out and join the
celebration.


Update: I just received an e-mail from Adrian (again, be
sure to read this with an English accent for full effect):

dash it sorry
I think it’s fixed
you used to have another name I think……..
Can you ever forgive me!!!

I have forgiven already, Adrian. Thanks for the recognition you have brought
to me and so many other Christian blogs.