A Good Love, Good Marriage Project

20130125-070212.jpgAt my grandfather’s 75th birthday party, I met a cousin. Not a first cousin, mind you, but some distant one whose relation was so far removed that it was difficult for anyone to accurately indicate the branch of the family tree that bore his daddy’s name. He was short, none too attractive, and best I can remember, the eating habits of his twenties and thirties had settled just above the braided belt that held up his Duck Head khakis. He was bald. And not male-patterned bald, either. He was cue-ball bald; Bic bald.

We were in the backyard, all of us mulling under the canopy of my grandfather’s pecan trees, and person after person spoke to my cue-ball cousin, who slowly nursed his drink. I watched as people extended hands to him, reached out for a hug, and within seconds, each was laughing, their mood lightened by his obvious wit. He was the center of attention, which was odd to me, being that this was my grandfather’s 75th birthday party.

Party crasher.

After the cocktails had well settled in, my grandfather took center stage to thank us all for coming. He looked over the yard and shared his love. He pulled my grandmother close, and drew a bead on the cousin. “Thank you for coming,” he said. “I know it’s been a hard year, what with your wive’s cancer, and your taking time away to be with us means a great deal.” My grandfather choked up for a moment, kissed his wife, the raised his plastic cup and roared, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

The mystery cousin was later explained in full. His wife had been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive cancer. He’d sacrificed greatly–career, hobbies, passions, friendships–to be with her throughout her treatment. He’d loved her well, and when the chemo took her hair, he shaved his head in solidarity with her.

I don’t remember his name, and over the years I’ve suspected that he is likely less my cousin and more a man that my family wanted to claim as cousin. I figure he’s the type of man we’d all like to claim as family.

*****

As you might know, a while back I compiled a series of letters from Mothers to my wife in hopes of encouraging her. Collecting these stories was both a privilege and an honor, and every time I read them, I’m amazed.

I’m considering starting a bit of a similar project, and I’d like your help. I’m wanting to collect a few stories of men and women who have loved their spouses extraordinarily well. And I’m not just talking, “he bought me roses on a random Friday,” extraordinarily well, either (though that is pretty extraordinary). I want the grand stories. The stories that restore our faith in love and marriage during the difficult days. The stories that give us hope and a bit of a blue-print.

I’ll collect these however you’d to submit them–comments, emails, video submissions. I’d like to interview the folks over the coming days. This is a project I think I need. Perhaps you do, too. So, will you help?

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30 Responses to A Good Love, Good Marriage Project

  1. sethhaines says:

    No that I think about it… maybe it was my grandfather’s 65th birthday? (Artistic license.)

  2. melissafed says:

    I’ve lost track of this man…this incident I wrote here happen over a decade ago now. But…he changed the way I thought about passion and love. http://melissafeddersen.com/2011/06/03/your-love-story-is-still-being-written/

  3. jennie1lynn says:

    I love love love this idea – I can’t wait to read the stories.

  4. Mother Letters was a beautiful project. I can’t wait to read these ones, too.

  5. Great idea, Seth. I’ve got a good/hard story – my daughter’s faithfulness to her husband as he died a grueling, long death. Don’t know if I can tell it yet, but it’s an amazing one. Which is why we all celebrated so gloriously when she remarried in July of 2011 and love watching her be happy and relaxed now. Or the man who willed himself to live long enough to prepare his wife and kids for his death. Or the couple who made it nearly 80 years together, the husband finally begging his wife to ‘not pray me back to life this time – let me go’ and she did. Or my own husband, choosing to commute 125 miles to work every week for 10 years so I could take a job in a distant town. Yeah, they’re out there, Seth. And they need to be told.

  6. Both my husband’s grandparents were married for nearly seventy years. One set spent almost all their lives side by side in hospitals all over Africa, the other in a small town in Tennessee. Both stand as such a testament to deep, abiding love in the face of both common and extraordinary circumstances. I wrote a slice of it here, after we returned from his grandmother’s funeral last summer (more her life than their marriage – but it’s hard to separate the two after seventy years… http://annieathome.com/2012/08/living-hymns-a-tribute/ ). I can think of so many others, too. Excited for this project, Seth.

  7. hopefulleigh says:

    Love this idea! A few of my former patients definitely would qualify. I can’t wait to read these stories!

  8. Nikole Hahn says:

    We all like to adopt people into our own families. Might have a story, but it will have to be anonymous.

  9. Nikole Hahn says:

    You can email me through my webpage.

  10. I thought of Jennifer over at studiojru.com. She wrote a series of grace through trials…

  11. Oooo, I’ve got one for you. My grandmother connected with her childhood sweetheart after 60 years and married him. Will try to remember to write it up for you. Do you want it in polished, edited form or are you just looking for some good stories thrown your way and then you’ll decide which ones you want to hear more about?

    • sethhaines says:

      Just good stories thrown my way. I’ll pick the ones I want to hear more about, do proper research and interviews, and sort of recast the story (with the help of those who suggested the story).

      I cannot wait to hear what you have.

  12. Cheryl Hatfield says:

    Seth,
    My husdand and I have been married 28 years. There was more than 20 of those years that he was an addicted, angry person. Not physically abusive, but not very nice either. There were times I begged God to allow me leave. His answer was always no. God reminded me over and over of the extent of the grace He extended me and that It was my responsibility to extend that same grace to my husband. God grew me up so much during that time that there are barely words to describe.
    Through a series of circumstances in 2005 that resemble to book of Job, God dramatically got my husbands attention inearly 2006. By the grace of God, My husband was radically transformed.We have a strong, healthy marriage and ministry opportunities that would have never occured if I would have given up on him.
    Regardless of whether you use our story, I’m excited to see what your research brings.

    • sethhaines says:

      Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing.

      I’ll likely follow up with a bit of an email in the next few weeks if that’s okay.

    • jennie1lynn says:

      “God reminded me over and over of the extent of the grace He extended me and that It was my responsibility to extend that same grace to my husband.” – I hope you share more of your story. It’s one I need to hear ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so happy your story has a happy ending ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Pingback: Marriage Stories: The Decisive Moment | Seth Haines

  14. rjb says:

    I think immediately of my parents – my dad especially. Life has taken many unexpected turns (dare I say “tragic”?), but God has always been faithful. And dad has always been honest and open about the realities — both the difficulties and the Lord’s unending presence.

  15. Teresa Baldwin says:

    hello Seth,
    I can think of several amazing marriage stories that would perhaps qualify…my own among them…in the midst of our tenth year, my husband and I watched as our marriage fell apart before our eyes . We were lovingly kicked in the rear to fight for it and so we did. We celebrated 25 years married last summer, and though it seems like an ordinary struggle, I know it was far beyond that. It links back to that 19 year old boy who wrote my name in the snow in the soccer field to proclaim his love for me, endured that tenth year of disintegration, and came back to court me in the trenches of parenting teenagers. I consider it a marriage story worth telling. Let me know. This is a great idea, and I look forward to reading the results.

  16. Beth says:

    Seth,
    One of the best love stories around is of the McQuilkins. Seriously chokes me up ever single time. There is a small family connection with the McQuilkins that gave me the privilege of observing them when I was young woman. Truly God-mirrors. Watch the clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6pX1phIqug&feature=share. Dr. McQuilkin also wrote a little book, Let Me Get Home Before Dark (http://www.ciu.edu/faculty-publications/article/let-me-get-home-dark).

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