Fourteen years ago today Kate and I got married. Last year I wrote about our vows, stating then that we succeeded in identifying principles that would make up a code of ethics for our married life, and I still feel that. (click here to read that post) That said, we forgot one – we talked about appreciating each day together, but the vows didn’t include overtly appreciating each other. It may seem trivial, but as the burdens of life compounded, I began to see how much of a difference a bit of focused appreciation can make in lightening the load.
In 2006 I visited my friend Jason Berg and did a clinic and performance at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, where he was on the faculty at the time. Spending a few days in Oklahoma and Texas I encountered a linguistic colloquialism I’d never heard before. In stores and such, the concluding polite statement in an interaction with somebody was not “thank you” but rather “I ‘preciate’cha.” I thought this was not only quaint but really pretty cool. After all, why shouldn’t people not only thank each other, but also appreciate each other? “I Appreciate You” has since become something of a mantra in Kate’s and my marriage.
So in honor of the fourteenth anniversary, here are 14 things that I appreciate about my lovely and talented spouse.
* I appreciate that her art moves me and inspires me to aim for higher heights when I create. Even when it’s applied to things like carving pumpkins or designing birthday cake decorations for me and the girls.
* I appreciate how she notices that my glasses need cleaning even when I don’t.
* I appreciate that she has become a personal nurse, tending to my maladies and teaching herself to perform minor surgery on me when needed. I wish I was kidding, but for real.
* I appreciate that she cooks deliciously and that she leaves out the hot peppers just for me.
* I appreciate that her technical expertise (car stuff, house stuff, yard stuff) is such that my significant lack thereof is not a death sentence for the functionality of our household.
* I appreciate that she has a great ear for music and is both my most enthusiastic cheerleader and such an honest critic that I sometimes don’t even need to seek her opinion because just thinking about doing so makes me find the answers from within (e.g. nope, not there yet).
* I appreciate that she not only knows where my secret spot is (no, not that kind of secret spot, you pervert, the place on the back of my neck where I hold muscle tension) and knows how to rub the tension out of it.
* I appreciate that she is the best mother I could hope for my girls to have.
* I appreciate that she looks super-hot in overalls (her usual work outfit).
* I appreciate that she makes me laugh almost every day.
* I appreciate that she has one of the biggest hearts and one of the sharpest brains I’ve ever encountered.
* I appreciate that encourages my tennis passion even at the times when it feels to me like a frivolous indulgence.
* I appreciate that in all our years together I’ve never gotten sick of spending time with her.
* I appreciate that she would punch a bear in the nose if it tried to hurt me.
Well, I could keep going, but I’ve reached 14. I only hope for as many more years as possible to keep accumulating and acknowledging things to appreciate. And I don’t intend to stop letting her know.