Country Living Series

Monday, June 22, 2015

A love story: "We are a team."

In response to this past weekend's WND column on Father's Day, I received an email from a reader named Richard who told me about his marriage. Folks, if you ever want to know what a real marriage through better or worse looks like, look no further. Richard kindly gave me permission to post his email here. Get a tissue.
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Good morning,

I have been married 37 years to the same woman and over those 37 years I’ve gone from a very healthy and active male to a 58 year old man facing his 12th spine surgery to fix an old Army injury who also has bleeding ulcers that flare up too much, just found out he has PTSD, again, from the service, walks with a cane, walker or wheelchair depending on how the spine/legs are acting and has been told he likely won’t make it far into his 60’s.

How does my wife treat me? Like I am the man she married.

In all those intervening years we have stood side by side during it all and in all the time we had our kids with us (1 girl, 1 boy) they heard us raise our voices once and that was when my wife got mad at me for overdoing it after a surgery.

I was hurt when I was 19 and told her EXACTLY what might happen in the years to come yet she still married me and I truly believe she still respects me. I don’t know what I did to deserve God giving me the courage to walk into that little record shop and talk to her but believe me, I will be on my knees thanking Him when my time comes.

We were married while I was at university and all I had was one pair of jeans, a frying pan, a couple of plates and a stereo system. Listening to music has always helped me when the pain comes. I never let the VA treat me after I finally got out of the hospital that last time. I went in at my normal, very fit weight (6 pack and all) of around 190 and came out at 142. Now you see what she had to look through to see the real me. And yes, the day I walked in, I was using my cane.

I spent over 40 years working as a programmer, analyst and manager and various combinations and believe me, with the influx of foreign labor into that field, it was really hard to keep a job those last 15 years or so when they could offer themselves for $25 an hour, benefits included and we had to get at least a living wage; besides, I PROVED I could outwork 5 of them and 99% of the time wound up training them because they simply did not have the advertised skills on their resumes.

Yes, I am leading up to something else she saw me through. By 2011 I had been working from home for over 6 years, my weight was up, my health was deteriorating and someone other than God put me in the path of a so-called pain physician who had me taking the same level of drugs they give to end-stage cancer patients just so they can go in peace. I was working anywhere from 60-80 hours a week (on record) non stop in 2011 because they kept getting rid of American workers, adding cheap offshore labor who did not know their jobs and telling us either to get the work done or they would simply replace us. I really wanted to work until I was 62. Let’s see, I was what, 54 in 2011? I am a mathematician also but I cannot ever remember whether to add or subtract one to get the right age.

I could have gone 100% disabled decades ago but both of us were raised up in dirt poor but proud families where you were taught to give it 100%. When she decided to stay home with our little girl after a terrible incident with a so called “grandmotherly” sitter, we simply shifted our savings a bit and never blinked. We are a team. When the kids came, they became part of the team and we tried so hard to pass on what we knew to them, especially how it can be between a man and a woman in a marriage. They also had great examples from my wife’s 10 other brothers and sisters and their marriages and their kids’ marriages. I am sure you get the picture. And at the center of it all is Mom. My wife’s mother who took me in as one of her own and I will never be able to repay her for that.

I did not mean for this to be so long but your column echoed what my wife and I have been talking about on trips to and from the various doctors that keep me moving; what in the world has happened to the American male and in particular, fathers. Let’s be honest as you do in your column, there is plenty of blame to heap on the male side. I often think that perhaps since we have moved so very fast technologically that we ignored many of the impacts on society in general, not just from technology but from things permitted by technology such as mass migrations of peoples and let’s face it, cultures. I just don’t think we were ready for all this change when there is so little education in so many places but I digress.

Now look at what technology has wrought in our own society. I simply cannot believe that just a bit over 40 years ago I stood toe to toe with a professor who essentially went insane on me when I pointed out the basic fallacies behind Marx’s work. Instead of arguing against my points, he tried to use volume and in a way that is what has happened to males in almost everything you see them doing in television shows or even movies. I am sitting here trying to think of a feel good movie where the guy was the “hero” in the past 5 years. Captain America maybe comes close but it is a comic come to the big screen and therefore not real so it is to be ignored.

Even my wife’s Hallmark Channel movies have taken a turn where it seems to always be the woman who toughs it out on her own, no man needed and everything turns out fine in the end. Yes, it can happen but it is so much easier when you have that extra pair of loving hands to help with the kids or whatever. Besides all that, we are at heart a social animal. If you are a Believer, which I confess I am and I hope that does not offend but I simply state it, I will not preach to people, then we were made from the Beginning to be a pair. I know that section about the man leading the household gives many women and all Feminists stomach problems an to be honest, I don’t fully understand it myself but I read the New Testament and I pretty much stay there. I keep the Commandments, yes but the bulk of my reading is New, not Old. Besides, we split it up about who is going to be boss. I have a math degree so guess who got to teach the kids math? She can keep a checkbook which mystifies me though I can write applications that have literally hundreds of thousands of lines of code in them and keep the majority in my head so guess who does our family bookkeeping? The thing is that you share and you trust each other enough to be able to open up and ask for help when needed. That’s a real partnership.

Unfortunately for us, our partnership may come to a real test and possible end this coming Friday. If they have issues or if I stroke out on them or have a heart attack and there is a lot of brain damage it means a respirator and I have made sure that my wife, with her understanding and blessing, my surgeon and our kids understand that I will not live on a respirator. I have given it a good fight. I deserve the right to die with some dignity. All I want is that one last kiss and goodbye then they can give me some pain killers and let her turn off the machine. That is the ultimate in teamwork as it shows just how much we trust and believe and love each other.

Thanks for an important column,

Richard
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In a subsequent email, Richard added: "If only you knew her or her Mother you’d understand why my words pale when trying to describe the real people. You know, I had always heard that there is a soul mate out there for you. I know it to be the absolute truth now."

18 comments:

  1. What a sad but wonderful letter. Until it was mentioned I had never thought about how fathers are being portrayed but you are both correct. The fact that my wife and I are still married after 45 years is not normal anymore but it is the way it is meant to be.

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  2. All I can say is, "wow." I'm praying that you will make it through on Friday. If not, you are prepared which most of us are not.

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  3. All I can say is God Bless them.

    Carl in the UP

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  4. Thank you, Richard, for sharing your deeply inspirational story with us. I wish you every success, especially with your surgery. You set the kind of example that makes a person admire your courage and character. May you and your sweet wife be blessed.
    Thank you for the opportunity to lift you up in prayer.
    Please let us know how you do.

    A. McSp

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  5. A tissue indeed... more than one! This is the example I wish more marriages exemplified.... True Agape Love! Richard is now on my prayer list for some more years with his family if the Lord may be so gracious. ,,,,,, '''''''

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  6. What a beautiful witness of true marriage. Faithfulness and commitment shine through your story. Thank you for sharing.
    I prayed for you.

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  7. Thank you, Richard, for sharing you story, and thank you, Patrice, for sharing it with us.
    The media and institutions of "higher" learning have convinced the masses that marriage is antiquated and does not work. Richard's testimony and your testimony proves otherwise.
    Again, thank you both.
    May God hold you and keep you, Richard. You and your family are in my prayers.
    sidetracksusie

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  8. I wonder, would we be singing the same song if the woman were the one disabled and in need of care? Every time I have battled depression, I've been called "selfish bitch" and worse. Every time I have struggled with a social skill, I have been told that I must not care for the people around me.

    Can someone please explain why, when a man struggles, life is hard and a woman should support him; however, when a woman visibly struggles, she is weak and bad and needs to be publicly upbraided (or better still, discarded)??

    This is not a rhetorical question. I accept it as my lot in life as a female who falls short of God's demands for Woman. I just don't understand WHY.

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    1. I can not possibly answer why. However, I have witnessed the opposite of what you have experienced. A loving husband who cared for his wife with a debilitating stroke following an aneurysm and many other aliments. She has not fully recovered yet. He also cares for his aged mother who probably will need full time nursing care soon. Tell me please that this is NOT a good husband, son, man.

      I don't know why your are experiencing your pain or your condition, but know this. There is a God who does understand if you release it to Him. Please do! I will pray that you do!

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    2. Your comment made me so sad. All people fall short of perfect and the Bible contains goals for all of us, I never think of them as demands because I know God is aware that I cannot live up to the goal, I can only try.
      I do not know why you have been treated poorly and from the sound of it you have. It is not always like that, I married a lovely man and we support each other as we have both gone through physical and mental downtimes, we are partners. May I suggest that you look for a support group (I suggest a church) and find others who are struggling with the same issues, they will be much more understanding, I hope you find some peace, praying for you,

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    3. Both my mother and my mother in law would be in nursing homes if not for my father and father in law - the men each of them married nearly 60 years ago. Instead, each lives in her own home and is looked after and cared for by the men who have their own health issues to deal with. All are 82 to 86 years old.

      Just because it does not make the news doesn't mean it does not happen.....Natokadn

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  9. Thank you, Richard, and all the best for your surgery!
    I have been married for 15 years and would not give up my husband for anything in the world, but we have not been tested as you and your wife have been - I hope if such a test comes we will be able to do as you do and keep fighting and stick it out as a team.

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  10. So much hope, faith, prayers for Richard and his family.
    Prayers for MC, may you find peace.
    AnnieMouse

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  11. remember to also pray for the surgical team and others serving in the hospital.

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  12. **PLEASE don't worry about me. I will not stop fighting until breath leaves my body. Sometimes I get really, really tired, but I have a good man standing beside me. This is a war that we WILL win.**

    My husband, God bless him, DOES have my back. I can't count the number of times that sainted man has had to face people that matter telling him that his wife is worthless and useless, or that he's blind, a cuckold, or a fool.

    Living with and loving me hasn't been an easy proposition. It has to be hard to love a woman who spends eight months too heavily medicated to cook or clean or find her way to the grocery store (let alone plant, harvest, and preserve or quartermaster a preparedness program for a family of five). It has to be hard to love a woman who's going through that and despises herself too much to see that she's allowed herself to become the victim of medical malfeasance.

    It has to be even harder when people you love tell you you're a fool for sticking around when "for better" turns to "for worse." Yet he's still here.

    Were the shoe on the other foot, I'd be a good woman for standing by him. My grandfather had many of the same struggles that I do (only to a much greater degree, having battled high-functioning autism and OCD at the height of the American eugenics program, a PTSD-worthy feat if ever there was one). I remember him as a man who ate a lot of Xanax and still held the whole family in thrall to his very fragile nerves-- and I wasn't around for the worst of it.

    My grandmother was widely held to be simultaneously a saint and doing no more than her duty for putting up with him.

    Why does my husband have to endure being called a "pussy-whipped fool" for standing by me?? How is that fair to the women who struggle...

    ...or to the men who show enough of the character of Jesus to love us when we've fallen and can't get up??

    I'm not asking for feminism. Far from it. As far as I can tell, feminism demands for women the right to take to themselves all of the worst of what our fallen society smiles upon in men. Feminism seems to me to have it decidedly bass-ackwards, calling for more of what is bad in the world and even less of what is strong and right and good. That's not how you fix a problem.

    I don't know how to verbalize what I'm asking for. But I know we'd better find it NOW, while things are still so soft that we can do something as foolish as agitate in favor of the worse nature of the human race.

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  13. God Bless you and yours, Richard! We need more examples around like the two of you.....Natokadn

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  14. Patrice
    You do not have to post this, I believe he has Melioidosis Burkholderia Pseudomonas. I recognize the symptoms from my husband who was misdiagnosed more times than I wish to count. He also served in Vietnam, and this lives in the body up to 62 years. If you wish to read the small article I wrote you and they can find it on MD Creekmore site 'the survivalistblog.net'. I hope this helps this couple, it breaks my heart to see a veteran who served and is suffering from a long term injury. I know what they are going through.

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