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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Husband Can Beat Up Your Honor Student

I have to confess something. It might sound bad (well...since when has that stopped me?), but I always hate when people brag about their loved ones in an over-the-top way. Like the little honor-roll decals plastered on the back window of the SUV that really only serve to make the parent feel like less of a failure in comparison to the parents of degenerates, or the name-and-title dropping that occurs when women talk about their husbands' prestigious careers and exotic travel, or even what universities have sent acceptance letters to so-and-so's little pookie-pie genius. It's always such a shame, dahhhling, to have to turn down Yale, isn't it?

All that being said, I am now going to do the very thing I hate. And it's going to be obnoxious, so get ready.

Eleven years, eight months, and twenty-seven days ago, the most amazing thing occurred. 4288 days ago, my life changed for the best. 6,174,720 minutes ago, I said "I DO" to the kindest, gentlest, most servant-hearted man that I have ever known. I became the wife of Brandon Watts, and I count it among the best decisions I have ever made.

You see, he is, quite simply put, the best husband there is. And, for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure he can beat up your honor student.

I loved him more than words can say the day I became his wife, but I found an even deeper level of love and respect for him on October 9, 2007. That's the day our daughter, our first-born, arrived, and that's the day my husband became a father.

For anyone who knows Brandon, you know that he is the quintessential daddy. He loves his children well. He plays well. He disciplines well. He prays for them well. He cleans up after them well. (well, you can't win 'em all, can you?)

I will never forget the times I found him, shirtless, laying on the sofa with our newborn baby girl, giving her the desperately-needed skin-to-skin contact while they both dozed. The times he rushed home from work to help me when our son was so ill as a young baby. The countless instances when he rushed home from a full day at work to take over for me so I could go and sing, stepping seamlessly from the role of businessman and provider to father and caretaker.

His patience is astounding. Many times when I'd want to give up and throw in the towel in a hard parenting situation, he'd tough it out, stand his ground, and dig in his heels for the long-haul, determined to be consistent and determined to win. Because we, as parents, have to win. And win, he does. 

He is a creative disciplinarian...from picking up acorns and pinecones in the pitch dark and scrubbing the already-clean kitchen floor, to standing with noses on the wall and arms extended for minutes on end, he knows just what to do to speak to our children's misbehavior. And he loves them all the while.

The time he pours into shaping and molding our children's hearts moves me, makes me want to be better. He plops down next to them on the floor, and instead of a simple, "you did ____, don't do it again, and here's your punishment," he gets on their level, lays in their beds with them, and talks. And listens. He gets to the heart of the matter and doesn't just address the symptoms. He is interested in the root cause.

He demands his children's respect, and he in turn he has earned it. They love him. They adore him. And they fear him, in a very healthy way.

He demands that his children respect ME. This speaks volumes about his love for me. He will not tolerate hearing our kids back-talk me or lie to me. He requires my sons to stand at the dinner table until I'm seated.

He loves me.

And what's more, he loves his God. He wakes at 5:00am every day, goes to his office early, finds a quiet place, and prays. Prays for his family, prays for his wife, prays for himself. He prays for others, for wisdom, for direction. He is a praying husband, and often I wake up to find an email from him telling me the things he's brought before the Lord on my behalf that particular day.

My husband makes me want to be better. He has already made me better. He is the clearest, most consistent example of Jesus in my life, and truly fulfills the directive in Ephesians 5:25:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her..."
He is the kind of father you read about in Ephesians 6:4:
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
He lives out daily the examples of love outlined in 1 Corinthians 13: 
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
Thank you, LORD, for my sweet husband's tireless example of love. What a beautiful picture of You he has painted for me to see every single day!

And, because he is so wonderful, I won't mention that time when this ever-attentive father left the ladder up on the back deck (which he had used to clean the gutters) and didn't realize that our 3-year-old and 1-year-old had both escaped to the backyard during nap time. He soon discovered them, to his great horror, walking the peak of our roof like a tightrope, waving down at him on the ground yelling "hi, Daddy" in sheer delight. Mommy wasn't home for this little event. Naturally.

Feel free to laugh!