Celebrating A Half-Century Of The Guy I’ve Loved For More Than A Quarter-Century

Today is my beloved husband’s birthday and my eldest son’s last day home from break, a nicely harmonic convergence that could result in a day trip to Spokane or a day tripping around in our jammies amidst wads of wrapping paper and the last few dishes from last night’s birthday dinner.

How a guy who has never drunk java and doesn’t touch a drop of alcohol can consistently make an outstanding cup of coffee and bring home the perfect bottle of Viognier never ceases to amaze me. I’m sipping the coffee he made me; it’s as strong and as sweet as I like it — five measured cups, four scoops, two sugars and a dash of cream. He makes my coffee most weekend mornings, evidently not considering that he ought not have to play barista on his birthday. I’ve promised him a falafel-and-yogurt brunch and an omelette for dinner, and I’ll have a bottle of macadamia nuts tucked under his pillow to round out his birthday caloric intake. I struggle with baking cupcakes or anything else from a box, but if there’s a spiritual gift of omelette-making, the Lord has blessed me with it in abundance. Unfortunately, it’s right up there with Third-Grade Gerbil Monitor on my onionskin-thin resume, but my guy likes it, and today, like every other day, that’s what’s important.

It saddens me that a statement like that might cause dismay from my non-Christian friends while surprising the falafel out of my conservative Christian readers. After all, I am a convinced and committed feminist; I’m not “supposed to” say things like that, because it looks like I’m squishy in my feminism, to the dismay of my sisters in the struggle or the delight of my sisters in the faith. But I love my husband, and just as he enjoys freely and lovingly doing things for me, I enjoy blessing him with little things, especially on his birthday. That’s love, which, coming from me, makes my Christian sisters happy to hear. And that’s mutuality in submission, which I hope illustrates true Biblical marriage to my secular feminist sisters.

Our 27th anniversary is September 8; I’ll write more then about this. But for now I want to say, and Jeff, also a feminist, would want me to point out, that the ONLY Biblical submission to anyone under ANY circumstance is a volitional, mutual offering that comes from a position of strength — a strength that enables either of us to say “no” when “no” is appropriate. I don’t submit to Jeff because he’s a man, or even because he’s my husband. I submit to Jeff — honoring him, wanting to bless him, encouraging his betterment — because he’s a human being who bears the image of God. And while the love he and I have is uniquely, ummmmm, “marital,” it makes me just as joyful to submit to my friends, my sons, and anyone else when I have the opportunity to give to them.

For now, though, it’s Jeff’s 51st birthday, and I thank my God that he’s blessed me with a man who’s enriched my life enormously, and who, by his kindness and patience, has taught me more about the love of God than I could ever have imagined.

Happy Birthday, Ziff. Te quiero mucho!

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