28 things I love about you

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… or the time scrapbooking probably saved my marriage.

Some years ago now, we were going through what can only be described as a really rough patch. Communication was at an all time low, and we were both pretty deeply entrenched in a land-lock of passive aggressive silent treatment. I was disillusioned and frustrated, and finally sought help from a trusted church leader. His response was as short as it was brilliant: ‘ Just love him, Joanna’.

I was not impressed. But I was desperate. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. But how? I knew the theory: try to think about what had made me fall in love with him in the first place, look for the good, focus on gratitude, ‘love is a verb’ … yada, yada… If there had ever been an example of ‘easier said than done’ this was it.

But I was determined to not give up. I mean, covenants, right?

Valentine’s day was coming up, and I decided I would make him a mini-album, telling him why I loved him.

I purchased a cheap, tiny photo album from Europris (the Norwegian equivalent of Wal-Mart) , and dug into my scrapbooking supplies and photos.

The list was actually easier to come up with than I had thought, and as I worked on the project, I literally felt my heart soften, and my frustration melt away. It took me a few weeks, and when I gave it to him, it didn’t elicit any immediate reaction or change in him. But it changed me. 

Here it is, with translated captions:

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I love you because...

I love you because…

 

You are a loving father

You are a loving father

 

You are playful

You are playful

 

You love animals

You love animals

 

You have wanderlust and you are willing to travel

You have wanderlust and you are willing to travel

 

You are a maintenance expert

You are a maintenance expert

 

You ar a passionate guitar virtuoso

You are a passionate guitar virtuoso

 

You love food and cooking

You love food and cooking

 

You are an amazing Sunday School teacher

You are an amazing Sunday School teacher

 

You are good at what you do for a living

You are really good at what you do for a living

 

You are neat and tidy

You are neat and tidy

 

You have a way with words

You have a way with words and you are really good at helping out around the house

 

You don't take yourself too seriously and you have the ability to make fun of yourself

You don’t take yourself too seriously and you have the ability to make fun of yourself

 

You stay in shape

You stay in shape

 

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You always smell good

 

And you chose ME

And you chose ME…

Ok. So that was only 15 – but that is only because I was limited by the number of pages in the album.

I can assure you that there are plenty more things on my list, like his steadfastness, his work ethic, his stamina, his dedication to his parents, his faithfulness, his willingness to serve, his manner with babies and old people, his sense of humor, his beautiful hand writing…

Yesterday was our 28th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by filling a van with trash from his parent’s apartment and delivering it to the recycling center. ( There is something very therapeutic about throwing out trash. )

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We also took Nemi to the beach, had dinner at a new Pakistani restaurant and saw ‘La French’. At dinner we marveled and shook our heads at the couples around us who all seemed to have their noses stuck in their cell phones, and talked about an article I had read recently about  one of the most important qualities one should be looking for in a partner.

It turns out that the question you need to ask yourself is this:

‘Is this a person I would want to go through hard things with?’

After 28 years Johannes and I have been through some hard stuff, and I can honestly say, there is no-one I would rather go through hard stuff with.

Here’s to the next 28!

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