Sunday, May 11, 2014

Vigilante Post: Expose`

Why I’m So Proud and Thankful to be Married to Bethany Robbins

My name is Daniel. I’m Bethany’s husband. And yes, I broke in. Its time meet the real Bethany Robbins. You know, the underbelly. This is an expose`!

We met and started dating 10 years ago. In May 2004, she came over to hangout with my roommate and his girlfriend (Brendan and Jessica). Brendan was sick, Jessica was attending him, and so we first talked, flirted endlessly, all the while with Brendan yakking in the background. Ah, young love not even vomiting could stop us! We married 8 years ago. I was only 20 when I proposed to Bethany, and she, 21.  I am immensely, and terribly blessed with Bethany as my wife. Lemme-break-it-on-down for minute. Here are some of the top ways I have been blessed that I never could have predicted, nor was I even aware I should care about these things when we did get married.

Parenting: I had seen her as a nanny, and she was good. But, I’m good with other people’s kids too; you know…get’em riled up and send’em on their way. But here we are three kids deep and Bethany is the best Mom I know. I think that I have learned about 80% of what I know about parenting from Bethany. Her pastoral insight into the hearts and minds of our children, her devotion to them and their needs (real or perceived), her tenderness, her balanced judgment, her even hand in discipline, her delight in them, her thoughtful gifts and shopping for them, her creative projects and leading them into fun constructive play, her silliness with them, her heart for children from broken homes,… these are her glories, and they are beautiful. They are also why she’s exhausted most of the time. made some awesome kids, babe.

Wife-ing: I am a shmuck most days. I can hear some of you saying, “Now Daniel, come on, golly. Gee, you seem like you’ve got together here and there.” But you are wrong. Dead wrong. Whatever I have that’s put together, its because of Bethany. The fact that I brush my teeth everyday, shower, don’t wear pleated pants, am not embarrassed about caring about fashion, am learning not to pick my fingernails and nose in public, have developed any modicum of thoughtfulness of others, arrive less than fifteen minutes late, leave the house with food for the day, find gas in the car when I stumble into it, and functionally use a calendar and even plan things more than 1 hour in advance; she gets the cred. I have the ambition and drive, yes, I also have the aloofness and moodiness of Doc from Back to the Future. That means that I am good at pushing forward my ideas and desires, but poor at keeping everyone else from picking up the pieces for me. Bethany planned an entire road trip, from start to finish, for our move this last summer. And, not only did we save a ton of money with her plan in hand, she also found awesome spots along the way (you know, like the Dinosaur National Monument, who even knew that existed?). Moreover, she actually cares about and supports my work. She is not just passionate about the Kingdom of God and the gospel going out, but she even cares about the particular niche I am most interested in (I’d tell you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t).

Friend-ing: She’s a correspondence tour-de-force. She keeps up with ladies regularly, many of whom probably read this blog. I do much better maintaining friendship locally only (sorry guys). She maintains friendships from every place she has lived (and visited) over the space of many years. She writes thoughtful emails, with info and resources to past, current, and prospective mothers, doula clients, doulas to be. She loves her friends deeply, often going out of her way to connect with someone, or check in on someone who has been going through a rough patch.  She and the boys take all the Christmas cards and postcards we get, and pray for one of the families every morning. She thinks of and prays for others very often. If she’s your friend, you can count on her to really care about you and your life.

Designing: This girl’s got it goin’ on! You know what I mean?! She’s got so much style, she could dig in the jenkiest bins of dustygoodwill outlet clothes, and make them look gorgeous and tailored to her.She has taught me to love fashion and design as I have seen her style and taste develop into the dainty, mid-modern, graceful, bold and colorful shape it has taken in our last three homes. Not only does our home look and feel great, it is also super functional for two little boys, a darling little girl, and a small group that meets weekly in our home. She’s got so much style, that she recently pulled off a Compassion International T-Shirt she was obliged to wear as a volunteer! I mean, who does that?

Cooking: I’ll admit. When we first married, it was rough. Even rougher when we arrived in Malawi. But, my dear, you have applied yourself to learning, trying, and learning more and more over the years. Well, lemme-tell-you-sumpin! You are a wonderful cook! This girl busts out tasty meal, after tasty meal, with all the right balance of vegetable to meat to grain, all for dirt cheap. I mean, I will hear some people say, “yeah we are really tightening up our budget, and we cut $600 from our food budget!” Sorry to say this, but I’m not impressed. Bethany fed our family of four (and many others) on less than that for four years straight in seminary. And we ate well!

Roaming: This is now our fourth city together. Not entirely crazy. But, when the prospects of a future with this guy mean, no stability, long hours, much sacrifice, much alone time, no amassing of wealth (‘EBT’ & ‘Seminary’ rhyme for a reason), you begin to see that our moves are more nomadic than notching up our glory and wealth. 

Now, she loves her family, and misses them constantly. But, when it comes to packing up once again, and leaving because the Lord has another stop for us she has never griped to me about it. (Maybe once, but it was only about five minutes long). Bethany, I love your adventurous spirit more and more. I am proud of your adventurous spirit more and more, especially as the list of challenges met, and sacrifices made grows and grows.

Beautying: Bethany, I know you often feel like this  

but you still look beautiful like this to everyone else:

.... and I still see you as this:

Thinking: Bethany became a serious reader in our time in Malawi. She started devouring novels, one after another. As well, in recent years, she has had a deepened hunger to start reading serious and thought-provoking books (eg: Michael Reeves Delighting in the Trinity). But, this would only be surprising if you believed the things she says about herself, “I never finished my BA,” “I’m no smarty pants, Dan is Mr. Booksmarts.” But, I’m not surprised. She has always been smart as a whip, insightful, logical, and diligent. She is especially gifted in teaching, in understanding people, and logistical strategy. After all, smarts and education are two different things. Bethany, don’t forget that you are way smarter than many better-educated people.

Worshiping: This was one reason I fell in love with her, and felt I could trust her. From the moment I met her, I knew that she felt she owed the Lord everything she had, and so would have no qualms if we were led to some area of difficult obedience. I knew that if the Lord spoke to us, she would listen, because she loved him so dearly. This has not changed one bit. In fact, her cherishing of the Lord has deepened in profound ways in the 10 years I’ve known her. Even in the last year or two, she has welcomed the Lord’s searching Spirit into whole new areas of her life which can be terrifying, and which many, many, many other people would be entirely unwilling to do. This is clearest in her commitment to me in my years of bumbling, negligent and hurtful husbandry. Bethany, what more could I ask for in a wife than I have in you?

I love you more than ever. Who am I to be with such a gem in the kingdom of God? Here’s to 80 more years!!

 (….we could do it, I mean I’ll be 101, and you 102. Just imagine the conversation, “Can you ask the boys to bring us some new adult diapers? These ones are too itchy, don’t you think.” “You always say that Dan.” “Well how am I supposed to go for my daily walk around the block…”)

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