What is the Value of My Wife?

OK.  I’m a little worried that if I reveal this I’ll see different results but I’m going to do it anyway.  I read what you search my site for.  Readers search for all kinds of things.  Very interesting things.  Like the title of this article.  What is the value of my wife?  Now, I think they were looking for this article but I’m going to answer the question anyway.

We could look at this several ways.  Maybe the reader was evaluating his wife and sought a bit of wisdom from my not-quite-near-daily pontifications.  Maybe the reader is thinking of selling her and upgrading to a newer model year.  Maybe the reader wants to buy my wife (a wise investment if possible) I dont’ know.  But I suspect they are searching for a post on how much I love, honor and cherish my lovely bride.  How much I depend on her.  How strongly I feel that I could never trade her for a newer model year because they just don’t make them like that anymore…not that I have been out shopping.  Maybe I should stop here before I get into trouble.

SO.  Let’s indulge the reader.

I met Julie nearly 20 years ago.  She was is hot.  What’s the value of beauty?

My folks moved just before my senior year.  I was going in to register for school, heading up the stairs toward the office.  She was coming out of the office walking down the stairs.  I’ll never forget our first conversation.

Me: “Um, where is the office?”

Her: “Right over there.”

How great is that?  I should have kissed her then.  Instead I went in to register for classes.  She met her mom at the bottom of the stairs and I learned much later the conversation included this line from her mother: “He must be a new kid.  You should show him around the school.  You never know, you might marry him someday.”

So there you go.  I immediately started dating her best friend.  Yeah.

Now I’m going to skim over youth group, high school, going to my senior prom with different people, going to her senior prom together, going to college, being married with 2 years of college left (ages 19 and 20), being newlyweds living in an apartment above her aunt (awkward), being newlyweds living in a crappy rent house, buying our first house, buying a second house (foolish), gutting and remodeling a 100 year old house we bought out of foreclosure, 3 kids are born and now we’re 7 years into marriage.  OK.  Catch your breath.

7 years.  We’re piling up an enormous amount of debt remodeling our house with a construction loan, there is no kitchen, we’re building a too-big garage with additional debt, working long hours, being super-involved in church and community and raising kids and then one day it all came to a head.  We had grown apart.  We weren’t married so much as we were roommates.  Pretty ugly situation.  Worse than you think.  We didn’t even hang out.  We were just there.  Sometimes.  I started living another life and dreading both.

Now, I don’t want to get preachy but since I do believe in God it spills out from time to time.  By God’s grace we not only patched up our relationship, we made it better than it had ever been before.  We closed the door to the world, bought a Nintendo Game Cube and played Mario Kart Double Dash with the kids all summer.  We talked.  We went to counseling.  We went to church.  We read books…lots of books.  But outside of work I was next to my wife every minute of the day…a habit I still continue.  SO what’s the value of faithfulness?  Of commitment?  She said “for better or worse” and stuck with it when it was worse.  Tell me what that’s worth.

She homeschools our kids.  I didn’t talk her into it.  I didn’t force my wife to submit to my will.  I never told her, “YOU WILL STAY HOME AND BE A MOM!”  Not at all.  Given her choice in the world and assuming that we have enough sense to live within the restrictions of our household income (regardless of how high or low), she chooses to stay home.  But a big chunk of that is her willingness to stay home AND work harder than anybody I know.  There is no Dr. Phil in the afternoon.  She doesn’t spend hours on Facebook.  The TV does not babysit the kids for her.  She finds a task and applies herself to it.  And, getting back on course, at the ripe old age of 22 she told me she wanted to apply herself in the home.  “OK, dear”.  Again, there are several things that make this possible.  We live within our means.  I would buy her anything.  ANYTHING.  I can’t buy her everything but I could buy her anything (look for a post on that another time).  But she wants little.  I have to beg her to buy clothes.  We were moving a few years ago and one of her friends offered to pack her closet.  The friend asked, “Where are your clothes?”  Julie answered, “Right there.”  Friend “You always look so nice!  How do you do it with so few clothes?!?”  She coordinates different things so she always looks different but, honestly, has very few clothes.  Fewer still that she didn’t pick up at a thrift store.  She hates kitchen gadgets, she makes Christmas tree ornaments, she has never paid for a manicure.  She’s very, very low-maintenance.  A good night date to her would be a steak and salad, a glass of wine and a movie at home without the kids.  If we really went out (like out-out (like drive to the big city and go to an actual sit-down restaraunt where they bring the food to your table and stuff?)) she would go for mexican and a strawberry margarita.  Easy.  So what’s the value of that?

Several years and several houses ago I said to her, “Honey, I want to farm.”  Now, that’s just crazy talk and you all know it.  If you don’t know it, well…it is.  Crazy.  Farming!  I’m just about as city as city can get.  My parents raised us in a bedroom community but kept a garden.  Dad did a lot of carpentry work in his free time so I could hit the right nails but hammering and gardening are a far cry from farming.  Besides, I have allergies.  What did she say?  “OK.”  She got books from the library.  We read them together.  She helped make our garden bigger.  She canned and canned and canned.  She conspired with me to have chickens in town even though it was illegal and we lived next to THE cop.  When it was time, she packed up our suburban paradise and moved to a house where the septic tank was failing, the roof leaked and the spiders were large.  She made it a home.  Now we get up at 5, do a little housework, make breakfast and she sends me off to the city to sit at a desk while she milks, feeds, lays out new pasture, organizes school, reads to the kids, makes a few sales on the phone, makes applesauce, gathers, sorts, cleans and packs eggs, cooks and generally does everything all while looking great.  How does that rate?  What’s the value of her work ethic?

So.  How does an average-looking guy of average intelligence and below-average manners keep the interest of a girl like that?  I have no idea.  If I’m asleep don’t wake me up.  I do try hard.  I am nearly domesticated.  I wash a lot of dishes with a minimum of breakage.  I fold laundry.  I can even wash and hang it on the line.  I can cook a few things (better if the grill is involved).  I can reach things on high shelves, pick up heavy things, open any jar and squish spiders.  I excel at generating crazy ideas and I can really crank out the work even when it’s not required.  But these are all things required of any man…well any able-bodied man.  I have yet to accomplish anything that any but my children would call superhuman.  Everything I do is well within my ability…within the reach of an average person.  The things Julie accomplishes amaze me.  She does more before 8am than most marines do all day.  So, what’s the value of her opting to be with me?  All she had to do was to look at another guy.  She looked at me.  What’s the value of that?

Objectively, she earns her keep and then some.  Subjectively she’s priceless.

I’ve never wondered what her value is.  I’m just thankful she’s mine.

I love you Julie-Boo.  I couldn’t do this without you.

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7 thoughts on “What is the Value of My Wife?

  1. Proverbs 31 in the 21st century. This is a truly wonderful tribute. You said once you weren’t that good at writing the emotional stuff – but I think you nailed it this time. That was definitely from the heart. God bless you both.

  2. Very nice tribute to your hard working wife. I think it’s a true testament when you can enjoy the company of your family and be content with it. I find it interesting when I’m on Facebook (not hours at a time, except with this Sandy storm heading our way) and I see people’s posts. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even know that they had a family or kids. They are living their life outside of their home instead of focusing on what really matters. I certainly get distracted at times (following the posts on KAFC is a full time job) but I justify those times by knowing that I’m gathering info for our own farm one day. It’s great reading that your family is truly happy being together.

    • Thanks, Stacey. Though Facebook isn’t much of a temptation, it’s difficult to make time to just be mom and dad for the kids and to just be friends with each other. Sundays are a big day for us. Star Trek day. We church it up on Saturday night, sprint through our chores and spend the day playing, building tipis or otherwise goofing off with the kids. Has to happen. But we also have to make time to parent throughout the week. It can’t be all work. But, for those times when it is all work, it’s crucial that the kids know their contribution is appreciated…that it’s not just busy work. Julie too.

  3. Beautiful accolade to Julie. Not only have you found a rare gem in Julie, you have one upped George Henderson. In the closing of the Preface to the Second Edition of the Farm Ladder John Cherrington writes “But whatever happens in future farming there will always be chances for young men with no assets other than a determination to get on. This book should help them, but to the advice given I would add that in later life George Henderson admitted to one supreme mistake, and that was that he had not married earlier.” Don’t forget to take Julie out for date night this month lol !

    • Thanks Kari. I am really enjoying Henderson right now. I am savoring Farming Ladder. We have two physical copies of it and the Kindle edition. When I get to Farmer’s Progress I won’t have the Kindle option. That’s going to stink. It is so nice just to read a little snippit here or there when I get the chance.

      We’ll be out as a family soon to see the new Captain America movie. A new Mario Kart game comes out in May…that will keep us bound together on hot days. Dates are harder. Maybe a night in the pasture together with an expectant cow…

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