Why I’m Still Married and What That Could Mean for You: Valentine’s Day edition

Why I’m Still Married and What That Could Mean for You: Valentine’s Day edition

Today is the 14th anniversary of my husband singing me Steven Curtis Chapman’s, “I Will Be Here,” and asking the greatest rhetorical question imaginable: “Will you marry me?”



He says I never actually answered him, and I say attitude, body language, and decibel level should have been enough. On that day I still had a lot to learn about Ted the Grace-a-holic-I Have to Pass Every Possible Scenario Through My Mind Before Responding-Boykin. I’m amazed at how much some good, sistah-ly advice did for me in those early years. Maybe it will do the same for you.


So in honor of Valentine’s Day and other potential massacres, I thought I’d repost this favorite from last spring:



So glad someone beat me over the head about giving my husband the benefit of the doubt early on in our marriage. He’s one of those deep thinkers who conceives ideas in his flowery, sensitive right brain, but who expresses those ideas through his matter-of-fact, pragmatic left brain.




And on top of that, there’s usually an uncomfortably long pause after he begins to express himself (presumably when he realizes the potential harm in what he has already said), followed by a brief fixer-upper statement. It usually goes something like this: After I married my wife I realized she was nothing like the woman I thought I had married . . . (super long pause) . . . I realized she was so much more. 



Feeling my pain? For at least 7 of our nearly 14 years of marriage, I bit my tongue, curled my toes, and plotted his death through those “super long pauses.” I often felt insulted or hurt. Giving my husband the benefit of the doubt was something I had to do intentionally–like putting a block on channel 58 to avoid watching CSPAN by accident when I was too lazy to get up and get the remote.



Now, all these years later, I don’t even tune into the highly-ignitable stuff that precedes those long pauses. I just perk up my ears to make sure I don’t miss the heart of my husband in what he says after the pauses.



And I’m usually glad I did.

Sherry Boykin

Sherry Boykin, the founder of Faith and Tales, is a storyteller and chronic believer in the power of faith narratives to change lives. She uses biblical and personal accounts to help women move beyond their obstacles, glean fresh perspectives on life, and to live differently as a result. Her experiences in urban and suburban ministries, Peruvian Amazon jungle missions, long-term singleness, marriage and family, and men's dorm-living shape her life and provide a colorful backdrop from which to share the Word of God. Sherry is the author of But-Kickers: Growing Your Faith Bigger Than Your But and she has been interviewed for articles in Time, The New York Times, and Better Homes and Gardens.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Love this, Sherry! I often remind myself that in 20 years whatever-it-is is not gonna matter. The benefit of the doubt is a great benefit for both of us!

    1. Vonda, I can’t tell you how many times the benefit of the doubt has kept me from having to be fingerprinted . . . just sayin’!

  2. Yep – giving slow-talkin’ yet wonderful husbands the benefit of the doubt is GOOD advice!

    1. Yeah, Kim–and I’ll bet giving the benefit of the doubt to comedian husbands add a whole new perspective to the issue!

  3. So needed to hear this! I married a man whose words are few, but so profound, if I would only stop my mouth and my mind long enough to hear them! Happy Valentine’s to you, my friend!

    1. I know what you mean, Julie. I can just hear myself actually talking OVER my husband’s words at times . . . Hmmmm!

  4. I guess I’m the “pauser” in our family! Complementary communication styles seem to work both ways!! Your post made me smile-again, Sherry!

  5. My husband is the diplomat. He knows how to say the right thing. I’m the one with my foot in my mouth!

  6. I can so relate! Thanks for sharing. Just now learning how to give the benefit when inside I’m still screaming about my stepped on toes. Our seeing our potentially warped perspective is so crucial and remembering that even if we are correct in our discernment or assumptions, God’s got our back with a bigger picture of working it out well for both of us. Congratulations!

    1. Oh, yeah, Laura–don’t even let me get started on “my stepped on toes” or any other threats to my warped sense of justice!

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