He was never much of a reader, although I read to him often. When he traveled, I’d send him off with cassette tapes… You know what those are, right? They’re rectangular things a little bigger than a deck of cards with reels and ribbon inside, ribbon that inevitably became a tangled mess.
On those tapes I’d recorded myself reading a story.
Because I had some odd notion he’d want to listen to my slightly overly dramatized voice for twelve or thirteen hours.
Poor guy. But he never complained, and he always returned.
One day I decided to try storytelling. I had no thought of publication. I wrote for enjoyment, a way to unleash all the words that had built while folding laundry and raising our daughter. So what’d my over-tired, over-worked, slightly stressed, railroad director husband do?
I know what he wanted to do–zone out to ESPN. But he didn’t. Rather, he’d snatched up our giggly, energetic daughter, and whisk me upstairs so I could work on a very exciting political espionage story.
Yeah, so it wasn’t so exciting, and no, you’ll never see it in print, (thank goodness!) although it did scare me into calling the cops . (Don’t ask. Okay, do. I’ll share the details in the comments. :) )
Fast forward to last October, and I received my first novel contract. I bet you know who I told first–the man who stood beside me, believed in me, and saw a future for me in this writing industry long before the notion flashed on my radar. When everyone else called it a hobby, long before I’d earned a dime, my husband treated it like a career.
Do you have any idea how empowering, how inspiring that was? In case not, I’ll tell you. It inspired me to keep on going even when computers crashed, hard critiqued came, and characters fell flat.
And thus, my genre–missional romance–was born. Because I wouldn’t be published today, wouldn’t be serving in the places I am period, if not for my husband. From children’s ministry to outreach to this thing called writing, we’re a team. (In fact, he helped develop the storyline of my sophomore novel, scheduled to release sometime in 2015. Now that was romantic!)
Isn’t that what true love is about? We’ve heard it so much, it’s become cliché, but for a reason. True love, as God designed it, should bring out the best in another.
To bring out our lover’s best, we must engage, as my husband’s done with me.
Isn’t that what we long for, ladies? For our husbands to become engaged in that which is important to us?
But before you’re tempted to think, “Why doesn’t my husband do that for me???” allow God to flip things for a moment, taking the focus off of you and placing it where it belongs, on Him and your loved ones.
Ask yourself, how might God want me to show that kind of love to my spouse? How can I encourage, uplift, and support him, regardless of how valuable I find the event or if I think anything will come of it?
There are countless ways we can bring out the best in our husband. Here’s my suggestions. I’d love if you’d share yours. :)
*Speak words of praise and encouragement rather than nagging and criticise.
*Focus on our spouse’s potential rather than their faults.
*Support their “hobbies” even if they seem a waste of time and in so doing. Perhaps even go a step further by joining them! You might even surprise yourself by having fun, and you’ll make him feel like a king in the process.
Beautiful post, Jennifer! And a great tag of application in the end. Wow!
Jennifer Slattery says
Thanks, Pepper! Love that man! As writers, I’m pretty sure we all have cheerleaders and laundry folders standing behind us. It reminds me of the body of Christ: some are writers, some are readers, some are editors, some are grocery shoppers… :)
Jennifer, this is so wonderful that your husband is so supportive of you, and you of him. What a great lesson this will teach your daughter. My husband has been supportive of everything I have wanted to pursue, from teaching flute lessons, to doll collecting, to getting my Real Estate certification, to writing. He is so supportive, that he suggested we take a writing class, together. He said he wants to write Historical Mysteries.
I try my best to encourage my husband. I remind him that he is VERY good at his job, by referencing his glowing annual reviews, I do encourage his hobbies, I even crash my computer from time to time, so he can come to the rescue, and fix it, since he’s a computer guy. (OK…I never crash the computer on purpose, I’m just real good at accidentally doing the wrong thing.) Over the years, John has wanted to try projects to bring more income into the house. Some were great successes, and others were flops. However, no matter what, I was behind him, giving my full support the entire time. I fully believe that if we want our husbands to be successful, we MUST give them our 100% full support. When they doubt our support, they tend to also doubt their abilities, which can lead to their lack of success. Of course, when John mentioned that he also has thought about writing for a while, I fully encouraged that endeavor. I also simply tell him I love him, for no reason, at least once, daily. (usually more.) He knows, but he says he never tires of hearing it.
One last thing…if that photo of the man and child is YOUR man and child, it’s GREAT! What an adorable child!!!
Jennifer Slattery says
What a precious, intimate marriage you have! I believe that is what God intended, and I believe when we are encouraging and uplifting one another, God receives great joy. :) That is so wonderful your husband wants to try his hand at writing! I imagine you two will have great fun together! Any future plans of attending a conference together? That would strike me as being incredibly romantic. :)
Yes, that picture is of my husband and daughter, who is now sixteen! Wow, where did the time go??? But I still think she’s adorable and precious. :) Both of them.
I totally agree. I haven’t looked into writing conferences, yet. We have attended marriage conferences at our former church, before. We also took pre-marital classes through that same church. I recommend those for everyone, before marriage. Cuts out so many arguments, before they start.
Jennifer Slattery says
Good for you! We’ve been to a few marriage conferences. In fact, we recently went to Family Life’s “The Art of Marriage.” It was so great to take time to reconnect, re-evaluate, and re-prioritize! :) I’ll be (God willing) at the ACFW conference in September. If you decide to go to a conference, check that one out, and if you go, let me know, and I’ll keep an eye out for you. :)
Faithful Acres Books says
I loved this ! In the beginning of our marriage I Went fishing with DH Mark and Did what he loved to do. Today since here all we seem to catch are little fish its sorta boring but I take a good book and read while he fishes.
He tries to support me , asks me how things are coming, helps me with words to use instead of the ones I keep using. And he helps with house chores which is the biggest help to me. I tell him daily, several times a day that I love him and I am going to work on the praise more. thank you for sharing to encourage…smile
Faithful Acres Books
http://www.faithfulacres.net ( work in progress)
Jennifer Slattery says
That is so beautiful, and what a relaxing and romantic outing that sounds like, with him fishing and you reading, both of you basking in the warmth of God’s sun. :) I find most anything done outdoors with my hubby incredibly romantic. I love picnics, though we haven’t gone on one in a while. In Nebraska, where I live, there’s a chunk of time where it’s either too hot or too cold to linger outside, but we’re bringing out the patio furniture this week. Woo-hoo!
As an aside, for years now I’ve had this image of the two of us when he retires. In it, we are at a house on a lake in a remote area, and he’s on the porch whittling while I’m sitting beside him typing away at my computer. :) Probably won’t happen except on vacation, but for some reason this image continues to surface in my mind.
Cathy Bryant says
Jen, thank you for the beautiful post! I too have been blessed with a wonderfully supportive husband, and though I don’t always succeed, I try to reciprocate. To me, that is one of the greatest aspects of marriage: lovingly supporting each other. I tend to get lost in my work as an author. It’s hubby who will bring me food or a drink! So thanks again for the reminder of how blessed we are!
Jennifer Slattery says
It sounds like your husband is a sweetie! I agree with your thoughts on marriage. :) I can get lost in my writing, too. It helps to set a timer, but I also often ask my husband to remind me of the time. We try to set aside a half hour in the evening to spend together, and to help make this happen, we’ve determined a time. So, when I pick up my computer after dinner, I’ll often ask him to let me know when it’s getting near 7:30, in case I get distracted. I hope this lets him know that although I’m easily distracted by my work, he truly is my priority. :)
Okay, I’m going to ask. How did you scare yourself into calling the cops?
Jennifer Slattery says
Hahaha. Well, we were living in southern California at the time, and I was working on a tense story that involved conspiracy stories, border patrols, etc. That morning a friend took our daughter to her house for a “play date”, so I used the time to write. An hour in, helicopters started circling overhead, saying something with a loud speaker. I couldn’t catch what they were saying, but I had the notion that perhaps they were on the look-out for someone.
So, I kept writing, already spooked. Then, being a writer, I got utterly swept up in the story I was writing until I was no longer the writer but had merged to become my main character.
We had double doors on our bedroom that led to a catwalk like banister, and we had really tall ceilings. I had the windows open downstairs and the sliding glass door the back yard and our front door open (I love the smell and feel of fresh air!). Anyway, needing a break, I went downstairs and outside to our back yard (which was completely cement–southern california, you know. ;) Although we did have fruit trees in planters).
The french doors slammed shut, which alerted my attention, although that wasn’t uncommon when the wind circulated our home. But then I heard a jiggling, as if someone was trying to open the door. The more I listened, the more I heard someone moving around upstairs!
I dashed into the kitchen, grabbed the cordless phone, and called my husband, still listening to the copious sounds upstairs. I think I got his voice mail, though I don’t remember. Well, I kept listening to this and to the helicopter circling overhead and soon convinced myself whatever escaped convict the authorities were looking for had come into my house and was hiding in my upstairs bedroom! So I did the only logical thing I could think of, I ran to the front of our house (as our backyard was fenced by a six-foot brick wall, making me feel trapped) and called the police. They came in under five minutes, at least four squad cars, and a pack of uniformed, armed men came to my door. They quickly asked questions like if anyone was in the house, if I had a boyfriend, etc. Then, a string of them marched up the stairs, announcing themselves.
Meanwhile, I waited in the front yard. Not long after, one of them came out to me, told me there was no one in our house, then showed me how the wind rattled our bedroom’s french doors.
Sigh. It was highly embarrassing, but they were quite kind about it.
Oh mercy! I would have probably done the same thing. Don’t feel bad. We have a house security system. While we also keep it on during the day, of course, it’s on at night, as we sleep. Lately, our back sliding door keeps losing it’s connection, but only during heavy winds…of course, during the middle of the night. Absolutely, the alarm goes off, sounding like a pterodactyl! The first time it happened, my brother was sleeping on the couch downstairs, in sight of the door. The master bedroom is upstairs, so we were relieved when he yelled up that all was fine. Still scared a year off my life, and probably gave a few gray hair. Well…It happened again, last night. No one on the couch, this time. UGH! John checked the house, but we were both shaking. Gotta get that fixed.
Jennifer Slattery says
Oh, my! That is funny! I’m picturing your brother, jolted awake, bracing himself for an intruder. lol.
As a funny aside, this past weekend we hosted a group of eighth grade girls from our church. Trying to be pre-emptive in case any got the silly notion to try to sneak out, I told them we had an alarm system, that our doors chimed whenever they opened, and that I was a very light sleeper. Well, Saturday night their small group leaders took them to an event that didn’t get over until late, so hubby and I went to bed, though we kept the front door unlocked. Sure enough, when they came in, the door chimed and one of the girls grew quite worried, “Oh, no! We set off the alarm.”
I’m happy to say, we had no escapees all weekend!
Andrea Cox says
Y’all are making my sides hurt with all this laughter! Very hilarious.
Hallee Bridgeman says
I love this. My husband is my partner in all of my publishing. We are a team and I couldn’t do it without him.
Narelle Atkins says
Lovely post, Jennifer! My husband is my biggest supporter. I remember his surprise a few years ago when one of my writing friends told him how great it was that he was supportive of my writing. He didn’t realise that many writers aren’t supported by their spouses, or the support doesn’t happen until after they start making money from their writing.