Tag Archives: Husband

Know-It-All

Grade 9. English class. The assignment? An essay on something we wanted to do with our lives. The mark? C.

I was a straight A student – how could *I* get a C???

With no small sense of indignation I approached the teacher and asked this very question. His response? “You didn’t use enough big words.”

“Well,” I thought, “I’ll show him!” That night after I got home from one of the many activities I was involved with, I sat down with my dad’s big ole dictionary. I looked up every word in my original essay, replaced it with a bigger word, and dropped the revised essay on the teacher’s desk the next morning.

My new mark? D.

With a sense of indignation rivaled by few, I approached the teacher and demanded to know why I had now received a D – after all, I had used *plenty* of big words this time, hadn’t I? Turns out he didn’t believe that I knew the meaning of all of them.

“Try me,” I said.

Word after word he gave me. Word after word I gave him the definition. Finally, he came to the word ‘repose’. “Oh, that one’s easy,” said I. “It’s what you do all day with your feet up on your desk when you’re supposed to be teaching us.”

I never knew a man’s face could turn so many different colours. But I did get my A after all.

Looking back, there were certainly better ways I could have handled the situation, especially now that I am a teacher that has experienced the joy and frustration of having know-it-alls in my own classes. But in my early teenage years, with a teacher who was using all the new-fangled teaching methods (such as group work!) and with my then-photographic memory that worked a lot better with book work, I felt a lot of frustration. I remember very clearly sitting down one week and memorizing my Grade 5 health book, and memorizing piano pieces came so easily that I often could play up to about a Grade 8 or 9 level without much practice at all.

There is, however, a difference between a know-it-all and an insufferable know-it-all.

My husband is a good example of this. He is a true polymath, a person of great and varied learning. But he doesn’t like to broadcast too much about that. While much of the Western world spends their free time watching television and sports and seeking general entertainment, he loves to study. Besides studying languages, some of his hobbies include astronomy, deciphering an ancient script, and mathematics. As in, linear algebra, LaPlace transformations, and other higher level math – he once approached the mathematics faculty at a local university with a problem he was having trouble with, only to discover that they couldn’t do it either! He writes magazine articles about history, politics, economics, and academic papers on semiology, little known languages, other subjects. He writes fantasy and science fiction novels for fun. There is not much that he doesn’t know something about. Our daily conversations often sound like a lecture hall or roundtable discussion, and are informative, interesting, and just what I love.

I was raised to always strive to do my best. I used to use the results as a standard against which I could measure others. But I don’t anymore. Now I always try to do my best because I want to be the best that I can be, regardless of what anyone else is doing. I was once told by a principal in a school that I worked at that I should try to be less enthusiastic because I was making the other teachers feel bad! But that’s not me – I love learning. I have taken courses at eight universities or colleges, studied at least ten languages, and am always looking for more skills that I can learn – in the past few years I have started painting, drawing, and knitting, for example, and I just started taking some classes in statistics and analysis in educational psychology. Indeed, in my faith we are encouraged to get as much education as we can.

I have had people tell me over the years that I was a know-it-all – and they meant an insufferable one. I know my grade 9 teacher probably thought so, and if I knew how to find him I would probably offer him an apology for the hard times I gave the poor man.

But, I am not a know-it-all any longer. I have incontrovertible proof – I only got 99.48% in my stats class.

(I didn’t say I wasn’t still insufferable!)

The Kind of Guy My Husband Is

Shortly before I left Pennsylvania my husband and I were working on a project late one evening. We had come to a part that I could do on my own, and he declared that he thought he should lie down for awhile, not to go to bed but just to rest. An hour or so later, I woke him so that he could complete his portion of the project.

By the time he had finished, he was exhausted. I commented that he looked very tired and that he should go to bed. He was reluctant to do so – there were so many things he could be doing. I replied that he was obviously tired and needed to rest. He began to state that he didn’t know why he was so tired when a light of sudden realization came to him – he had given a blessing that day. “Actually, two blessings,” I smiled. He pondered that for a moment, having forgotten momentarily about the blessing he had given me that morning before my last medical procedure, before commenting that he always felt drained after giving a blessing, so two blessings had literally wiped him out.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy that shows up at work to find a member of his previous ward waiting patiently outside his office, hoping that my husband would consent to give him a blessing. There are dozens of other men this brother could have called upon for a blessing, several of whom who would have gone to his house if given a phone call, causing little disruption to his day. Instead, he chose to sit outside my husband’s office and wait just in case he showed up. Why? Because he knew from personal experience that my husband takes his priesthood responsibilities seriously.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who for seventeen years stayed in a marriage where his wife told him outright that she did not love him and under no circumstances wanted any more children. He stayed in that marriage until counselled by those in authority that this was an untenable situation. Even then, he left that ultimate decision up to her. Then, in an effort to ensure that his ex-wife had every opportunity to get her life together and be able to provide for her and their daughter, not only paid off her credit card balance of thousands of dollars but paid 111% more child support than he should have over a two year period. That’s right – 111% more than he should have. In other words, more than double. He even paid a little extra every month because the leaders of our church have encouraged fathers to be generous with child support payments. It was only when he became responsible for a new family that he sought to change these obligations. Why? Because it was in his daughter’s best interest that her mother be afforded every opportunity to find work, get her life together and learn to be a good mother to their daughter, and because he took very seriously the sacred covenants he had made with her and with Heavenly Father when they knelt across the altar in the holy temple.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who worries that he will not be able to be much of a father figure for his new eighteen year old step-daughter. He knows that her experiences of fatherhood both in and out of the church have been less than ideal. He knows that he cannot undo years of hurt and disappointment by others. He knows that now that she is an adult there will be few opportunities for her to experience a loving Latter-day Saint home with parents who work together to support each other and raise their children in righteousness. But he does what he can, inviting her for family prayer and family scripture study, calling her just to chat about things the two of them have in common, sending her interesting news tidbits via email. Why? Because he doesn’t want that branch of our family line to dwindle in unbelief, and he knows how much it means to me that he does these things.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who even before our marriage started showing how much he cares for me by staying with me in the hospital most of the day before our wedding, who immediately added me to his health care benefits as soon as we were married, who made arrangements for me to see doctors this summer and have treatments that would have taken months and months to have performed at home. Even when medication and pain turned me into an ogre he was right there next to me, tending to my every need, and doing little things to cheer me up. Were there rough patches in those first two months? Of course. But he stood by me and stuck with me. Why? Because husbands take care of their wives no matter what.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who takes his spirituality very seriously. So, having decided at age sixteen that he wanted to join our church he respected his parents’ wishes that he wait a little while before doing so, but continued to attend and learn and study. Once baptized, he served a mission where he was made a zone leader because of his abilities. And then, about ten years ago, was appointed president of a small branch overseas where his leadership resulted in a six hundred and fifty percent increase in members. Why? Because once he takes responsibility for something, he sticks with it until he has done the very best he can to fulfil his responsibilities pleasingly and faithfully.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who goes all out in everything he does. It wasn’t enough to write a normal term paper like everyone else in university – he had to write a one hundred fifty page paper on an undeciphered script, which eventually became a major thesis paper that, over the past twenty years or so, has led to major developments in discovering the secrets of this forgotten language. It wasn’t enough to have an intense interest in economics and politics and history – he had to become a writer for a magazine that has published over one hundred eighty of his articles. It wasn’t enough to have a passing interest in beetles – he and his best friend decided to pool their respective collections to form a lending library of the over thirty thousand specimens that the two of them have collected over the years from around the world. Why? Because he knows that the glory of God is intelligence, and the best way to improve one’s intellectual ability is to share it with others.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who seeks not after recognition, preferring instead to be a slightly eccentric nobody. You won’t find his name on many of the articles he has written. You won’t find his name on a fantasy trilogy that he worked on for five years. You won’t find him doing book signings for the non-fiction books he has written. Why? Because he doesn’t want any of the immoral trappings that often come with fame and fortune.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who, having learned just how dysfunctional my previous relationships have been, told me that he thought I had never truly been honoured as a daughter of God, and wanted to be different from every other guy. Hence, while we did hold hands and give quick hugs before we were married, our first kiss was during out wedding ceremony in my parents’ backyard, with our children and parents and other loved ones watching. What a wonderful gift we were able to give our children in a world that worships immorality –the knowledge that our love was pure and chaste until we were husband and wife. Why? Because he knew that no one else in my life has treated me with such respect.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is.

He’s the kind of guy who in his wedding vows promised to uphold his sacred duties as the priesthood holder in our home by presiding over our family in love and righteousness, providing the necessities of life, and protecting our family. He takes these responsibilities very seriously, always trying to better himself, giving me his encouragement in everything I do, working hard to provide for his daughter and for our future, going without so that his loved ones lack for nothing, and taking martial arts. Why? Because for him there is nothing more important than ensuring his family is well-cared for and safe.

Because of the kind of guy my husband is, I had no qualms whatsoever taking him as my lawful wedded husband after a brief courtship, to have and to hold from that day forward as one who honours his priesthood and carries out his responsibilities pleasingly and faithfully. Because of the kind of guy my husband is, I trust him with all my heart and with all my mind. I look forward to the day when we can be sealed together for time and for all eternity in the holy temple. I know he longs for that day to come, too.

You see, that’s the kind of guy my husband is. And I love him for it.