Two weeks ago, on July 3, Amy Reed Jackson, age 36, died after a 2 1/2 month battle with a rare form of cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma. She left behind six children and an adoring husband. Her husband’s blog, Kisses for Amy, came to my attention yesterday and hit me broadside.
This is what Amy’s husband Gary wrote a week before she died:
“I know that there are not nearly as many men who will read this as there are women, but to those who do, I would like to share a little advice with you that might help you to strengthen your marriage.
“Always take your wife into your arms each and every morning and each and every night and tell her how much she means to you. Don’t assume that she knows you love her—tell her. Show her by doing little things to surprise her. Bring home her favorite candy bar when you come home from work just so she knows you were thinking about her. Call her out of the blue during the day and tell her you love her. Tell her something about her that you appreciate each day. Think of all the little things you love about her and share them with her. Share a new reason each day.
“Don’t ever think of things that you wish she would improve on, or how you wish she were different in some ways. Always find ways to make her feel like she is your queen. Think of all the things you would miss about her if she were taken from you suddenly, and be grateful for them and show her your gratitude.
“Don’t try to change her: treat her like she is your everything and either change will come because she will want to show you her appreciation in return, or, more likely, you will learn to look past her faults and understand that she is only human and almost as imperfect as you.
“I know that I directed this to the husbands because I am one, and I suppose I speak from experience as a husband, but I guess that this advice could be just as good for all of you women as well.”
I know how easy it is to get caught in the inconvenient, gut wrenching trials of everyday living, but what if you only had three months left with your wife? What if your wife came home from a doctor’s appointment diagnosed with an aggressive, terminal disease?
I guarantee it would change your outlook.
This happened to me (my wife had a serious, life-threatening illness, though not cancer) but the difference was, I got my wife back. And that changed me forever.
To tell you the truth, I am so glad it happened because it opened my eyes, wide. We nearly lost everything because of it, but what we have left are the riches you can take with you into the next life. Isn’t that what we came here to find anyway?
I just wish all the husbands I knew could understand one thing: If you would love your wife the way she wants and deserves to be loved, 98 percent of the little annoying problems in your relationship with her would simply go away. (This is not guaranteed to work in every relationship. I’ll address this in my next blog post.)
Period. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
What’s the best thing I came away with from my own experience?
I no longer take my wife for granted. Not for a minute.
And I believe it is my number one job in life to love her the way she wants and deserves to be loved.
Love is an act of faith. It will pay you back. I promise you it will.