Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Another reason I love Ben:

He puts up with my taste for kitsch.

See, Ben appreciates sophistication. He likes to sip expensive coffees from tall mugs, and scotch from short glass tumblers. He likes homes that are clean and modern. He likes fancy cars. He’s always dreamed about working in a high-rise building, wearing a suit, surrounded by framed architectural drawings on the walls. He appreciates leather couches and classy jazz music.

So when I found a gold Christmas tree on discount during Boxing Week when we were engaged, I thought for sure he wouldn’t go for it.

I have a soft spot for kitschy stuff. I actually didn’t even know what the word “kitsch” meant until recently, when I looked it up on Wikipedia. The first thing I saw pictured on the page was a garden gnome, presented as a prime example of kitsch. And I thought to myself, “Ahh . . . so that’s the name for the stuff I like.”

I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a thing for tacky stuff. Like my gnome collection, or my oversized, sombrero-wearing, stuffed frog Helen. That kind of stuff just gives me the jollies. In moderation, of course.


I think I was about twelve when I first saw a silver Christmas tree, featured on Family Matters. I decided at that very moment that I would someday have a silver Christmas tree. When I got older I started to doubt whether I’d ever come across such a rare marvel. And then I stumbled upon the “auburn wonder,” six feet tall, on sale for only $40 at Sears. I had to have it. I had to have a gold Christmas tree. But I was scared to bring it up with Ben.

When I did, he just said, “Sure. Where can you get it from?”

We drove to the mall and picked it up that weekend. We also came across some other mind-blowingly awesome accessories, the purchasing of which Ben wholeheartedly supported.

I don’t know why he agreed to it. It’s totally not his style. But he could see how important it was to me, so he just let it slide. In fact, he lets me get away with almost all my decorating fancies. He let me paint our living room “lively lime” (yes, that’s the actual name of the paint colour).  He lets me put up a miniature gold tree up downstairs for the gnomes. He occasionally lets me bring Helen out of her closet. OK, so he’s not totally accepting of Helen. But he hasn’t burned her in the fire pit yet like he keeps threatening, so that’s something.

I appreciate that he’s willing to make those kinds of sacrifices for me. Because he knows they’re important to me.

Every year, now, instead of having to dread the supremely frustrating and rather pointless tradition  of putting up a Christmas tree, I have something to look forward to. I still dislike the process of stringing the lights and getting the ribbon to go around it nicely, but I do it anyway out of my passionate love for the “evergold.”  We have the rock-awesomest Christmas tree in the world, I’m pretty sure. To allow you the full effect, I will now present to you a video of the Seventh Wonder of the World: the Quiring Residence Golden Christmas Tree.

[OK, crap. You may have noticed that that’s not a video. I can’t seem to upload my video footage no matter what I do. So I’ll have to just describe it to you. *Sigh.* The tree has a special base, into which we can plug the lights. It comes with a Santa-shaped remote. With the press of a button on the remote, you can control the lights – on or off. Another button makes the tree slowly rotate. And a third button plays an ear-shattering medley of pingy-sounding Christmas songs, from “Jingle Bells” to “Deck the Halls.” It is a wonder to behold. It is a shame I couldn’t share it here.]

What kinds of idiosyncracies does you spouse tolerate from you just to keep the peace? Or, if you’re not married, what kinds of things do you hope your spouse will tolerate? What kinds of junk do you put up with  for the sake of love?

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#4. His Courage. Honestly, this was one of the most important characteristics for me when I first met Ben. It’s what separated him from all the other boys. In fact, it’s what made him a man in my eyes. Ben was nineteen when he stepped into my life and “swept me off my feet” (as the saying goes) before I knew what was happening to me. My heart was his before I even made a conscious decision to give it to him.

I hardly even knew Ben when he asked me to accompany him to the church’s Young Adults Christmas banquet. He was new to my church and we had hardly spoken. I was still in high school and in the church youth group while he was already working full time and attending the young adults’ Bible study. We’d only had one casual conversation at a birthday party, in which I had given Ben my email address. We exchanged one or two friendly emails and then out of nowhere he called me on my cell phone – he’d gotten my number from a mutual friend – and asked me on a date. At the banquet he told me I was pretty and gave me a flower he’d purchased for me. Three dates later he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was utterly smitten.

This was a big deal coming from a community that tended to wait eight years before dating. All the other boys I knew dilly-dallied with friendships and feeble flirtation for months on end. They never got around to asking me or any of the other girls out. I think it’s pretty common in conservative Christian circles: young people think they have to be friends for a decade or two before they can date. It takes guys forever to finally feel right about asking a girl out. And girls think they are absolutely prohibited against making the first move so they sit around and wait for three eternities. It’s pretty lame if you ask me. I hated it.

In many Christian circles, a lot of young people think they need to be mature enough in their “walk with God” before they can ask out the guy or girl they like. They believe they need to get audible confirmation from God that they ought to be with the person. They feel they need to be absolutely certain that the guy or girl they like is the one they are going to marry before they can date. They need to know the other person thoroughly and on a friend level before they can even see a movie together.

Also, I find that a lot of Christian guys are a teensy bit wussy. At least the guys I knew back then were. They always had to be absolutely certain that the girl would say yes before they would ask. They had no sense of gallantry. They just waited and waited and waited, hoping to slowly “friend” their way into their ladies’ hearts. Maybe they were hoping that they would slowly become their beloved’s boyfriend without her realizing what was happening. They seemed to believe that if they sat next to the right girl enough times at youth group she would eventually become his girlfriend. At any rate, there was very little risk-taking going on and a whole lot of waiting. It was exhausting to be pursued by a guy. It was often a two-year-plus enterprise.

But not for Ben. He didn’t wait around to find out from someone else whether or not I would accept his advances. He didn’t sit around until I knew him like a brother before asking me if he could be my boyfriend. He just went for it. He took a risk. He was courageous. And I fell hard.

Even now, I love Ben’s bold, go-get-’em attitude. He’s not reckless or irresponsible – he always thinks through his decisions before he makes them – but he also doesn’t dawdle unnecessarily, either. He doesn’t sit around and worry. When he found the house he thought was right for us, he went ahead and bought it. When he decides he wants to pursue a friendship with another guy at church, Ben gives him a call. When he decides he would like to learn about something, he signs up for a course at the college. He doesn’t waste time fretting over whether or not he’ll be able to pull it off, or worrying what others will think. He acts.

This is such an attractive quality for someone as indecisive and timid as me. He’s so daring and brave in comparison. I love it. It’s such a masculine quality and it just makes me wild.

I’m not sure if “courage” is the most accurate word for this — perhaps you have a better suggestion? — but “valour” seemed a little archaic and over-dramatic.  So there you have it.  My courageous Ben.

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Reasons I Love Ben

I fear I may have been misrepresenting Ben a little in this blog.  He’s been really good about it all, but he has mentioned that I seem to be portraying him as something of an ape.  I don’t remember if he used the word “ape” but I distinctly remember him lifting his shoulders and lumbering around Neanderthal-style when describing the kind of person he seemed to be in my blog. “Duh . . . I don’t know how to make toast,” drawled blog-Ben.

So I decided to highlight some of his better qualities.  I’m compiling a list of Reasons I Love Ben. There are innumerable reasons, of course, and I could probably devote this entire blog to documenting the reasons I think my husband is awesome.  But that would get pretty dull pretty fast.  So here are just a couple of reasons I think Ben is fantastic.  They are just some of the reasons I find him attractive or enjoyable to live with, or things that make him special to me.   I plan to add more items to my list periodically in the future.

#1: His smell.  Ben is incapable of stinking – I swear!  I wouldn’t believe it myself if I hadn’t experienced it first-hand for the last six years. He always smells like clean laundry fresh out of the dryer, even after a long day of work.  It’s like his mom’s constant use of scented fabric softener converted his very genetic structure – as if all those years of clean smells absorbed into his skin and bonded to his DNA so that he now sweats Downy’s  Mountain Spring.  I actually love to follow him when hiking through the woods so I can bask in his delightful, Airy Fresh smell.  It’s like following the Snuggle Bear through a trail of April clouds and lavender-scented rainbows.

#2: He can do anything. Seriously, this man can master anything he puts his mind to.  He can build anything, from kitchen cabinets to birdhouses to bookcases.  He even built his own shed complete with cement foundation and attractive pine siding.  It even has electricity.  He can tear out a bathtub and install a new one and complete all the plumbing himself.  He can write and perform his own songs.  He can install light fixtures.  He can replace old windows.  He can paint a car.  He can raise the sunken floor of a house.  He can lead a church in singing.  Man, I can’t even list all the stuff he can do because I don’t even understand what he has done half the time.  I just know I come home every so often and find that there’s a new program installed on our computer or the front door has been replaced or the car has been fixed so it doesn’t make that weird sound anymore when I turn left.  Not only is he highly skilled, but he’s incredibly hard-working.  You can’t stop this guy.  He is always fixing or building or creating something.  If he’s not, he’s practicing on his guitar or reading heavy theology.  I admire him immensely.

#3: His humble willingness to battle the spawn of Satan (a.k.a. arachnids) on my behalf.  Ben will kill a spider for me any time of day without making a big production out of it.  I will half-throw myself down the stairs in a fit of hysterics, yelling “OH CRAP KILL THE MONSTER IT ALMOST GOT ME,” and he will always, without question, go up and squash the beast and then return without a word.  When he’s afraid of stuff that doesn’t bother me (like needles), I will always make a big deal of it, making myself out to be some kind of hero; but Ben never does the same for me.  He just accepts my phobias for what they are – irrational fears of harmless things – and makes life easier for me by getting rid of them.  What a guy.

That’s it for now.  The next you hear from me, I will probably be making fun of Ben again.  But I am actually a real softy for the guy, I gotta admit.

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