Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Story About Marriage ...

Years and years ago ... we had a beautiful german shorthaired pointer named Katie. We got her when she was only 8 weeks old. The backstory to that is this:
Not long after Rich and I were married, I started really wanting a dog ... and making my requests known. Rich's response was pretty adamant that we would never get a dog. He went on to say that he is allergic to dogs ... and there was just no way we could have a dog. So ... I completely respected him and agreed that we should never have a dog ... ever.  (how many of you believe that is actually what I said?) That was actually what I wished that I had said.
What I actually said ... or more accurately whined ... is that surely you would get used to the dog after a while. I've heard that you can be allergic to cats or dogs ... but can get used to your own pet and not be allergic to it anymore.
It was an on going fight in our marriage for many months and no agreement was going to be made! I finally decided that I would just pray that either God would change his heart or mine.  I also silently made a decision that I would not mention the word dog again. About 6 months later, out of the blue, Rich said that he thought that we could start thinking about getting a dog. I was shocked! He went on to say ... as long as it's a german shorthaired pointer. About 3 months after that, we had our dog!

This dog that I had wanted for so long ... was Rich's dog. She adored Rich. He took great care of her and was very fond of her. As you can see from the picture above ... she thought she was a lap dog... all 80 pounds of her!

We got Katie as a newly married couple ... about a year and a half in ... It was a lot of fun to have a dog and I loved her like a child!(or at least thought I did ... until I had my first human child!) However, I have often thought of those conversations that Rich and I had about getting a dog and cannot believe how selfish that I was! It is quite clear that my desire for a dog was far greater than my concern for Rich. Now that we are almost 15 years into our marriage ... I can say without reservation ... that I would NEVER ask that of him now! I wouldn't consider it! I asked him to put aside the fact that if a dog even touches his skin, his skin becomes inflamed ... and put aside the fact that dogs make him sneeze and sniffle ... and put aside the fact that dogs make his eyes watery and miserable! I did that! He, on the other hand, just wanted me to be happy. He did put all of those things aside because he thought that getting me a dog would make me happy. His was sacrificial love. Mine was just pure selfishness.

Marriage is a journey, though. I am pretty sure we never really get "there". There is no question that there are good days and bad days, bumps along the way, and many lessons to be learned ... especially in the area of laying down your life. Sacrifice. I will still make some terribly selfish mistakes, but I also know that I will learn from them and hopefully not make them again. (although I am sure I'll find new ones to make) I have thought a lot about our dog over the years...and while I am thankful that she brought us many years of joy...I am even more thankful that I have learned from what I went through to get her.

Philippians 2:3-4
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

I'd love to hear from you on this relevant topic! Have you struggled in laying down your own desires?


  1. I remember your dog. I remember a little of the story about how you got her, but I guess not all of it.
    What a good lesson this story teaches.

  2. I have struggled with this myself and am learning that if I just leave the issue alone except to pray about it, God will take care of it. I still sometimes forget to act on what I have learned though. Thank you for this reminder.