A few weeks ago after my Saturday run, I came around the sidewalk curve heading into our cove. I was exhausted and disgustingly sweaty because August in Memphis means heat and humidity to the nth degree. In my training for the marathon, I was at the half-way point in distance having just finished 13.1 miles. And as I rounded the corner, I saw my girls, one with her pink princess night gown and some awesome bed head and the other with legs flapping out of sheer excitement. And holding the little one was my husband, my best friend and my #1 fan. He had a pom pom (my big girl did too, of course) waving it wildly in the air. The moment I locked eyes with him, tears welled up.
It was such a literal representation of the way he cheers me on every day, a memory I’ll treasure forever. This morning during my run, I was listening to the podcast of last week’s episode of the Andy Savage Show. As we ended the show, Andy challenged listeners to not let anyone speak more highly of your spouse than you. Not the people at the office, not the people at the gym, not the barista whipping up espressos. No one should speak more highly of Matt than me. This is why it matters that I listen when he tells me about the new client. This is why it matters that I notice how hard he’s been working. This is why it matters that I tell him how good he looks. This is why I kiss him as he walks out the door in the morning and again when he comes in the door every evening.
Matt and I know a little something about fair-weather fans versus real fans. While it’s fun to be a Bama fan now after three national championships in four years (Roll Tide!) this was not the case when we were in school. Real fans are the ones who sit through five overtimes during the Tennessee/Bama game while it is raining cats and dogs (or Smokeys and Elephants) only to wind up losing the game. Real fans wear crimson and white and anything houndstooth even when you lose to a Div II school. Real fans leave the stadium hoarse no matter what the scoreboard reads.
Being my husband’s biggest fan means encouraging him no matter what. When the preacher said for better or worse, he meant it. It’s easy to tell ourselves, “I’ll encourage him as soon as he encourages me.” Whenever I’m tempted to fall into this trap, I think back to Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait until we were lovable to love us. He didn’t wait until I got my act together to rescue me. I’m called to love my husband in the same way. I don’t cheer for him because he’s perfect. I cheer for him because he’s my favorite. Because he’s my team. And because I love him.
A short text, a little note in his work bag, cooking his favorite meal for dinner… it doesn’t have to be big. But sometimes the little things, like coming around the corner to your own personal cheering section, leave the biggest impression.