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Cherish: An Excerpt on Marriage

CHERISH (an excerpt from Alter Girl)

Within the overarching sacrament of marriage, I’ve been delighted throughout the years to discover all the additional sacraments tucked inside. One that my sisters and I happily share are husbands who make up for our lack of navigational skills. The Bertolini girls just plain missed out on the directional gene. We aren’t proud of this, but even with GPS (which we don’t fully trust, as it, too, has gotten us lost), we can easily get lost in our neighborhoods despite having the same addresses for years. We know we can call our mates, ask frantically, “Where am I?” and get pointed in the right direction. Like Jesus, our husbands are patron saints of the perpetually lost; they’re good at finding their lost-sheep wives. It’s just one way they cherish and support us.

Throughout his business career, Dean has been satisfied with number-two roles. He likes being in the background and is content to work without recognition, beautifully embodying this exhortation from Paul:

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it…Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle (Romans 12:10).

One of Dean’s early bosses and mentors told me Dean’s the guy he’d want in a foxhole with him. I can see why. Dean is trustworthy, loyal, protective. I’ve never doubted that he has my back. But, to be honest, his second fiddle–playing often irritates me. I roll my eyes at his contentment with understated anonymity. I want Dean to be recognized. But when I say so, it’s his turn to roll his eyes. “None of that matters, Andrea.”

Dean and I have been business partners for two decades, and our roles are purposely distinct. My role revolves primarily around client interaction. Although he hates titles, I’ve dubbed Dean Chief of Everything Else: strategic adviser, investor, new business developer, researcher, financial analyst, accountant, negotiator, procurement officer.

And outside our business life, Dean’s roles are even more important. He’s my confidant, spirit-lifter, partner, listener. He’s the one who gets me and cheers me on.

More than anything, Dean is my cherisher. Day after day, he’s Jesus with skin on. I hope I give the same gift back to him.

Bob Goff sums it up best: “I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” Living out Jesus’ instructions through our married life and making something beautiful from our union is what matters to Dean and me.

I know I won the husband lottery. And I know that many who read this article may not feel the same way or are facing tough times in their marriages. If that’s you, may I suggest something? When the culture tells you to give up, turn to Jesus and ask him to help you figure out what to do next. Listen to the friends who consistently point you to Jesus and back to your spouse. Be open to Jesus’ leading in this, the most important human relationship you have. And, if you’d like, write about your journey with your spouse in the comments below.



Andrea Syverson grew up a happily devout Catholic. After decades of plaid uniforms and even earning an MBA from a Catholic university, her life took an unexpected turn when she fell in love with a Protestant. You can read about her surprising spiritual journey in her Alter Girl: Walking Away From Religion Into the Heart of Faith

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