1. Sometimes, in certain small circles, I get more attention because of my writing or some of the other work I do. Matt is very talented himself, but he never resents being “Jen’s husband.” He encourages me in every opportunity that comes and he makes a point of telling me he’s proud of me.
2. With a BA and two master’s degrees, Matt can hold his own talking to just about anyone. He has well-formed opinions on theology, politics, history, and social issues and can discuss them intelligently. Yet he is at his best teaching Bible basics to baby Christians, and he’s great at simplifying big ideas with illustrations anyone can understand.
3. A few years ago, Matt sent a kind text to Nina every day for the six months her mother withheld her from us, even when Nina never wrote back, then represented himself in court without a lawyer and got her back.
4. Today Matt and Nina have the best dad/teenage daughter relationship I’ve ever seen.
5. Many men think strength is bravado, or intimidation, or posturing. They confuse machismo with manliness. Matt is physically strong; he lifts weights and runs dozens of miles a week. He’s emotionally strong (see #3). He’s spiritually and mentally strong. But he does not feel the need to prove it to anyone. Real strength is self-control.
6. He’s one of the only people in the world who can make me belly laugh.
7. He singlehandedly transformed our attic from a dirty storage space to a beautiful master bedroom for us and an office for me.
8. He’s an amazing musician. In addition to having a master’s degree in vocal performance, he plays piano beautifully. More than once he has looked at the charts for one key and transposed it to another key in his head while playing.
9. He’s used those talents to take a fledgling group of musicians and turn them into a pretty darn good worship band at our church. This took years of patience and hard work, on everyone’s part.
10. No addictions (except maybe to running!). The older I get, the more I appreciate this: no drinking, no smoking, no drugs, no porn, no video games. He’s not even addicted to his phone (like I am), and doesn’t use it to receive work emails.
11. If he starts a project (see #7), he’s finishing it, and woe to the person who suggests he take a break or leave part of it for another day. His work ethic is admirable. (There’s maybe a little stubbornness mixed in, too. 🙂 )
12. He goes out of his way and gives up days to spend time with my family.
13. He does all the laundry, cleans part of the house, and cooks dinner at least one night a week.
14. Sometimes he still finds time to ask, “What can I do to help you?”
I respect and admire and appreciate you, Matt. Thanks for being my Valentine for the last six years.