I have now been married to Andria for 33 years. It is difficult to explain that even after all that time, I’m still in awe at who I married. I could write a book, but here's a brief synopsis.
Andria exhausts me
She says yes to everyone, everywhere: children, neighbors, friends, relatives--me. I have been on this globe for 56 years. Not once have I come across one such as her. When a child calls because they've forgotten something for school. There’s no reproach, no sense of being put out. "I'll run it right down," is all I hear. That happened today even. Another today story: An adult asked for Catherine to babysit. She can't. Andria offered to help if she couldn't find someone else. Etc., etc. Myriad stories everyday, every week, every month, every week. Constant, unyielding. Of course, I'm often asked to assist. I used to resist. But resistance is futile. I'm exhausted--and so is Andria. But we'll get up tomorrow and start it again, joyfully by golly.
Andria inspires me
She has a sense of what to ask for in her prayers. Since our children were first born, she started praying not just for them, but for their future spouses. She knew that God knew who they would be. I'm convinced. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous [wo]man availeth much" (James 5:16). Our daughter-in-laws and son-in-law are more than I could have hoped for, could have dreamed for. I was once asked if I thought prayers did any good. I can now answer "prayer will change the night to day."
Andria is tough--and tender
We experienced the ultimate challenge when we were called to serve in Moscow. I was amazed at Andria's attitude of excitement, of grace, of everything someone in her untenable position would need to be. (Once she told me I let out these unconscious sighs all the time. I tried to improve.) I only found out a year after we’d been home that often, especially the first six months, she would cry in the shower so that I would not see her tears. She wanted to give me all the energy she could--and more.
Andria is a miraculous miracle for me
When I fell head over heels for her, I was distraught because the feeling wasn’t reciprocal at first. I knew that I should move on, which was grievous to me. This next part of the story has only happened to me twice in my life: I opened the scriptures randomly and came across Proverbs 4:6:
Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
and then verses 8 and 9:
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
I felt like Joseph Smith:
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart.
So I continued, and then the greatest miracle of my personal happened: Her heart changed.
But of all God miracles, large and small,
The most miraculous one of all
Is the one I thought could never be
God has given you to me. [Miracles of Miracles, Fiddler on the Roof]