My husband Ted is a smart man. He's even-keeled. Playful and thoughtful. But he's also forgetful.
And, you know what? I'm glad.
Yep, you read that right. I'm grateful for my husband's sub-par memory.
Perhaps I should explain.
There's a running joke at our house and it goes like this: If it happened more than five years ago and wasn't life-changing – you know, like our wedding, the births of our four daughters, or one of our many cross-country moves – Ted probably doesn't remember it. At least, not in any great detail.
For example, the name of the movie we saw on our one-year wedding anniversary? I doubt he can name it.
Or what month and year he first realized – thanks to me – that Disney vacations are fun for adults too? Probably not something he's committed to memory.
What about when we bought our mini-van? A detail that's handy when it comes to warranties and such. Nope. He's asked me more than once.
Oh, and my birthday? It slipped his mind our first year of marriage.
Some wives might find this maddening. After all, it's the moments of life that make up the whole, right? But, for the most part, I don't. Why?
Because my shortcomings are what Ted forgets more often than dates on a calendar or details of purchases. The ways I've messed up or disappointed him. He just doesn't reserve a spot in his memory for my sin. He doesn't hold grudges against or harbor unforgiveness towards me. Instead, he's quick to ... let it go.
(I'll pause here to give you a moment to free your mind from the earworm my words just set loose.)
It's true that Ted doesn't love me perfectly. Just like all husbands, he has his faults and imperfections. He'd probably be quick to tell you what they are, with forgetting my birthday near the top of the list. Even so, his love often reminds me of God's love. Not resentful. Long suffering. Patient and kind.
And he inspires me. I find myself eager to do the same for him. To be forgetful where it matters most.
The truth is, though, it's not always easy for me like it is for him. You see, when it comes to the details – to the little things in life – my memory is better than his. Much.
That film we saw on our one-year anniversary? Return of the King.
The point in time he concluded that Disney is fun for grown-ups too? September 2002, when as a newly engaged couple, we spent a few days there with my family.
And the year we bought our mini-van? 2005. August, to be exact.
Yet, it's been my goal to be more like my forgetful husband. To reflect to him, like he does to me, the "east is from the west" character of our sin-forgetting God.
It's my hope that when it comes to his shortcomings, to his messes, and to those areas he disappoints me, that Ted too can confidently say, "My wife Ashleigh is forgetful. And I'm glad.”
For more practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in your marriage, check out my new book, Team Us: Marriage Together. Also, download my free printable "10 Winning Strategies to Strengthen Your Team Us."