I don’t know where I heard it, but it’s always stuck in my mind:

“Marry a man who will make a good father.”

Ever since I met my husband in Yellowstone National Park that day, I knew he liked children. My little sister was just 1-year-old at the time, and though 13-year-old Merritt and I never exchanged anything but shy smiles, he talked to my baby sister and made faces at her as I pushed her in a stroller down the boardwalks of Yellowstone. I took such notice that I wrote to a cousin about how good this boy Merritt was with my baby sister. And a few mental notes were made for “someday.”

As we got to know his family better, and spent time visiting each other’s homes, I had ample opportunity to observe Merritt’s ability with kids, as he was an older brother himself. One picture is forever etched in my mind: he was kneeling down, holding the 4-year-old’s hand, patiently explaining why one should not run in the house.

It was easy to picture this laid-back man as a patient father. Of my children. He would so well balance out my impatient tendencies. We would make a good team. And all our children would have curly hair…

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

I married Merritt for a lot more than his curls and his ability with children. But when we were there at the doctor’s office together, filling out forms and answering questions, I realized how much I had to be thankful for as the nurse glanced at the next question, looked at Merritt sitting there by me, and stated, “And the father is obviously supportive.”

Yes, from the moment I woke him up at 4 a.m. to tell him the pregnancy test was positive, he has shared my joys, and held me as I cried from exhaustion. He held my hand as I walked into a new doctor’s office. He sat there with me as we saw our baby for the first time on the ultrasound. And we both pleaded ignorance to how our baby could have gotten the stubborn genes, when the nurse had such difficulty getting the baby to stay in one position for a picture.

When for a month I had never been so exhausted in my life, nor had to eat so much so often to keep from being sick, and we were in the middle of spring planting, Merritt was there for me. Sending me to bed as soon as we got home. Making supper and doing dishes every night. Mopping the floor and washing windows while I was at work. And even making custard, cookies, and cheesecake, without any help, while I took naps. I had never felt so helpless, nor so loved.

When we all got the flu, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with a bowl of Top Ramen noodles my husband made me. (Next year, I’m hoping for steak and potatoes–but Top Ramen had never tasted so good.) And when I finally started feeling more like myself, he was the first to rejoice that “he had his wife back.”

Marry a man who will make a good daddy.

Now he’s there to kiss my tummy and agree that yes, I’m getting fat. And yes, it’s cute. And yes, that dress still fits. And even though I manage to do most of the cooking these days, Merritt still sends me to bed while he does the dishes every night.

And every morning, he is there to hold my hand and pray with me. And when he prays for “our baby”, I get so teary-eyed that when it’s my turn to pray, I can only say, “Dear Lord, thank You so much for my husband…”

Photography: JenniMarie Photography

33 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations! That is so precious!
    And that was one thing that impressed me first about my love- his tender love of children!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gretchen & Merritt, I am so happy for you both! I know that with God’s help you will make the best of parents. Congratulations!

    Teresa

  3. Congratulations, Gretchen & Merritt. ๐Ÿ™‚ I found YLCF not too long ago and I really have enjoyed reading the things you’ve written.

    Congratulations, and God bless you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. that was such a sweet post.
    Thank you all for giving us a site like YLCF.

  5. Congratulations Gretchen and Merritt, on your happy news!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’ll just blink back some tears. That was really sweet. Thank you for sharing. God bless you and your family.

  7. Congratulations Gretchen!!

  8. Marissa Whitney says:

    Yay, how very, very exciting! Many congrats – I’ll be praying the pregnancy goes well!

    God has blessed you, Gretchen, with a sweet husband that totally deserves you. It is so beautiful to see a couple rejoicing whole-heartedly in God’s gift of children. May God continue to bless you as you live for Him!

  9. Congratulations!!! How VERY exciting!

  10. Congratulations, Merritt and Gretchen!!

  11. Congratulations to both of you!

  12. Anonymous says:

    ditto on what mary kate g. and anna naomi said

    and…congratulations, Gretchen;)!

  13. Anna Naomi says:

    I don’t think guys realize how much girls enjoy seeing them play and interact with children!

    Beautiful writing, Gretchen. I always enjoy reading what you write!

  14. Congratulations on your coming little one.

  15. This post took my breath away… literally, because my mind instantly flashed back this weekend—when I smiled at a young man doing his best to make a little 4-year-old girl giggle.

    *sigh*

  16. I remember those days of early pregnancy with Emma, and how I fell so much more in love with my husband for his tender care of me while I carried our baby! And that love and admiration has only grown as I’ve watched him become a tender, caring, amazing daddy. There is something about watching your husband with your child, especially a daughter, and see the adoration in her eyes for her daddy! There are few things more precious in life, truly.

    I am so excited for you Gretchen! Hope you’re feeling better.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations!!!!

    Morgan

  18. Mary Kate G. says:

    Hi, Gretchen!
    Thanks for a very sweet post! I am still a Lady in Waiting, (a redhead, Anne fan to boot! =)) but it is such an encouragement to be reminded that wonderful marriages ARE out there. And something tells me that it will be worth the wait. =)
    Blessings!

  19. How absolutely wonderful!! Congratulations Merritt and Gretchen! I am very excited for the two of you. I will be praying for you both.
    May the Lord continue to richly bless you and your family. God bless!

  20. Oh, wow! Congratulations, and may the Lord bless you all three!!!!

  21. aussietigger1980 says:

    Well, you totally caught me off guard there! I hadn’t even got to thinking about when you guys might have a baby announcement! ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations! And I agree…I look for the same quality in guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Congratulations! God bless and protect you all at this most special time.

  23. ~AliisaJoy~ says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! When reading your “1st Anniversary” post, I was wondering “so . . . . what about a baby?!?!”

  24. I ditto what Elizabeth said… there is nothing like it. We’re so excited for the two of you, and will continue praying for you and that little one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Elizabeth J says:

    Gretchen, we are so happy for you and Merritt. There is nothing like becoming a parent for the first time… ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Gretchen,

    What a precious and joyous blessing! May He strengthen you and keep both you and your little one safe and healthy… God bless you!

  27. Congrats Merritt and Gretchen!

  28. BrittLeigh says:

    Aw, that is so, so, so, so sweet!!! Wow. I want a husband ๐Ÿ˜€ *wink*

  29. Congratulations! How blessed that little one is to have such godly parents.

  30. Anonymous says:

    that was touching. thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ many congratulations on your coming blessing.

  31. Bernadine says:

    What an awesome testimony you and Merritt have Gretchen. I wish you God’s blessing as you wait the arrival of your little one.

  32. Congrats Gretchen and Merritt!!!!!!!!!!!!

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