The Greatest of Treasures

by Derek Holser, Tastemaker in Residence 

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from God. 

The expression above, located in the Proverbs of the Old Testament, illuminates a truth that I – and millions of men – know very well. Finding a wife is like finding a treasure. Of course, like any good treasure hunt, there are plenty of pitfalls and missteps, obstacles and threats along the way from wondering and wandering until the wedding day. 

Bruno Mars wasn’t around when I was pursuing and persuading my beloved to become my wife. Even if he was, I would have spared her my caterwauling serenade. 

Although I could have pulled a move reminiscent of John Cusack’s character in Say Anything

Even if I could dance and sing like Bruno, or dazzle an audience like John, my early nervousness at approaching her was on par with Cyrano de Bergerac’s frightful fear to express his true feelings to Roxanne. 

It’s been over 17 years since we were married, and nearly 19 years since we met and every day from then until now has only reinforced the treasure that she is and forever will be. Kind, generous, determined, beautiful, brave, hospitable, compassionate, gracious…I could fill entire books with words that describe the wonder that she is. Treasures are, by definition, rare, which at long last, dear reader, brings me to my point. 

With apologies to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, the greatest lesson from nearly two decades of marriage is that “Treasure is in the eye of the beholder.” As husbands, we choose to treasure our wives. Every day, just like the diamond that we purchased for her ring finger when we proposed, we can focus on her flaws or we can focus on her facets. If we choose to focus on her facets, we will create a treasure. If we choose to focus on her flaws, we will create a monster. It’s truly our choice. 

This coming Sunday is Wife Appreciation Day. By way of illustration and potentially, personal illustration, included below is one way in which I appreciate my wife, who, by my choosing, has become a treasure more rare and spectacular than the Holy Grail pursued by Indiana Jones.

The first, and most important active step I took to making my wife a treasure was by choosing to say “I love you” every time I was about to complain about something she did – say, leaving the milk out on the kitchen counter, or not folding t-shirts in the way I thought it should be done – I simply said “I love you.” 

The compounding effect of choosing every week to remind myself that I love my wife, as my one and only, far more than I allow myself to be bothered by her shortcomings, which everyone has, served to increase her value in my mind and heart. I can only imagine how extraordinary a treasure she will be by the time death does us part, but by choosing to love our wives, and remember them every day – not just Wife Appreciation Day – we may one day have a love that rivals Harvey and Irma. Not the storms that swamped Texas and Florida – prayers are with everyone there – but Mr. & Mrs. Schluter, featured in the New York Times and now married over 75 years.