Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Marriage, I Learned from a Snow Shovel, a Sidewalk, and a Blister on my Pinky

This past weekend Kentucky got slammed by “Winter Storm Jonas”. And I mean if you really think about it, what a terrible name for a snowstorm. Bertha. I prefer Bertha. We got slammed by Winter Storm Bertha.

After being trapped, snowed in for three days, stuffing our faces with baked goods and hot chocolate, and alternating between Frozen and Tangled on repeat, Doc decided it was time to dig us out.

He, Rosebud, and I bundled up in 75 layers a piece and headed into the tundra. She and I proceeded to make snow angels, and frolic as well as a 2-year-old in a padded suit can frolic while Doc cleaned off the cars and shoveled the driveway and the walkway clear. I watched him sweat and work and my heart got that mushy feeling it gets when he goes out of his way to take care of us. And also, kind of hot and bothered, because he’s a good looking guy and his butt still looks pretty cute underneath three pairs of pants. No judgement, we’re married, it’s legal. ANYWAY.

I’m watching him work and I notice that it’s 3:30 and the UK game comes on at 4:00. Now Doc doesn’t ask for a lot (well, anything), but the man loves his UK basketball. So before he got started on the sidewalk, I told him “Go on, warm up, drink some hot chocolate, turn on the game, and for once, just relax.” He argued, because that’s what he does, but finally gave in. And even though I have never shoveled a sidewalk in my entire life, I did my best to clear the snow away.

My arms hurt worse than that one time that I thought it would be a good idea to skip the “Beginner’s” section on Insanity, because hey, I’m no beginner–but yeah, I’m totally a beginner. And when I got done, I had a blister the size of Texas on my right pinky finger that may turn to gangrene and make my hand fall off, but I did it.

I did it for two reasons:

1.) Doc and I are one. When he shovels, I shovel. And I don’t want to take his willingness to work for us for granted. Because when the going gets tough, I want him to look over and see me working alongside him in the trenches, not depending on him to fix the things that are broken. TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK<<—Whitaker Family Motto as of just now.

2. And also, Rosebud has been a little too observant lately. When something breaks, she sets it aside for “Daddy can fix it when he get home,” and when I told her I was going to help dad shovel, her reply was “No, Mommy. Not big girls do that, just big boys do that.” Wait wut. Hold on a minute, honey.

Growing up with the Fran was an experience. If something needed done, she did it. If something needed fixed, she fixed it, and if something needed shoveling she shoveled it. And so I grew up thinking KNOWING that I could do anything, or in this case, shovel anything. I want Rosebud to grow up with that same hardheaded assurance, and I absolutely refuse to raise a damsel in distress. I don’t want her to wait for someone else to fix her problems or shovel her snow. I want Rosebud ‘to plant her own garden and decorate her own soul, instead of waiting for someone else to bring her flowers.’ I don’t want her to be afraid to get her hands dirty. And most importantly, I don’t want Rosebud growing up with some twisted notion that marriage exists to coddle or serve one person.

Doc and I strive to live out our marriage the way it was intended, and to love one another the way Christ loved the Church. And we fail. Every. Single. Day. Oh boy do we fail. Like the one day we stood in the kitchen screaming at each other because “I always need to be right” and “He doesn’t appreciate anything I do.” I’m almost positive that Christ never called the Church selfish and bullheaded–my bad. But the most important lesson that marriage has taught me is this: do the dirty work. Do it because it prevents the person you love most in the world from having to do it. Do it because they do it for you. Because my least favorite chore in the world is folding clothes, and sometimes, it “magically” gets done for me. The people we love are blessings, but if we rely on them solely, we lose out on using our own talents and gifts and we miss opportunities to serve–the biggest blessing of all. And sure, we might come away with a few scars or blisters, but the hard work is worth it.

So if the sidewalk needs shoveled, well…shovel it. Even if your pinky falls off, your snot freezes on your face, and your arms go numb.  Bonus points for smiling through the sweat/blisters/burn.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.


One thought on “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Marriage, I Learned from a Snow Shovel, a Sidewalk, and a Blister on my Pinky

  1. The best marriage advice I ever received was “find who you want to be in the bunker with when the shit storm goes down.” HA! I guess marriage is just that, working hard for each other when life gets tough.


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