"Is this why we got married?"
That question usually comes up when Susan and I are rushing to yet another event, somewhere between our jobs, our volunteering at school, church and park district, one daughter's piano and basketball lessons, another daughter's gymnastics team and our son's swimming class.
I used to think the reason you got married was for companionship, support and, certainly, the joys of intimacy. But if you're fortunate enough to have a marriage with those attributes, you then find yourself wondering: Isn't there more to marriage than just a decent relationship? Isn't there something we should be doing beyond running errands, getting the kids to their activities and keeping your marriage healthy?
As a man who remained single until he was 29, I never imagined that married life would be so … nonstop. So exhausting. And so rewarding. But some rewards come unexpected.
Three years ago, Susan and I agreed to host a Japanese exchange student for a month of orientation prior to her going to Ohio for a year of school. That's when we met Satomi, a quiet but focused young woman who was determined to become fluent in English. Our conversations required frequently thumbing through the Japanese- English dictionary to find a key word. We falteringly discussed cultural differences, her Buddhist background and our life as Christians. After a quick four weeks, she left for Ohio, where she completed her sophomore year.
But at the end of the school year, Satomi's English was still not what she wanted it to be. So she asked if she could live with us while she completed her high school education.1