A Word to My Wife

Subtitle: Who is not my “better half,” for she is a whole person, from the beginning, made whole by God.


‘Tis a paradox – that which, at first glance, makes no sense, verily, is nonsense, yet that which, at its heart, embraces and embodies deepest truth – this business of married life:

This comfortability I experience with you; the very one who so often, even without conscious intention, exposes my most glaring inadequacies…

This peace I feel even when you speak your harshest word in anger, for I know that the genesis of your remonstrance is your unwavering commitment to me and to us…

This serenity that envelopes me in the violation of the…my cardinal rule of self-preservation and security when I share my darkest secrets and deepest fears with you…

This splendid sense of surprise that envelopes me when you say, “I love you because you are you.” For every time, I know that “you” means me, who, all of the time, is that humanly peculiar admixture of the angelic and the demonic…

This strange commingling of apprehension and calm when I take you for granted in those moments when I’m not working very hard to be the best that I can be, for I risk trusting in your patience and acceptance.

‘Tis, indeed, a paradox this married life we share. Incomprehensible at its fullest, yet making the most sense. Incapable of articulation at its depth, yet speaking the truth most clearly.

Could it be any other way? Would I have it any other way if I could? I think not. For the paradox arises from love’s very nature: a mystery confounding all attempts to measure its limits, yet bidding us to live into its limitless measure.

Amen. So be it. Thanks be to God!

© 2021 PRA

2 thoughts on “A Word to My Wife

  1. Dearest Paul,

    I have finally pulled myself out of the depths of the events of this week to do what I intended to do when I first received this post: write back to say I think this may be the most truthful, profound, and deeply and honestly human tribute to a marriage I have ever read. It puts no gloss of romanticism on a relationship built on and from the core elements of human consciousness. It honors the pain and effort necessary to build such an alliance as surely as it honors the “comfortability” (wonderful word) of commitment and endurance that is clear to anyone who has had the privilege of seeing you and Pontheolla together. I recognize so much of myself in your words as they reflect parts of my own relationship with Ted over the past 43 years.

    Thank you, dear friend, for so honoring your remarkable wife and your remarkable self and what you have lovingly, patiently, and no doubt stubbornly created and still daily create together. It is of such enduring stuff that human hope and faith are made and kept alive. Reading this has made me a better person and a better marriage partner.

    I digress briefly to say that my thoughts have wandered to you and Pontheolla, and Loretta too, many times since Wednesday, because I know how intimately you all are connected to the Capitol’s environs and to the city of Washington. My heart has broken myriad times as I have seen and heard bits and pieces of the infamy visited on our democracy by traitorous leaders charged with preserving it and credulous followers driven by their own hatreds and ignorance to destroy it. I can imagine the pain all of you must be feeling for so many reasons. I hold you fast in my heart. I pray that insight, wisdom, and truth will finally win what I believe remains a pitched battle for our country’s very heart and soul.
    I look forward to rejoicing with you someday that we are firmly on the road to at last truly living out the high calling of equality, justice, and human dignity that the United States of America has always claimed it stands for.

    With much love and deep regard for you and Pontheolla,



    1. My dearest Karen, I thank you for your kind words. Yes, Pontheolla and I have scaled joyous heights and plumbed deepest sorrowful depths. So much so, that we can look our relationship and marriage in the face and, more, our faces to behold honest reflections of trial and triumph. In this, as in all earnest efforts to remain at-one with another, I honor you and Ted.

      As for Washington, DC, these past four years, for me, have been laden with pain. This past Wednesday was most anguishing. I do believe that we, as a nation, so terribly divided, stretched beyond any recognizable shape or form, to paraphrase the poet, have manifold miles to go before we can recover, let alone before we can sleep.

      Love, always and in all ways, to you, Ted, and Emilia,


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