Why I strip, and the reason my wife loves it when I do…

Cara and Brett

This picture of my wife and I was taken just over 14 years ago. It would be just a few short months later that I started stripping.

I started stripping about 14 years ago. At first, I didn’t realize how addicting it could be. I would strip once in a while when I had a few free hours. It brought on a sense of accomplishment when I was done. There were a lot of people who would see my work and comment about how good I was at it. I didn’t cut corners. I may have been just stripping, but I didn’t cut any corners. I would do research, plan each step out carefully, and wasn’t afraid to ask people for advice when I felt I needed it.

Technique really is everything. It helped me avoid screwing things up, wasting time, energy. The more I paid attention to the smallest of details, the more the end product was amazing. And what made it the most enjoyable was how much my wife liked it.

She would watch as I worked. I would catch her looking, see the smile it brought to her face…and it would make me double down on making sure I did the best job I possibly could.

But somewhere over the years I got busy. I didn’t strip as much as I used to. I didn’t think much of it at first. I mean, we now have three kids…and with each addition there was frankly less and less time to strip. I had more to do and less time to accomplish it.

My wife would remind me how I promised to do more stripping from time to time. I would nod my head, acknowledge her…and maybe even strip a little right after that. But shortly thereafter I would fall right back into the same pattern of busyness, and the stripping I was so good at, that my wife and many others enjoyed seeing the end result of…well, it stopped again.

Then the other day my wife and I sat down and had a discussion about connecting better. At the start of this summer I had asked her to give me her “Top 5” things she wished I would do. I guess you could call it a “honey do list” of sorts for my summer.

Guess what was on it?

Yup. One of the 5 things was stripping. I had promised to do more of it, and hadn’t. She told me she had a hard time connecting with me when I wasn’t honoring my word…and she was right.

I was being selfish when I said I would start stripping again, and then not do it. I would have been better off not mentioning the list idea at all. At least at that point I wouldn’t have gotten her hopes up of me stripping, only to let her down when I didn’t.

One of our favorite times of year is our annual Christmas party we have for close friends and neighbors. We have a tradition that I will always have done something to prepare for that night that would make our guests experience that much better.

And what I didn’t realize is that this year, I think my wife had hoped that if I put in more consistent time stripping in the months leading up to our Christmas party…when they came over, our guests would be in for a much more enjoyable evening. They would experience a visual satisfaction like no other the moment they walked into our home.

They would know how much I love my wife, because of all the stripping I was doing.

Sometimes, as husbands…we don’t quite get it. We don’t realize how important it is to follow through. To do what we say we are going to do. To mail in our selfish desires and show our wives how much we love and appreciate them by doing what we say we’ll do. To honor our word.

For me, I needed to strip more.

I am actually in the process of stripping right now. I figure I will be done by the time our Christmas guests arrive. It’ll be a great sense of completion for me, and my wife’s heart will be full knowing I cared enough to take the time to honor her.

And even if I strip until I fall over, and for some reason it’s not done before our guests arrive…I’ll keep at it. I won’t stop. Not until I’ve stripped every last layer off.

And once I do, I will delicately prep every surface that I have stripped for my wife, and apply the last details to make her the happiest wife on earth.

And here’s the curveball…

It’s not really about the stripping anyway.

It’s about honoring my wife.

It’s about loving my wife.

It’s about being selfless, not selfish.

And for my wife and I, it’s about doing everything we can to take care of the blessings we’ve received.

At the end of the day, my stripping may not mean much to you…and I’m ok with that. Those closest to me will see I did it because I love my bride.

When the last stroke of the brush hits the molding with the most beautiful French white paint left behind…all that stripping before the fact will allow my hallway painting project to be everything my wife hoped it would be after the fact.

And that…

That is how stripping will make my marriage healthier.

That is how I will show my kids how much I love their mom.

That is a reminder to all of us that sometimes what we think something means turns out to be something very different.

I suppose it might be a little like this post.

Life has a lot of hidden meanings.

Life has a way of making us miss the real meaning.

We quit reading.

Maybe we don’t read into something enough, to know what it really meant.

Now I know you didn’t do that with this post. I don’t mean to insult your intelligence. Clearly you knew what I was trying to convey, and what I was talking about the entire time.

By stripping the paint off the moldings in my house, I was preparing a way to honor my wife by honoring my word.

Or…

You were like me, sometimes.

I jump to conclusions.

I act all confused.

I get a little disgusted.

And I miss the opportunity to see the real meaning.

I hope two things for you tonight.

One, that my story didn’t scar you for life.

Two, that you’ll take the reminder so you don’t scar your relationships that mean the most to you for life.

Now…

I’ve got to go.

I’ve got some stripping to do!

And yes…I like it when my wife watches.

It makes me feel like such a man!

On that note, I think we are done here.

Blessings to you and your marriage.

Sincerely,

Brett

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