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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.


I learned how to run this week, and I think I’m pretty fast.

On a jog around the park one morning, I was working in some interval sprints. As I was sprinting, I decided to simply keep running on my toes, rather than running across the whole surface of my sole. Turns out I can much faster that way.

This is a revelation to me because no one ever taught me how to sprint. I always thought I should be faster than I was. I’ve always been a decent athlete, but could never really keep up in quickness. I’m not saying that I’m Barry Sanders now, but I feel like I’m sprinting faster than I ever have. It is just too bad that this insight came about 20 years too late to be of any real use to me.

It is, however, good for some humor with Stacey. She was amused, to put it lightly, to learn that I had never known how to really sprint. (She can throw all the sarcasm she wants at me now, but she won’t be laughing next time we race. I’ll make her look like Barbara Walters racing Usain Bolt!)

[Stacey: This matters because three weeks ago, I beat Josh in a sprint race at the end of a run.]

Later, the same morning as my running revelation, as we were heading in to work, I spotted our squirrel-nemesis. This squirrel climbs into our bird feeder and just sits there chowing on our birdseed. He’ll down half the seed in the feeder over the course of a day or two. I’ll find a pile of shells below the feeder, and I gnash my teeth thinking of that varmint wallowing in his tree hollow with a bloated stomach.

We were climbing into the car when I spied the squirrel-nemesis on our feeder, packing his face. I muttered a few short curse words under my breath as I hurriedly scrambled out of the car to chase the nemesis down. The feeder is in a fairly open corner on our lot, so if I catch him unaware, he’ll have nowhere to run and hide. I’m not sure what to do with him when I catch him. Rotisserie, maybe.

As I turned out of the car to chase down the nemesis, I heard Stacey shout behind me, “Remember to run on your toes, dear!” (I did, but I failed to catch the pest.)

We both had a pretty good chuckle when I got back into the car—partly at the sight of my ungainly sprint across a soggy yard in dress shoes, and partly at her exclamation, which sounds like something a mother would pin on a kindergartener’s coat.

I know Stacey tolerates my quirks, and even encourages them, because they are part of what makes me distinctively me. It is fun to know that I am known and loved for who I am, even as a squirrel-loathing, hair-thinning, stumble-sprinting, middle-aged husband.

It is a gift to have someone else with whom I can laugh at myself.