Early in our marriage, birthdays and other special events were often hard. The ladies would compare their birthdays and I stressed all the time about how to make it fair. If I spent the same amount of money for example, on Vicki, that did not always translate into being perceived as a fair exchange to Alina even if I spent the same amount on her next birthday. In addition, circumstance always plays a part. With a six month difference in their birthdays, often my financial picture or my calendar for time may be different. After a while I realized I could never do it perfect.
It would be easier to not even try, give the same amount of cash for a present or develop the same routine for every birthday. But I wanted more out of my relationships. We would talk openly and honestly about the hurts and I would try to listen and understand. It was important to me that they trusted my heart to be fair. Eventually they learned I will always do the best I can to give of myself to each individual. That is how I approach my relationships. I learned to listen to their needs and respect their feelings. We have grown so much in our love from applying this foundation of trust, communication and respect.
Because of the book tour and our crazy schedule I missed Alina’s birthday in September. She patiently understood as week after week slipped by into October. The 14th is Valerie’s and my eleventh anniversary. I knew I was in trouble as the date approached and still no birthday celebration with Alina; which fortunately, they both were good about. I told Valerie I would take her out to celebrate when time permitted but I could not do it until I had made time for Alina’s birthday. We always celebrate the wedding anniversaries as a foursome and then individually, and that we did make time for. After a radio interview downtown, we all went to the Grand America for brunch, our favorite breakfast place.
The experience of being on book tour, and coming out public has changed us all deeply- in a good way. We have grown closer than ever, and become spiritually connected in ways I have never felt. We pray before every interview and have grown individually and collectively, not only in our abilities to communicate our message, but in a deep understanding of why we do what we do, and why we are together. We celebrated the anniversary with the four of us in a very grateful way. It was especially significant with the health issues we have faced together as a family.
The sometimes petty things like time alone, or what we did for our birthdays have become much more insignificant. Still it was important to me to get Alina’s birthday in. Finally I scheduled the date. In the past it could be stressful to bring up a time to take off alone with one wife. I hate hurting anyone’s feelings and I would worry about how it might be perceived. This time it was different in that I felt all three of my wives so close and full of trust for my heart.
As the date became closer the stress came from outside of our family. Our schedule with the book tour, Val’s cancer and other pressures took me away from the family and the strain became intense. I was wishing I had not committed to leaving. The absence from my business put a hurt on my time, and this past week alone we had three appearances in media. With all this, I had not finalized the details of a birthday plan. The day before we were to leave was particularly hectic.
I was working in my office as Alina came in and greeted me. Without me saying a word, she said, “You know if it is easier, don’t feel like you have to take me anywhere for my birthday. I appreciate just knowing how important it is to you.”
In an instant the stress of the day dissipated and my heart filled with emotion at her selfless sacrifice. Alina has such a considerate way about her, always looking out for me. I embraced her and my emotion poured upon her shoulder.
“Alina,” I whispered in her ear, “Just hearing you say that makes me want to do something even more. I have nothing planned but we will spend time together, and whatever it is I know will be enough.”
The next day, late after a full Saturday I came home, packed up last minute and took her up to Snowbird Resort. In the peaceful solice of a cool but magnificent fall day we had one of the most connective times of our life. The simplicity of it was grand, and the humility that she brings out in me touched me deeply. I find the mountains to be very sacred in my life, and this time was especially so. As we walked among the base of the granite cliffs above, I grabbed her hand and we poured out our hearts to our Father in Heaven for blessings. Her selfless love continues to inspire me to greater heights as a person.