by Dennis Doyle
I tell people that Karen is one of the best people I’ve ever known. Reality is that she is the best person I know. Not simply because she loves me but because she is truly a deeply healthy, well rounded, kind and compassionate woman. I have friends (who will be unnamed) who tell me that Karen is low maintenance when compared to their wives. Since I’ve only been married to Karen I really don’t know what that means but I suspect that it’s true.
Growing up I was not a dater, nor did I have a sister. I had friends who were girls but it wasn’t until I got to know Karen while in college that it really dawned on me that I might actually be able to love a woman. Karen and I became friends and over a period of time we realized that not only were we compatible but that we complimented each other. Anyone who knows us knows that my weaknesses are Karen’s strengths.
Karen rarely gives up on people and situations. She is very loyal to me and to any of her friends. This week she took 3 of her buddies to a conference at Hilton Head just because she wanted to share the joy of a free condo at a resort. (Yes, I chose not to go).
Karen cares more for others than for herself. We have four children who Karen is deeply devoted to. We’re in the midst of becoming empty nesters and our two oldest children, Nathan and Landry are beginning to enter into what appears to be serious relationships. In fact this next weekend, we’ll meet Landry’s boyfriend for the first time. In preparation for his visit, Karen purchased a brand new bed for the guy to sleep in. We’ve been sleeping on the same bed for 30 years (I’m not joking).
She wants to be sure that the young man feels comfortable in our home.
Karen doesn’t want what she can’t have. By that I mean that she’s not materialistic nor does she really care about having a lot of stuff. Which is good because despite what some people in our church believe, pastors don’t make a lot of money.
Karen is highly capable. I think one of the things that drew me to her was the realization that she really didn’t need me but that she was willingly choosing to be my wife because she loved me. That sense of knowing who she is has allowed her to have the confidence to take on a variety of roles in life with confidence. She’s raised four children while having a career and serving within our church.
Karen doesn’t promote herself, carry herself with a sense of entitlement or ego.
People who don’t know her probably wouldn’t guess that she has a Ph.D. It’s rare that our friends refer to her as Dr. Doyle. One of the realities of our life together is that we are a “no drama” family. I know a few women (who will go unnamed) who are the essence of drama. They create drama. I would be divorced or incarcerated if I had married a drama queen.
Karen rarely is shocked by things that happen. That’s doesn’t mean that she doesn’t get irritated or mad but she has a real even temperament. We have a “let’s deal with it” approach to life that tends to funnel our energy towards fixing problems rather than assigning blame. That’s a great trait for a pastor’s wife because we have a boatload of stories!
Karen doesn’t keep score with people, meaning that’s she’s forgiving. I think both of us have learned how to be more gracious with people but it comes easier for Karen.
Our marriage has had a pretty even keel about it because we rarely fight probably due to the fact that we both tend to move on. It might be that Karen just knows that I’m probably not going to easily admit that I’m wrong, so it’s more productive to turn the page. You have to be a real scoundrel for Karen not to see something good in you.
Karen is a truth teller. I can’t think of a time when I’ve questioned her honesty. I don’t worry about what she’s doing or who she’s with.
Karen lives out her faith in the reality of life. She is deeply rooted in reality but she sees things through the eyes of faith. But one thing that I really appreciate about Karen is that she can see through the superficiality of people who try to spiritualize everything.
Karen lives in a big world and that’s a value that she’s passed on to our children.
As I write this, Katelyn is traveling through Europe primarily because she’s embraced the value of being curious about other cultures and people. It’s something that Karen’s modeled.
We joke that if I were to die that a line of men would form at our front door. I suspect that it’s true.
We celebrate our 30th anniversary this August 6th. No we’re not going away on a romantic trip alone. Instead we’re going to Yellowstone with some friends. That may seem odd to some folks but for us it’s just who we are and another reason I love Karen!