We All Have Our Antelopes, So To Speak

First of all, our winners.

Jennifer – comment at 8:50pm on February 2
Karen S. – comment at 8:54pm on February 2
Kristen Gregory – comment at 12:30am on February 3
Kelly Brannan – comment at 8:21am on February 3
Karen – comment at 1:56pm on February 3

You should all have emails from me – and thanks so much, everybody, for the great response.

Second of all, some thoughts.

A few weeks ago David and I were waiting for church to start when the subject of Beth Moore’s Believing God came up. I don’t remember how it came up or why it came up, but I do remember that I said, “Oh my goodness – you know that I have such a special place in my heart for that Bible study.”

“Really?” David asked. “Why’s that?”

“Oh, don’t you remember?” I said. “It was one of the biggest growth spurts I’ve ever had in terms of faith. It made me realize how faithfully God pursued me – especially during the times when I figured that that He’d surely given up on me. And remember? Right after that was when we were sitting right down there” – and I pointed at the specific seats – “we were sitting right down there and we decided to host that neighborhood Bible study?”

Make no mistake, people. I was having A Moment of Earnest Reflection.

David smiled and sort of nodded and said, “Well, I think that’s great that it meant so much to you.”

And I could tell he didn’t have the foggiest idea what I was talking about.

About that time the person who makes our pre-service announcements was about to greet the congregation, but I couldn’t let it go. So I kept talking, but in sort of a whisper-scream.

“Remember?” I asked. “We decided to host that neighborhood Bible study? And we had four or five couples come over? And then our friend Elon started the neighborhood newsletter so we could try to draw more people? And she asked me to write a little column about parenting? And that made me start writing again?”

By that point D looked like I was trying to explain a physics equation in Greek.

“You really don’t remember, do you?” I whisper-yelled – and then I kind of punched his arm because DID I NOT MENTION WHAT A SPECIAL TIME THAT WAS IN MY LIFE?

“Yeah. I don’t have even the faintest recollection,” he said.

I sighed loudly.

About ten minutes later we were about halfway through the second song when D leaned over and said, I KID YOU NOT, “Hey. Was that the Bible study where that one guy came over and loved the fact that our dog liked to eat white bread?”

I mean, y’all. OF ALL THINGS. It was one of the sweetest times of spiritual growth IN MY WHOLE LIFE, and my husband’s take away from those few months was that a guy who came to the Bible study loved the fact THAT OUR DOG LIKED TO EAT WHITE BREAD?

Anyway, I stared at D for a good five seconds, and then we started to laugh because the whole thing was so predictable. I have memory upon memory etched onto my brain and my heart as a result of that particular time in our lives…and David’s memories pretty much boil down to NEIGHBOR, DOG, BREAD.

That’s real marriage, y’all.

I have thought about that conversation (and there was way more to it than that – I have mercifully only shared the short version) over and over the last couple of weeks, because I think that during the first four or five years that we were married, I would have taken great offense to the fact that D didn’t react or respond to that whole situation exactly like I did. Now, of course, I can recognize that it was because I’d convinced myself that we needed to be essentially the same person, and I cried MANY A TEAR in those early years because we didn’t see everything the exact same way.

But let me tell you what.

We have now been married sixteen years, and I can’t imagine where we’d be without our differences. I’m mercy; he’s justice. I’m overly trusting; he is SCARILY discerning (it’s not really scary – but it is CRAZY how accurate he is at reading people and certain environments). I’m all over the place; he manages his time better than anybody I know. I throw things together; he does things the right way. I’m all up in the gray; he is black and white. I’m blurred lines; he is boundaries.

And listen. I rarely write about my marriage because there has never been one time when David has said, “You know what? I think you should write about us more.” Plus, we are such a constant work in progress, and just as soon as I start to think that we’ve figured something out, we’re smack-dab in the middle of another lesson. But make no mistake: there is nobody – NOBODY – who has been more supportive of this whole blogging / writing thing than D has been. Y’all have no idea. He is the one who encourages me to carve out time, who makes our schedule work so that I can go to Starbucks with my laptop and not feel guilty, who looks after me to make sure that I’m not overcommitted on the calendar or stretched too thin on the mental / emotional front.

(Just a couple of weeks ago, in fact, we were talking through my calendar, and he said, “You know what? I think you’re all good until June. No more new stuff until June. You are gonna be a crazy person if you take on anything else.”)

(And you know what I said?)

(I said, “Okay.” And I felt SO RELIEVED.)

And all of that leads me to this.


It’s been almost two years since Melanie told me that she was going to write a book about marriage, and since she and I talk to each other A LOT about that very topic, I knew that any book she wrote would be hilarious. So last summer, when I read her first draft of The Antelope in the Living Room, I was not at all surprised by how much I laughed. I wasn’t surprised by the tears, either, because I know how much Melanie adores P. But I was a little bit surprised by my reaction at the end of the book, because more than anything else, my reaction was this:


Here’s why.

It’s a real book about real marriage, y’all. Not the marriage you think you’re going to have when you watch a Say Yes to the Dress marathon and can’t wait for the day when you look like a pretty princess. Not the marriage that you think you’re going to have when you read romance novels where people’s eyes meet across a room and they live with perpetual butterflies in their stomachs for the next forty years. And not the marriage you think you’re going to have when you’re watching some gorgeous famous couple talk about how things are just as white-hot between them as ever.

I don’t know. I just have A LOT OF THOUGHTS about how people’s expectations for marriage can be completely unrealistic. I mean, you may look like a pretty princess on your wedding day, but there will in fact come a point in your relationship when your husband sees you in the throes of a stomach bug. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THAT. And the perpetual butterflies are all fine and good, but I’m betting that they’ll disappear when your husband gives you a new vacuum for Christmas or decides to invite 25 people over for your birthday and YOU HAVE TO COOK FOR ALL OF THEM. And as for the white-hot attraction – well, you should know from the get-go that once a young’un or two arrives on the scene, you may have to find you a hotel room or take a vacation to rekindle that spark. AND THAT IS OKAY. Don’t you dare let our oversexed culture make you feel like you’ve got to be or act like somebody you’re not when you’re with your husband. But perhaps that is another topic for another time.

Some people might say that I’m way too realistic. But I think that finding a person who is steady and funny and loyal and kind – and being able to laugh and share life with that person – well, that’s better than just about anything I’ve seen in a romantic comedy. That doesn’t mean that our husbands won’t get on our dadgum nerves from time to time (and heaven knows that we’ll get on their nerves, too), but there’s something so wonderful about being content within that commitment. Melanie does such a phenomenal job of celebrating that, of reminding us that an “ordinary” marriage is something very special indeed.

So. The Antelope in the Living Room. It’s out at midnight tonight (February 4th is the release date) and just waiting to make you laugh really hard. And cry a little bit, too. You’re going to have such a blast reading it. You can find Antelope at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local bookstores.

Enjoy every single bit of it, y’all!

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  1. Amazon is supposed to ship it to me tomorrow.
    And I really wish it was coming by drone but apparently the FAA is not as excited about the idea as I am.
    And also, speaking of laughter (not that I was, but you did and that’s close enough) when I was reading the chapter in your book about your mom and husband and the dinner and the van and the gasses….
    I couldn’t breathe.
    It best the best work out I’d had in ages.
    My cholesterol count thanks you.
    And also, could you release another book soon?
    I like to work out at least once a year.

  2. Can’t wait to read it!

  3. you are one wise lady, my friend. the expectation he should be the exact same as me? been there. had all the hurt feelings that come alongside such thoughts. CAN.NOT wait to read this book. Been hearing about it’s goodness for far too long. Oh, I definitely need to thank Ms. Moore for writing a study which led to you leading a group which led to an article which led to writing here. because you are a gift.

  4. I love this post! And if AITLR is anything as funny as Sparkly Green Earrings, then I can’t wait. Because that book just about knocked my mommy socks off.

  5. From an old married lady…almost 34 years!…I have to say that there is much truth in this post. Bless you, Sophie, and thank you for using your gifts to bless us all. :)

  6. SPOT ON, SOPHIE! SPOT ON! My copy will be delivered to my kindle tomorrow…but don’t you know I’ve been checking all day to see if it came early.

  7. We’ve been married 43 years now and I still can’t figure out how in the world two so-very-different-people are still so in love after all these years! There’s joy in the journey! Can’t wait to read Melanie’s new book!

  8. Oh, Sophie, such true and touching words about marriage. I dare say that many folks take a lot longer than 16 years of marriage to have the kind of wisdom about it that you have. Your words here about your David are so honoring of him and y’all’s commitment to your marriage.

    I was so very blessed to be married for 35 years before my husband died. There really is nothing quite as special and sweet as a marriage that is real, not like the movies or books, but real support and commitment and shared dreams. I am so thankful I had that, and miss it still.

    And can I just say that Amazon better have Melanie’s book on my Kindle at 12 midnight sharp!

  9. Your vacuum for Christmas comment brought back some memories: I received a heating pad for Christmas. Our first Christmas as a married couple. He did improve over the years. One year for Valentines day he came in with a little brown bag. It contained a Snickers bar and a Mountain Dew. He’d been on the road with the quartet he played with and it was late and the only shopping to be had was at a convenience mart. After 29, almost 30 years, I think he’s a keeper.

    • HA!! I laughed so loud about your brown bag valentine, that I just awakened my husband. I’m going to be banned from blog reading in bed one of these days!
      *i have received a few equally unorthodox gifts during our 34+ years of marriage. ;-)

  10. Spot on. Love how you say this about marriage. The interchange in church? Had me laughing out loud.

    I’m hoping when I go turn on my Kindle, I’ll see an Antelope book staring at me. It’s already Feb. 4th where I live :-)

    thanks for blogging.

  11. Sophie, you are better at expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing than anyone I have ever encountered! You are just so authentic and insightful in how you see things and in how candidly you put them in writing. You touch my heart every time I read your posts. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  12. I cannot wait to read this book…ordered it this morning w/amazon prime. My husband and I have been doing “real marriage” since we were both starry eyed students in college (at MSU – go Dogs!). We were both too stubborn to give up when things got hard a couple of years later. Twenty-two years, three daughters, and three out-of-state moves later, we are still together. I’m so happy and thankful that God brought my husband to me!

  13. LOVE this post!! Hubby and I have been married for 15 years and it wasn’t until we truly gave our marriage over to God did He do a work in us that we never could have imagined! I can’t wait to read this book and glean from it’s pages!!
    ( Yeah the sparkle left on our 5th anniversary when he gave me a car cleaning kit because he thought I enjoyed washing my truck… :0 )

  14. Kristina in GA says:

    Congrats to the winners! :) Off to Amazon to order my copy; I can’t wait to read it.

  15. Yahooooo! My copy’s in the mail! It’s my Valentine’s Day present :-). (That I bought myself for my husband to give me. There’s gotta be something in that on making marriage work ha!)

  16. Karen Ward says:

    I think that I have already laughed 2 or 3…thousand times during the first chapter!

  17. I’ve only been married 5 months, and being a pretty princess on my wedding day was amazing.

    And then I woke up at 3 am on Christmas Eve at my in-law’s (my first Christmas EVER away from my parents) with the dread stomach bug. And then I found myself actually calling for my husband (I hate people seeing me sick), and he actually came and sat on the floor beside me, and even though I was miserable I was so thankful he was there. And then he went on an hour long search for some place that was open at 3:30 am on Christmas Eve to buy me Sprite to settle my stomach.

    And that made me love him more than all the times he’s told me I’m beautiful or all the times he’s complimented my cooking or all the times laughed at my corny jokes. It may not be glamorous, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  18. Amen. Amen. A.MEN.

  19. Oh man! I guess if I wanted to win, I should have a name that starts with K :)

  20. Would love to read this book!

  21. My husband tends to boil everything down to a food memory as well. Just made me laugh to read about the white bread incident! So like us!

  22. Audrey M. says:

    What a beautiful tribute to real marriage!!

  23. AMEN! So true! I’m so glad you wrote about this. Having been married almost 12 years and together a total of 18, this makes me smile. SO TRUE. It seems that so many in my age group are getting divorced because it’s the easiest thing to do. It’s not. I can’t keep track of my friends and their kids and custody battles. Frustrating that people give up so easily. I like the comment above that says ‘The joy is in the journey!’

  24. I’m hoping mine is delivered today. Then, I hoping to hear your next book is out too. First, there was Sparkly, then Salty, then Antelopes, and it’s your turn, today’s post was a great look at your marriage, ….so would it be…..Alligators, Aardvarks, Angels???
    I’m buying as soon as it’s ready!
    You are great, Sophie!

  25. Betty Holcomb says:

    I loved this post and so identified with it. Our little group of friends have a saying that goes right along with your husband’s comments about “your dog and white bread.” We woman folk like to remember and give every DETAIL in a story…like what we were wearing, what the weather was like , where we were sitting in church when something happened…while the men folk are “just the facts ma’am.” So the female stories go something like this”it was the day before my 12th birthday and I was wearing my favorite blue shirt that my Aunt Hazel had given me, there was a cool breeze and we were sitting on the back porch…to infinite and beyond” While the male story is “DOG DEAD!” Whenever we girls get to embellishing (for effect of course) all the men chime in with “DOG DEAD!” Translated ‘just the facts Ma’am!’

  26. Beautiful and wise and true.

  27. My kids are home. Because, well MORE SNOW DAYS. HELP ME MOSES. Anyway, they heard me crack up through the neighbor,bread, dog, bit. Too funny. Marriage is HARD. After this week I’ve considered becoming a nun–except I’m not catholic and I have 4 kids so there’s that. Anyway, GREAT write up to plug Melanie’s book. Ya’ll are some great women!!

  28. Already got my copy on my kindle and started reading it! Such a good book! It makes me feel better about the fact that my marriage after almost 35 years is very similar to yours and Melanie’s. We are now entering retirement together and I’m terrified that we are going to drive each other completely nuts! One day at a time sweet Jesus is my motto. However I couldn’t imagine spending my retirement with anyone else. I’ve loved him since I was 16 years old, warts and all. Hopefully he says the same about me! Love reading your blog Sophie! It brings a smile or all out belly laugh every single time I read it!

  29. We’ve been married 22 years and had our first date on Valentine’s Day 24 years ago this year. I wish I could go back to Young Me and tell her just what you said in this post, and add, “Celebrate the differences, why do you think God brought this man into your life if not to help perfect you into the likeness of Jesus? Stop “kicking against the pricks”.” and I am sure that David (that’s my husband’s name, too) would have some things to say to Young Him. I am so excited for the Antelope, he’s on his way now.

  30. Lora Lynn says:

    The time I had a stomach bug, passed out, fell off the toilet, hit my head on the tile, and that’s where Andrew found me with my hind end exposed and a goose egg on my forehead? And he didn’t walk out and never come back? That’s a marriage, right there. Put THAT on TLC. (Only I’d like to hire a stunt double for my backside, please.)

  31. You and Melanie feel like Southern soul sisters to me. So blessed to know you.
    In fact, if you decide to quit your day jobs and podcast for a living, I’ll quit my biscuit making racket and be your producer/coffeeserver/cupcakemaker/bumpmusicfinder. Or maybe you could give me a short segment in your show for my thriving karaoke career. Either way, I can’t imagine internet land without you.

  32. i have pre-ordered several so me and my crew of friends can all start reading it at the same time! can’t wait!!! you are such a special friend to big mama…that comes across in each of your blogs. i love that! it’s very awesome to find “those friends”…thankful for mine! and i know mel is thankful for you!

  33. Sophie, this was so, so sweet. And hilarious (neighbor, dog, bread) – I BURST out laughing!
    Our 33rd anniversary is coming up – it has not always been easy, but lots and lots of good memories. The joy of being grandparents together is awesome. Your husband is the one person who agrees with you that the grandchildren are the cutest, smartest kids ever! :)

    I honestly just LOVE your writing. I cannot wait for your next book!

  34. “being content within that commitment”–For me, you nailed marriage on the head with this phrase. My husband and I have been married 32 years. I was afflicted with the fairy-tale wedding/romance novel syndrome, too. But, what my husband and I have in real life is so much better than that. We are committed to God and to each other to honor the vows of marriage through the messes and the fun! I enjoy your writing and look forward to your next book.

  35. Hello Boo Mama!
    It’s good to meet you! (if you can call commenting on your blog “meeting” but hey, I’m still getting used to the fact that I talk to people online, through Twitter and blogs that I have never met in person.) I found your blog through the Allume website and I enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing honestly. Marriage is so, so tricky and yet so wonderful. It’s always good to find a new book that shares real struggles and laughs. I hope to be so generous for my friends’ who write new books. What a great way to support the tough task of writing a book and putting it out there for all to see.

  36. Sophie, you model friendship principles of such beautiful loyalty. And, I can not tell you – can NOT tell you, how many times my sweetman and I have had a conversation just like you and David’s and he looked at me like I sprouted horns and I looked at him like he was speaking a mixture of Spanish and French and we both ended up laughing. I loved that description of marriage. Laughter and loyalty… there it is.

    P.S. I just noticed that you are one of the speakers at Allume and do you know that I immediately called Every Single Relative that ever, EVER, gives me money for birthdays or Christmas and said that I know I told them that last year’s Speakers (hello! MELANIE!) made it imperative for me to go, but this year? Y’all… BOOMAMA WILL BE THERE! SPEAKING! And they all agreed that for the sake of my blood pressure, that they’d better chip in and send me again. I can’t wait to hear your laughter inducin’ mama’s heart there. Can. Not. Wait!

  37. I can’t even believe this as I say it, but I have been married for 22 years now! I was 19 the day we said I DO and, boy, did I have unrealistic expectations. I recently pinned a quote on Pinterest that says, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Yup, that about sums it up!