Nancy Roman


It’s my husband’s birthday.

I won’t tell you how old he is, but let me say with some glee:  Older Than Me!

In celebration of his birthday, let me pay tribute to the good and bad side of one of his strongest traits.


My husband is stubborn.

Probably the stubbornest person I have ever met. Maybe the stubbornest person who ever lived.

He will never give up. He will never give up an opinion or a grudge. (He still hates his first-grade teacher.)

He won’t give up a broken tool. He will fix it. Or perhaps, put it in the cellar to fix “one day.” We have a very crowded cellar.

He won’t throw away left-overs. I ate the Easter ham for the next nine days. He ate the Easter ham for a month. (He is still alive, but that is only because he is too stubborn to admit he was poisoned.)

When we buy a new car, it does not mean that he will part with the old car. He still has his (non-running) 1979 Porsche.

He has: rakes with no tines, shoes with no soles, pens with no ink, watches that last kept time in 1981. When he lost weight, he wore his old clothes for so long that one day as he walked from the kitchen to the den, his pants fell down to his ankles. Thank goodness he was not at the Post Office.

But here’s the positive side of pig-headedness:

He really does sometimes fix stuff that I would have thrown away. He has repaired vacuum cleaners and jewelry and computers.

And he will keep plugging away at something that he does not know how to do until he can do it.

Before he finally retired (and he keeps saying he will go back to work), he was an amazing salesman. Because he never gave up until he got the sale. Yes, he was one of those obnoxious salespeople that will just keep on until they wear you down. There’s good money in that, by the way. And his customers actually liked him, because he got their business through sheer stubbornness and determination – not lies.

And also because the other thing he will not give up on is: People.

I don’t have a lot of friends. He has a ton of friends, and he keeps them.

He is still friends with this little girl:

tom cowboy

My husband in the ever-present cowboy boots with his childhood friend Amelia and her dad.


He is also still very good friends with the girl he dated a few times in high school, more than fifty years ago. Am I jealous of his relationship with this old sweetheart? Only jealous that he can keep friends for so long. I am not exactly friends with my old boyfriends.

When he had surgery several years ago, he received cards and flowers from his customers. And although he has been retired for a few years now, these same customers call every now and then to shoot the breeze.

Years ago, a girlfriend of mine had a problem and called to discuss it. With my husband.

And although it is annoying (which is the diplomatic way to phrase it) to be married to a guy who saves broken staplers, he also saved something else this year that makes me love him still.

He saved the life of an old friend. He didn’t do this alone; his friend’s sister was the most important factor in saving this guy’s life. But my husband was critical too.  This guy is a funny, smart and sweet person, who over the course of many years, developed a serious drinking problem. And one day last summer, my husband received a phone call from his friend’s sister. His friend was in the hospital, dying of liver disease.  “End-Stage,” the hospital called it, and were not bothering to even treat him. His sister – as stubborn as my husband – would not give up on him. She had a specialist come in and convince the hospital staff – loudly – that her brother did not have to die. And so the hospital reluctantly began to treat him. And the hospital was not the only source of resistance. My husband’s friend had given up too.

So my husband went to the hospital. And he told his friend, “I am keeping you as a friend. I need you in my life, and I refuse to let you go.”

He was the only visitor (other than the sister) that his friend had.

But sometimes one friend who won’t give up on you is enough.

Just recently my husband stopped by his friend’s house. He was remodeling the dining room.

Happy Birthday to my pig-headed hero.











  1. Gosh. How big was the ham?


  2. What an adorable pic.


    • Thanks. One of those photo booth pictures. I love it, because we look silly and happy.


  3. I love that picture of you two!


    • Thanks, I love that photo-booth silliness too!


  4. What a lovely b-day card to your husband! My husband has a hard time getting rid of things too… which I figure will serve me well as I get older.


  5. What a great guy. Happy birthday to him. And many more!


    • He IS a great guy. He drive me crazy, but he’s a great guy.


  6. What a wonderful Birthday Card, better than any Hallmark card I have ever read. Love the picture.


    • Thanks. It’s important to remind yourself of why you love him. That way you refrain from killing him.


  7. Happy Birthday to your wonderful, stubborn husband! Fantastic picture of you both too!


  8. Lovely photo. I absolutely love this post! Sounds like you guys have the truest of loves. Good and bad traits equally appreciated 🙂


    • Oh, no one really loves the bad traits. True love means loving someone despite the flaws.


  9. a lovely tribute to pigheadedness–I am pigheaded too but I am not sure it is appreciated–Happy Birthday to your handsome life-saving husband


  10. What a tribute to your husband. It is wonderful that you recognize both sides of his trait. Beautifully written. And a beautiful photo! – Maureen


    • Thanks. There are certainly two sides to pig-headedness. I like his perseverence. I can’t stand his obstinance. And sometimes there is a very fine line indeed.


  11. Aw….. I have tears in my eyes reading this. You’ve written a wonderful tribute to your hubby in honor of his birthday. And I love the pic; quite a man you have there (but you already know that)!


    • The best thing about his ability to stick with something is his ability to stick with me.


  12. You two are an adorable couple. Happy Birthday to the your sweetie.


  13. Wow. I think I’m in love with your husband, too. I wish him a happy birthday and many more happy, stubborn years. The world needs people like him.
    PS – Great pic of you both! You look great together.


    • Oh, everyone is in love with him. Our cats especially. They all adore him. They consider me a can opener.


  14. Christine

    Hope Tom has a great birthday– and that you enjoy the celebration too. Do you see, as I do, a resemblance between your husband Tom as a little boy and our brother Tom as a little boy, or is it just that all little boys look alike in old pictures?


    • I think there is an age… around 8 or 9, where all little boys look alike.


  15. Happy birthday to your husband who sounds amazing. I love the friendship thing—-I don’t think a lot of men value friendships like he does. What a guy!


    • My husband truly cherishes his friends. And you are right – it is a precious thing to find that in a man.


  16. ::Love::

    I really enjoyed this tribute to your stubborn husband; he’s a keeper, but you knew that already. Great picture, too!



    • Believe me, there are plenty of times when I wonder if he is a keeper. At least once a day I think about throwing him back. Maybe releasing him into the wild is the right phrase. But I’ve kept him for 22 years now… it’s probably too late.


  17. Ray G

    I, also, personally know his good traits and appreciate them. I tend to ignore (sometimes reluctantly) his less-than-perfect qualities. And I deeply value his friendship. That’s all besides his good taste in being initially attracted to you, and then marrying you.


    • One of his best qualities is that he wasn’t afraid to marry me. Everyone else was.


  18. Happy birthday to one of the good guys!


  19. Happy Birthday to the pig headed guy who is older than you. The two of you obviously have a wonderful relationship and can see the good and not so good in each other. No rose coloured glasses or posing in this relationship. That kind of honest love is hard to come by. Congratulations to both of you for finding each other.
    By the way, it is a wonderful photo.


    • I think the rose-colored glasses are actually important in a relationship. You need to see someone through a lens tinted with love. It helps you filter the yucky stuff so it isn’t so yucky,


  20. Well, no one is perfect. A great birthday blog to your hubby. BTW, my husband used to hold on to things that he thought he “could use sometime.” He was a carpenter, tinkerer, and also, he was a very gifted Mr. Fix-It. He loved playing golf, but I believe he was happiest when I gave him a challenge to fix something or build something. Right away, he took out his measure and pencil and wasted no time getting started at his work bench.


  21. What a wonderful tribute. Happy belated birthday to your stubborn, fantastic guy.


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