Their relationship reminded me of the chicken and the egg conundrum. Which came first; her lack of appreciation for him or his failure to nurture her? For as long as I had known them she had grumbled about their marriage. From all that I had witnessed he was, pretty much, absent. Seldom had I seen them together. When they came to social gatherings the tension between them was palpable. They behaved much as strangers, disconnected and aloof.
She had talked to me a few times about the distance between them and I had suggested that she look for ways to appreciate him. I can only imagine how difficult that request really was for her. She grimaced when I challenged her but I pressed and she agreed. I’d thought at the time that she was merely conceding so I would shut up.
Apparently she had been listening. She shared with me that she had made an effort to find one thing about him, each day, to compliment before she permitted herself to say anything else. She recounted, in particular, a day when she discovered the mess he had left in the bathroom after showering. The toothpaste was left on the vanity, open and drying out. His wet towel was on the floor and the medicine cabinet was left open. She told me how she had vented a little anger in her efforts as she righted the room. Under her breath she had cursed his laziness and complained silently about his self-centeredness.
When the bathroom was clean and she had searched out her husband, he was in the garage tinkering in his toolbox. She was poised; ready to berate him for the mess he had left inside. But she remembered her commitment to complement. She came up close beside him and over-dramatically smelled the air about him.
“Oh my, don’t you smell wonderful,” she said. “Can I get a hug before you work yourself into a sweat again?’
I can only guess how hard it was for her to set aside her upset about his mess, but she did it. It was worth it. He took her in his arms and held her tight. Suddenly he remembered and began to clumsily explain himself.
“Oh! I forgot to clean up the bathroom when I was done,” he exclaimed. “The hinge was coming loose on the medicine cabinet. I came out here to get a screwdriver to fix it and then got distracted. I’ll go pick up my mess now.”
She wrapped her arms more tightly around him and assured him that the mess was cleaned up.
As she told me the story I could see the excitement in her eyes. It was a spark of affection and appreciation. She reminded me of a young bride. It was obvious that she had fallen in love with her husband again.
What had been a marriage on the brink of disaster was becoming one of unity. Which came first? There would come a time when they would look back and be unable to remember. Had she made the first move or had he? Was it her offering of grace for his foibles or his sacrifice of self for her sake?
Soon after that incident, I came upon a painting of an abandoned boat. The boat was pulled inland, away from the water to decay in the wind and the sun. The drifting sand had moored it above the water to overlook the sea. As I studied the composition, I wondered what had happened that the weather stripped and wind worn boat had ceased to serve its purpose.
I could see no visible signs of damage, no holes to render it unseaworthy. Nothing should have kept that boat ashore, except for the sacrifice of its captain.
Word to the Wives ~ ~ Do not fail to recognize the times that your husband has sacrificed his pleasures or his choice for your sake. Such sacrifices or submissions are demonstration of his love for you.
I honor the many sacrifices
you have made,
for the sake of my happiness.
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