"Respect Is . . . not mentioning his mismatched clothes."
Tonight, as Bruce was heading for the door to meet a friend for a meeting, I stifled a snicker and a snide remark when he leaned in for a kiss good-bye.
Restraint, this time, was not as difficult as it could have been. I had already considered that this situation would arise long before it ever did.
It all began last summer when there was a clearance sale in the men's department.
While I was at work, Bruce purchased two pair of summer shorts and two Hawaiian shirts for himself. One pair of shorts was army green and the other was bright white. One Hawaiian shirt sported a yellow and sage green print, the other was aqua blue with white palm trees and "Hawaii" in black script scattered all over.
he paired with which shirt for the meeting tonight?
I had realized last year, as I was beginning to learn this whole "respecting my husband" habit, that I could never mention the mismatch if it was already on his body before I saw it. To say anything negative would not be encouraging, approving, appreciating or respecting. For my husband, getting dressed is seriously time-consuming and an energy-exhaustive process and he takes "pride" in his appearance.
And, unfortunately, I could not simply tell him in advance. With his short term memory issues I would need to repeat the observation many times if I ever told him once. That would result in nagging. I puzzled over the possible predicament many times but I never had to face it until tonight.
What I had realized is that taste, especially taste in clothing, is not necessarily a man's "thing". I have always been grateful that my man is concerned about his clothes being clean and in good repair. I appreciated that about him from the beginning. I appreciate that his socks are always brilliant white and his shoes never, never, never have holes in them. His hair is always combed, his teeth always brushed and a belt always cinches his pants up to his waist.
He is respectably dressed every time he walks out the door. And he would be mortified to think that he was being disrespectful by his choice of clothing. The failure to put coordinating colors together in tonight's ensemble was not disrespectful of me. And it was surely not disrespectful of the other folks at the AA meeting. They have more important things on their minds than dressing to please.
Considering, pondering and planning my reaction in advance is what saved me this time. What could have been a nasty exchange of comments when he left and who-knows-what-kind-of-atmosphere when he returned never happened.
Resolving to be respectful sure changes outcomes.
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(Don't forget to "Like" me and can I get an Amen?)
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Postscript added 11/11