Love. Trials. Joys. Day after day of the same routine. Attempts to understand and grow deeper. Desire to do it right. Marriage.
Praying on my desire to celebrate God’s forgiving mercy, I think of my wonderful husband, Bill. The same Bill who sometimes drives me crazy! Does he really have to remind me to do something that I am already on my way to do?
“Call the insurance guy,” he says.
“I know,” I retort, rolling my eyes, exasperated.
He tailgates. Really, he does. But he’s never been in an accident, as he has frequently reminded me, so I keep my mouth shut. Teeth clenched, actually. Right hand on the door, left hand hovering a few inches from the dashboard – you know, just in case today is our unlucky day!
And then there’s the helpful advice: “move the bucket over there so you don’t trip on it” – While I’m the one mopping!
Or the advice that my sister, Louisette, gets from her husband, Glen, when she decides to sweep the patio: “We have a blower for that. Why don’t you use the blower?” – While she’s the one cleaning up the patio!
These all require delicate handling lest we respond, “Are you doing this? No? Then mind your own beeswax!”
If you’re reading this and you have not yet had your 60th birthday or beyond, you might be confused. This doesn’t happen when you’re in your prime. Husbands only start interfering when they’re retired and have loads of experience with how you cook, clean, vacuum, mop, drive, garden, talk to friends, volunteer for stuff (they hate that one – or maybe it’s me that hates the “I told you not to volunteer for that!”)…the list goes on.
Take my friend, Marilyn, one tiny little accident when she happened to be on her phone, and Chet tells her she can’t talk on the phone while she drives, or walks, because, yeah, there was the tiny little falling over a crack in the sidewalk while she was on the phone with me.
Then there’s my friend, Pat. She does it differently. She does it well! She is an inspiration! She is the champion in how to handle a retired husband – She laughs at him. I love that!
A perfect example of Pat handling John occurred one night when she and John were in the kitchen preparing for dinner guests – me and Bill, actually, and John told Pat, “Move, please, you’re in my flow!”
What did we hear when we arrived? Pat saying, “Hey, John, you have enough space there? I’m not in your flow, am I?” She says it with a smile, a BIG smile, and John cannot help but know how ridiculous he had sounded. The result? They laughed about it and still laugh about it when space gets tight in the kitchen.
Back to the point about God’s forgiving mercy. I knew I had been a little edgy, okay, I was cranky, with Bill. I was praying that I could lighten up a little. Maybe not get so annoyed when Bill tells me something from three rooms away that I don’t hear him and then he says that I need a hearing aid.
At first I prayed, “God, could you give me thicker skin, please?”
Then it hit me. I’m pretty sure it was God who said it, but it could have been me: “How about more ticklish skin?”
Yeah, that’s what I need – ticklish skin, definitely not thick skin. I need to remember God’s mercy, and I need to practice a bit more of it with the guy I love…the one who drives me crazy!