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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Marriage Lesson

Many years ago, when the kids were in grade school and I worked full-time, I complained bitterly that my husband was not helping enough around the house.  I would hint and ask, ask and hint.  Nothing.  He wasn’t just naturally going to help out.  I didn’t think I should have to ask.  Couldn’t he see that things needed to be picked up?  Couldn’t he see the dust on every surface?

The fact that he was working 12-hour rotating shifts, his usual excuse, was to me pretty lame.  I was working full-time, too, you know.

At that time, I worked for our local mental health center as a secretary.  I was complaining to a co-worker, a counselor, that David was not helping out.  And when he finally did, he didn’t do it right.

Take the dishwasher, for example.  He loaded it all wrong.  He put the plastic stuff on the bottom where it would most certainly warp, he threw the silverware in its basket all mixed up and partially upside down, and he did not rinse things off before he loaded them into the dishwasher. 

My co-worker/counselor listened to all this very seriously and then said, “If you don’t let him do it his way, you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life.”

Whoa!  I had an immediate attitude adjustment.  I had a vision of me forever loading the dishwasher, one hand rubbing my aching back. 

Suddenly it didn’t matter how it was done.  Suddenly I realized that this was a matter of control, not dishwasher-loading style.

I practically ran in the door that afternoon and breathlessly told David that he could load the dishwasher any old way he wanted to.

He gave me that look that says, “What are you talking about?”  So I went on and told him that his style was fine, do it any way you want to, blah, blah, blah.  I was overcompensating just a little, I suppose, but I wanted to be sure he understood that I was allowing him to share the joy of dealing with dirty dishes.

He finally, out of self-defense, said, “Okay.” 

And thus it has been evermore…
By the way, today (June 12) is our 43rd anniversary...


  1. I'd love to know who shared that wisdom. Those days are still very clear in my memories.

  2. It was Boots. I learned a lot from just about everybody during my five years there...

  3. Excellent advise! I have learned that lesson too. The devil would like to take something so small an turn it into a root of bitterness. And then...real trouble.
    I love you,

    1. You're right, Margie. Real trouble is always lurking in the background somewhere and will instantly come forward if we let it. Thanks so much for your comment...

  4. Great life lesson, though I wouldn't know about having a hubby unload or load the dishwasher :)