I do not consider myself an expert on marriage but through my many blunders I have discovered what I believe is the key to a long and survivable marriage – think before you speak!
Honesty is always the best policy so just avoid saying anything.
If your spouse says “do you remember the day you said I do” – the answer isn’t why would I say I do?
If your wife says “I love to cuddle” – do not compare her legs with a porcupine.
If your wife says “you love that car more than me” – avoid saying yes.
If your husband says “you’re hot” – don’t tell him you would be hotter if he would turn up the furnace.
If your wife says “look at what that woman is wearing” – don’t look and if you do look don’t comment.
If your husband asks “what made you talk to me the first time” – I wanted to meet your friend is not the right answer even if it is true.
If your wife says “do these pants make my butt look big” – avoid saying it’s not the pants that make it look big.
I want to die first that way I’m not alone.
Sounds innocent enough, after all, who wants to be the one left behind? I took it as a statement on how difficult life would be for my wife without me. I saw it as a commentary on how good a husband I am. By the fourth or fifth time she said it, I wondered if it was more her desire to get away from me. It was starting to look like my wife wasn’t so happy being married to me.
Don’t wait too long to die, if I get much older it will be tough to find a new wife.
Yes I said it! Much like a “porcupine” leg comment or an “it’s not the pants” remark, I slipped a little truth in instead of avoiding the topic altogether. For those who don’t know me or my wife it may be time to relieve some of the hostility brewing toward me after saying that.
People who do know us know that this type of comment wasn’t an off the cuff remark gone bad or an honest reply that should have been avoided. This was just plain old ribbing and has been a part of our marriage from the beginning. I won’t say I haven’t taken it a little too far the odd time but this wasn’t one of those times.
Humour often breaks the tension when facing an uncomfortable reality.
The truth is, life without my wife would be devastating. Would I remarry? I don’t think I could answer that but what I do know is that life would have a huge hole in it without her. I may crack a joke about finding a new wife but it is my way to avoid facing the possibility of being left behind.
My wife says she wants to die first with good reason. In the last ten plus years both her grandfathers died as well as her mother. All of them left grieving spouses behind. It broke her heart to see the pain they endured and the pain her father still endures. No one wants to be lonely.
Life is often interrupted by uncomfortable realities.
My wife texts me almost every day to ask how I am feeling. I know that there is more behind this simple question than the words suggest. She is asking how I am coping with the chronic pain and the resulting depression and anxiety that has become a part of my life.
Four years ago my life changed dramatically. What was once the odd bad day or week was surpassed in both duration and intensity. I could barely sleep and when I did it was only for a few minutes. I would wake up with a jump and a whimper then begin begging God to take me as I could no longer deal with the pain.
It took time, medical help and sometimes good old exhaustion but eventually I started sleeping for longer periods of time. Even though I was sleeping longer, often I would wake my wife up because I was crying in my sleep. Some mornings I would wake up with loose teeth because the pain is so bad I had clenched them all night while I slept. Life was a little better but unpredictable and it would never be the same.
Uncomfortable reality has revealed unselfish love.
My wife tells me I still cry in my sleep some nights. The pain can return without warning and the mental health issues that accompany it may once again dominate my life but at least the full blown episodes are fewer and farther between.
The text messages remind me that this has been and still is difficult, not just for me, but for my wife. When we are together we try not to focus on this but sometimes the conversation ends up there. It was one of those times that I found out how much my wife lives out unselfish, Christ like love. The woman that wanted to die first so she wouldn’t be left alone admitted that in the past she had echoed my prayers asking God to take me so that my suffering would end. She was willing to be alone if it meant I wouldn’t have any more pain.
The things that make us comfortable are often the things we give up when we love like Jesus.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)