I had to do a quick search before I even wrote this post to see how long it had been since my last I Do Chronicles post…
9 months, almost exactly. It’s not so much that God hasn’t been teaching me more about marriage. He has. It would be nigh on impossible to go through an entire 2 years building process and not learn a thing or two. (Come to think of it, it would be pretty impossible to do ANYTHING for 2 years of marriage and not learn something). But he hasn’t been giving me tons of time to share what I’ve learned with you guys lately. Not that anything I’ve written in this series has been earth-shattering or “new” to most of you (anybody?), but I always find that, whether it’s a new concept or not, any encouragement I can get to approach my: marriage, mothering, friendships, work, life…in a godlier way…is a good thing. I hope you’ll find that true too.
A few days ago, I called Shaun on the way home from the gym to ask him if he would be willing to grab a loaf of bread for our dinner from the grocery store. To clarify: this was the grocery store that I was going to be driving by on the way home. Whereas, he was already home and would have to leave the house to go there.
That’s not usually my style. I have been known to teach two fitness classes, then take 7 children grocery-shopping at 7 PM. It’s not my preference, and I avoid it like the plague, but if it’s the only time it can be done, it gets done.
That evening, though, I was utterly wiped out, and the thought of taking my four littlest (the older three were home) inside the store for one item was giving me the heebie-jeebies. Plus, since our move, we now live 3 minutes from a grocery store.
And Shaun is an awfully nice guy, so I really didn’t think he’d mind taking the three older kids on a quick trip (especially since they are an absolute breeze to take places, what with their complete lack of complicated car seat buckles…not to mention 2-year-old drama).
But instead of a quick, “Sure!” there was a long pause, pregnant with hesitation, over the phone line.
And I’m not going to lie. I was disappointed. And a little irritated. And embarrassed. (Because, seriously, what kind of sissy are you, Abbie, that you call your husband to get bread when you’re perfectly capable of getting it yourself, girl?). I immediately started back-pedaling: “Never mind. Don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal. I was just checking, but I can totally do it, since you’re busy.”
More silence on the phone line.
At this point, the irritation was starting to win, and the words were piling up: “Okay, I’ll get the bread and be home in a bit. Love you, b-…”
I didn’t quite get the “bye” out before he said: “I was trying to surprise you by installing the guest bathroom sink before you got home. I don’t mind getting the bread at all, but I was just trying to finish up really fast before you got back, so you could see it done.”
Hello, you beautiful “surprise” sink, you!
I don’t know if there’s a term for “relieved with a side of ‘I’m a jerk,'” but if there is, that’s what I felt.
I had assumedthat he was feeling put upon by my “unnecessary” request.
I had assumed that he was annoyed and/or judging me for even asking.
I had assumedthat I had a right to get a little miffed by his not immediately saying yes.
I had assumed that he was more concerned with what he needed than what I did.
But nothing could have been further from the truth.
Of course, I apologized and told him to keep on fixing the sink. I would get the bread. But he wasn’t having it. “You already know now,” he said. “I can finish it later. I’ll get the bread. You just come home.”
So, I did.
Of course, in true “Dad’s buying the groceries” form, he brought home all kinds of junk food that I never let the kids have, so they were thrilled with the outcome…but that’s another blog for another day. 😉
Can I just encourage you (me?) not to assume the worst (or even the seemingly obvious) about our spouses?
While this example is pretty minor and ended well on all counts (I was fully prepared to stop and get the bread and not feel huffy when I got home; thankfully, my irritation was mild at best), I can think of plenty of others in which my jumping to conclusions snowballed into a full blown fight. And for NO. GOOD. REASON.
This time, though, I spent the rest of drive home feeling grateful for my husband and committing myself to the Lord to assume the best about the man he’s given me to love every chance I get.
In fact, next time I’m tempted to assume the worst, I’m going to instead assume I’m wrong.
It won’t be easy (being wrong is hard, yo), but hard is not the same thing as bad…especially when it makes my marriage better.
“Committing myself to the Lord to assume the best about the man he’s given me to love every chance I get” … there it is! Best marriage advice there is! When you assume the best about someone, that is usually what you find and it encourages us to give our best to that someone
For a while the quote on our chalkboard wall was, “Always assume positive intent.”
That is a FABULOUS quote!! I’m going to steal it!
Five years ago, when our family was in the midst of a stressful move and my husband and I were butting heads more than usual, he asked me where he could find a copy of our wedding vows.”
Had he inquired a week earlier, I could have immediately laid my hands on them, but now everything was in boxes. “I don’t know where they are right now,” I told him, “but I remember what we said. I can just quote them to you.”
But no, that wasn’t good enough. He wanted the actual piece of paper. And he wanted me to hunt through all those boxes until I found them.
The search lasted several days, and I was feeling pretty irritated over what I thought was an unreasonable request. I assumed he just wanted the vows so he could point out all the ways I’d been failing to live up to them lately — particularly considering the fact I’d been old-fashioned enough to promise to “love, honor, and OBEY.”
Long story short, I’d totally misjudged his motives. Our silver anniversary was coming up, and — unbeknownst to me — my sweet husband had arranged for us to renew said vows in the same church we’d been married in 25 years before. (photos here: https://lovinglifeathome.com/2012/08/25/moment-in-tim/)
So yes, Abbie, I’ve been humbled by my husband’s kindness before, too, and have learned to assume the best on his account. But reminders are good! Thanks for this one today. I’m betting that beautiful new sink of yours will help you remember this important lesson for a long time. 🙂
Oh man. I would have been irritated too, Jennifer! But what an incredibly sweet outcome! The pictures were priceless!
Sigh. So. So. True.
Abbie, this advice is GOLD. Clinging to this one because I can be so quick to jump to unnessesary irritation.
And, your bathroom! Ah! Swooning!
Thanks, Kendra! My sis-in-law keeps telling me how great that black and white bathroom is going to look when I add my pops of color, but I really wasn’t planning on doing color in there. We’ll see. 🙂
Oh my gosh-21 years of marriage here-so you think I would have learned this by now: but I have done this same.exact.awful thing multiple times, even recently. My husband is the nicest guy in the world and I should always assume the best rather than the worst. How lucky are we to be married to such great guys-God was looking out for us for sure.