I couldn’t believe what I just heard! Could she really mean what she was saying? The statement came out of the clear blue, and based on my recollection, was inconsistent with previous thoughts she had shared with me. After months of both of us bemoaning the horrible condition of our dog-ridden carpet, I had stripped it all away – cleaned up the nails, staples, and scraps of pad, in order to prepare for the installation of a new floor – a real, raw, hardwood floor. Although it was a task I had never attempted before, I was confident that I could do it, and I was motivated.
But after about three weeks of having no furniture in the living room, and living on a rough-hewn plywood floor, she was becoming impatient. But the impatience she then referred to was not what I expected! Standing over me in the living room, arms folded, while I was cutting and installing the red oak planks, she said, “You seem to have become addicted to this project. What about me? It feels like the only thing you care about is getting this stupid floor done.”
I remember blinking up at her, stunned that she could be suggesting that what I was doing wasn’t important. But the expression of hurt and loneliness on her face told it all. She was right.
I had bored headlong into a project that although doable, was bigger than I had ever imagined, and my determination to do it, do it right, and finish it, had blinded me to the other parts of life going on around me. I wanted her to be proud of my effort. I wanted her to love her new, beautiful, glossy redwood floors, and as I pondered it, more than anything else, I wanted her to be proud of me.
Needless to say, I was a bit stunned, and a little hurt by her accusation that I had been ignoring her and her needs. But as I thought it out a bit more, the images of the past few weeks of preparation and work literally clarified before me, and I realized I had no leg to stand on.
In a recent Realtime poll of married women, they stated that one of the things they feel would benefit their marriages more than anything would be that at a minimum, their husbands would recognize the behaviors they project – that make them (the wives) feel less important than . . . (fill in the blank).
Last week in Part 1 of this post, I challenged you to identify your own behaviors – the ones your wives may have been referring to when they completed the survey with Realtime. The ones that we as husbands have continued in spite of the hints, suggestions, or semi-ultimatums we may be receiving from our wives.
The related scripture was from Luke 12:34
“It’s obvious isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (MSG)
As I read Eugene Peterson’s translation of the verse, I really got blindsided by the first four words – It’s . . . Obvious . . . Isn’t . . . It?
Ummm . . . well . . . not always I suppose. But having given it some thought, little firecrackers started going off in my brain. I guess the reason for that was . . .
What seems obvious to me is not necessarily the perception of my bride . . .
Because what was obvious to me, was that I was doggedly on my hands and knees with every spare minute I had, working feverishly to get this home improvement project done – and done right. She kept telling me how great it looked, but at the same time she was longing for some time with her husband – time that had nothing to do with the new floor that was quickly becoming a barrier to our relationship. Although it was a relatively small thing comparatively, it was the kind of thing that could become bigger – if I intentionally ignored her now public plea.
Later in Luke 12, Peterson implies, “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!”
She is the greatest gift – the best!
That makes my thoughts, my desires, my actions; secondary to her needs . . . IF I am truly a servant to her. My habits, hobbies, and/or behavioral addictions may not necessarily be a bad thing in moderation – but doing those things to the exclusion of her needs, turns the things I am passionate about, into sin.
BAM! It kinda hurts to think that at times, but it is nonetheless the truth.
How can you come to grips with the things you do that might be impeding the relationship with your wife?
And wives, what are some of the simple things that we as your husbands are ignorant to, that might well be good for us to know?
We eagerly anticipate your responses.
And, as always . . .