Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Kiss an Angel Good Morning."

I love songs about husbands who love their wives and treat them right. Especially songs where it is clear that the guy doesn't expect anything in return for his love.

I work in a grocery store, so I see many families come through the check lanes. I'm always amazed by how many of them seem to make a career out of belittling their spouse. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone with a negative view on marriage or their wife, I'd be richer than Bill Gates. I read the advice columns in which husbands complain that their wives don't do anything for them, or treat them badly. Usually the columnist responds by trying to explain the wife's possible point of view, then pointing out what is wrong with the man's thinking, then suggesting marriage counseling. I say to myself, "Why don't they ask him if he loves her?"

I think it really is that simple a beginning. Do you love your wife? The Bible instructs us to do just that:

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the
church, and gave himself for it." [Eph. 5:25]

Some of you have commented on my previous posts about marriage how much I love my wife. I don't claim to be perfect, and our marriage is not perfect. We have our troubles. We were put to a tough test not long ago; when Alicia's sister was married, in fact. Alicia was the Matron of Honor and had gone up to help her sister prepare the week before the wedding. I volunteered to stay with the kids and bring them up in time for the wedding. So you can say that I asked for it.

That week was one of the worst I can remember. On top of having to work my forty hours (with no day off until we left town) and watching the kids, I had to get all of our clothes washed and then packed, and make sure we had everything we'd need. I selfishly began to build resentment to Alicia for going off and having fun without me, even though I had been the one to suggest it (the original plan called for her to take one of the kids with her). It didn't help that we had a phone conversation early in the week in which I thought she'd been having a gay old time; too much so to give me her complete attention. She talked to me during lulls in the conversation she was having with a cat. The explosion came the next day when she forgot to turn the cell phone on and I couldn't reach her. Part of my anger was justified, I feel; what is there had been an emergency with the kids? But most of it was the feeling that she was having too much fun to bother with me. I didn't feel like I was important to her. It never occurred to me that she had simply forgotten to turn the phone on.

Needless to say, she finally called late that night, and I lost my temper. We talked every day after that on the phone and it seemed like it only got worse. Now she was mad at me, and rightly so. We just couldn't reconcile over the phone; I got madder and madder, but I also knew that it would have to wait until I could see her face to face. It was hard on our families, I know. They had to watch us go on like this without really understanding what was wrong or being able to help.

We finally go to the hotel and were able to talk face to face. I realized then that I'd been a total jerk, and that part of what drove my anger was that deep down, I missed her. I needed to see her, and hold her and tell her how much she means to me. Needless to say, we kissed and made up, then proceeded to act like infatuated teenagers all weekend.

I realized that week just what the Bible's one flesh means. She is a part of me, and I'm a part of her, and I can't stand to be away from her. I know there will be other separations, and they will probably be just as difficult for me; it's not that I'm controlling or that I don't want her to live her own life. It's the things I miss when she's away.

Like watching her sleep when I wake up in the morning, her hair scattered all over the pillow in a way she describes as a fright, but I find exceedingly cute. Like the way she greets me when she finally does wake up and bounces into the kitchen, aglow and full of life. Or kissing her on her cheek when I leave for work early in the morning before the sun comes up. Or the way she bought a card for me when I was in a blue funk and drew pretty flowers all over the envelope, just the way she had done when we were dating.

You can't experience those things through a phone cord.