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Archive for the ‘Fireproof’ Category

I received a letter the other day. It was from my wife.

I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to write long letters to your spouse when you have an issue, but I’m not a big fan of it. I’ve always appreciated the direct, verbal route. Perhaps this is one of the issues she (and other people) have with me at times.

Regardless, a written response has been requested. Why in writing? Only she and her “life coach” know for sure.

 So, in a supportive (but not overally thrilled) way, I have tried to draft a response the last couple of days.  What women fail to understand at times, is that putting a man’s feelings into words is not the simplest of tasks.  I’ve been through several drafts, and I can feel the clock continue to tick as my response is being waited upon. 

Am I wrong to assume that my every word will be scrutized by my wife and her Life Coach? 

And……….how do I address analogies, such as “a marriage is like tending a garden”?  Shall I own up to pulling all the weeds, without knowing which ones are really flowers?  

I don’t know.  I’m simple-minded, and need more direct feedback. 

In all fairness, I’m not the easiest guy to be married to.  I’m on the temperamental side, addicted to sports at the expense of other wife related activities, and have had an off & on relationship with Nicotine over the years (currently its ON, which is one of the issues).

My parents divorced when I was a kid, so I never had the best of role models when it comes to marriage.  But, that’s no excuse.  During the course of (almost) 15 years of marriage, it hasn’t been easy to keep my wife happy with me or our marriage all the time.  It appears that I’m in the middle of one of those down cycles.

Unfortunately, I’m not bright enough to see these marriage cycles coming ahead of time (and yes, I’m assuming this is just a phase in marriage we will overcome).   So, I’ll write the letter and profess my love.  I’ll apologize for whatever I have done to offend, and try to figure out how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  That’s always the tough part.

Of course, all of this is coming down the week before Valentine’s day.  I better get this one right……..or it’s gonna be a little cold on the 14th.

-Al

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Love and Marriage

Question:  If a man is talking to himself in the woods, and no woman hears him………is he still wrong?

In my house I’m the boss……my wife is just the decision maker. It’s clear to see this every day in our home.  The kids come to me with a question or complaint, and my wife can overrule my decision much like a head referee overrules a line judge in a tennis match.  You can argue if you want, but in the end the head referee makes the final call.

I don’t know how this happened.  It was so gradual I didn’t notice it until recently. 

All I know is that my marriage is the only place in my life that I can get overruled on a semi-consistent basis.  In my professional life, I may be asked if a different approach would be better; but I’m never overruled without warning or discussion.

At the Evil Empire (i.e. my company), I know my role and responsibilities.  It’s clear where the boundaries are, and what decisions I am authorized and unauthorized to make.  In my family life, it appears to be a moving target at times.  There are some decisions I make that my wife doesn’t hear about until later, and she’s OK with them.  Sometimes she overhears my response to the kids,  and lets it go.  And of course, there are those times when her voice is heard from the other room, overriding my decision.

 I don’t worry much about making a mistake with my decisions, as long as I’m consistant with discipline and praise for my kids.  My wife agonizies over many of the small (at least to me) issues / questions.  If she’s wrong, or things don’t work out, she is very hard on herself. 

For me, I always believed that a married man should quickly forget his mistakes; there is no use in two people remembering the same thing. 🙂

Groucho Marx once said, that “The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.”  I definitely disagree with the “checkbook open” argument.  However, there is some small degree of truth to keeping silent and not correcting or disagreeing with your wife over every little thing.  As I have gotten older, I’ve slowly learned that my wife’s self worth is more important than me being “right”.

As silly as this may sound, I’ve been using a scale to determine if I should react to a comment from my wife that angers me or I disagree with.  The scale is 1-5, with 5 being the top of the volcano.  If her statement ranks as a 3 or less, I let it go.  If her comment ranks as a “4”, I make it a point to discuss it with her later in the day when I’m not upset or argumentative.  Believe me, waiting is not easy for me.

If her comment ranks as a 5, chances are I already blew it and said something I shouldn’t have.  But I’m working at it.

The point is, if I hold back my comment, I usually realize that it wasn’t a big deal anyway.  It helps me keep things in perspective.  In the past, I would jump in and let the world know if I felt a comment was unfair or incorrect. This, of course, never resulted in anything positive between my wife and I.

I have learned that in love and marriage, the best way to grow your marriage is to put your wife’s feelings and her self worth before your own.  This isn’t a wimpy decision.  In fact its hard to do, at least for me.  What I have found is that this makes for a much happier wife.  And after all, you know the old saying: “if Momma isn’t happy, the family isn’t happy”.

-Al

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