I got up yesterday, the same as any other day, and did the things I always do. I wake up extra early. I do this, not for pleasure or preference mind you, but because I simply don’t sleep much. Any sleep I grab past 4 is a gift. When you have a wife, especially one who doesn’t sleep well, this raises special concerns.
We switched to a foam mattress. We both sleep better, and there are neither funny noises when you move around, nor does the mattress move when you roll over, enter, or leave the bed. I recommend it. This helps me leave the bed without disturbing her sleep each morning. I quietly grab the clothes I lay out the night before and slowly close the door. This is all pretty routine.
My wife hates mice. And as luck would have it, there’s one somewhere in the house over the last couple days that shows up in the night to scratch away at things and wake my wife up. When I state to you my wife hates mice, that is to say when she hears him it sends here into a full rage. I’m not joking.
Yesterday was a Saturday. That’s a ‘sleep in’ day for wifey if at all possible. She rarely enjoys anything past 7, but she tries and I’m cognizant of this fact. My 6yr old boy woke up pretty early and apparently ran straight down the hall opening our bedroom door. I was in the living room and quietly harkened him to me. He left our bedroom door open as well, apparently. I had made arrangements with my daughter to get up before breakfast so we could both zip uptown and snag some breakfast for mommy and the fam.
I sent my son down the hall to wake sissy since my never-silent son was up and we needed to go. There was some commotion so I thought I better handle this myself and get the kids rounded up and out of the house. I flipped the light on and headed down the hall to get them herded up. The hallway light is positioned to shine right into our room, and into the eyes of a woman with sanity hanging by a thread.
During my early morning prior to all this, I had been group texting with some good friends of ours from church – my wife is part of this text string, by the way, so she would eventually see all these messages. I had made jokes about my wife’s willingness to sleep the day away. I was urged to wake her up by people in the group. Like any guy, I talked tough, although they all know me well enough to know I’m all yap when it comes to things of this nature. I have a buddy in the group text with a fondness for videoing funny things while they happen, and then he plays them back during social gatherings. Pretty tame stuff, but I’ll admit there are some boundary concerns I have with that. He dared me in the same group text, to video me waking her up on purpose. I changed the subject and went about my morning.
Now, you’ve got the back story. When I walked down that hallway and saw our door open, my wife was just then rising to really give it to me with both barrels. She didn’t hold back. As if that weren’t bad enough, I whipped out my phone thinking I was being cute in keeping with our group text nonsense, and captured a tiny portion of this rant, and shared it on the group text. Not smart.
That text chain is full of humor and connection time for us. Especially now during the “social distancing” via COVID-19, those text chats keep us connected and supportive. We tease and joke routinely. But no matter how you slice it, adding that video was a really bad idea.
From my perspective, I had gotten up extra quiet like always, tried to get the kids out of the house and bring the family back breakfast so she didn’t have to cook, when the opportunity for tomfoolery showed up, I captured and shared it… Sounds pretty innocent, right?
Here’s how my wife saw it. She was woken up early on a Saturday after she had a week of vacation scheduled but didn’t get more than a day of it, as her work kept her on the phone and her laptop nearly all day and night. The mouse was apparently in the wall of our bedroom scratching around and driving my wife batty after I woke up and left. She thought I had left the door open. So, when I was talking with my son and sent him back to wake up his sister three times, she was woken again and again. She was fuming mad, which lead to her giving me the verbal smackdown. Add a healthy dose of disrespect with the video, and you have a perfect storm for her to flip.
Here’s the problem. She came out to my shop later in the morning when I was working and laid this all out before me with an ultimatum. I made an attempt after this all came out in conversation to explain that I was guilty of bad behavior for the stupid video and I was sorry for the noise. But I also didn’t have any idea the door was open and she was being kept from sleep during that time. It doesn’t matter folks. My wife isn’t the kind of person who says, “Oh, in that case, you only actually did one of the five insensitive things I thought you did, therefore I’ll only be one fifth as angry with you.” I don’t know many that do handle things like that. Eventually, she may come around on some of that, but it’ll never be known to me. When my wife gets angry, and she stays that way. For long periods of time – days, sometimes weeks.
I could provide for you a list of the things I know she’ll do, or more appropriately not do, over the time to come. As it pertains to yesterday morning, I don’t deserve the punishment I’m going to receive. I’ve apologized. I instantly asked her to forgive me. She may, or may not. Don’t think for a minute I’m suggesting that she’s all washed up when it comes to the dumb stunt I pulled. I own that. And for that matter, there were better ways I could have rounded the kids up that morning that could have insured her more rest. I dropped the ball. Plain and simple.
Here’s where the rub comes… At the end of the day, I can boob and bawl about how lopsided I think her reaction is, but there is nothing on this Earth I can do to convince her to handle things differently. What am I left with? ME…
How conceited must one be to expect someone else see it their way, especially during the throes of an emotional and passionate argument? My silly idea, that she lighten up, illuminates the pinnacle of my hypocrisy. If I truly want my wife to cut me some slack, I don’t need to work on her. I need to work on me. She’ll either come around or she won’t. This remains to be seen. But if I don’t get some self-reflection and latch onto it in a hurry, that’s squarely a “me” problem that I’m knowingly allowing to continue. How am I supposed to give an account to Him for my time here, with that glaring defect on my resume?
“Yeah, the thing is God, my wife was being really short-sighted and reactive during that time, and I didn’t rightfully earn all that punishment, so I figure that balances the equation in regard to why I was a crappy husband.” You think He’s going to buy that load of malarkey?
As an aside, about an hour after the dressing down I was given in my shop by my wife, our brand new Pastor did the “pop-in” to see me. I gave him the Cliff’s notes version of what happened. He informed me of what I already knew – I was stupid. When parting he said, “you need to work on you.” Would you like the God’s honest truth? When he said that it really, really, really pissed me off. I grit my teeth I was so angry.
But the truth is my Pastor was right, I could be completely free of sin and mistake in this situation (I’m not by the way), and it wouldn’t matter. I don’t get to control the thoughts, will, or direction of my wife. The idea of my authority over others has been flawed. I rule over no other person in this sense. My discipline starts and stops with me in this regard. …As I gaze into the mirror it appears as if I have plenty of work to keep me busy.
Scripture like Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 3, 1 Corinthians 7, and 1 Timothy 3 come to mind as just a few I need to reread over and over and search for the context in which to better apply to myself. It occurs to me also, that many before me needed these same lessons. Take a peek at the beginning of this paragraph. 4 Books of the Bible and 3 are numbered. Why? One letter wasn’t sufficient to get the work done – many were sent. The recipients of those letters needed follow up and additional help and consideration. If they needed it, I certainly do…
Be salt and light my brothers and sisters. I beg of you.