Homefires: On the Road to Understanding, Remember Your Sense of Humor (Image Vol 10, No 3 – May-June 1994)

By Matt Dabbs

By Ron Rose

They had been married for less than a month, but there was one problem. He hadn’t taken out the garbage. She assumed he had been so busy he just forgot, so, ever so gently, she reminded him, “Honey, the garbage needs to be taken out.”

“Okay!” he responded. She thought he would do it right then. He thought she was announcing the fact that she was finally taking the garbage out. After all, it was really stinking up the kitchen, and he wandered if she had lost her sense of smell.

In her family, Dad always took the garbage from the kitchen to the garbage can outside. In his family, Mom took the garbage from the kitchen to the garage, and then on garbage day, it was Dad’s job to pack all the garbage into the garbage can.

“He must not have heard me,” she thought to herself. “Honey, did you hear me? It’s time to take out the garbage!”

He heard her. The one thing he feared about marriage was happening. He was henpecked, already. So, he responded like a typical male – he just sat there. “If she will just keep quiet,” he reasoned, “I’ll take out her garbage in a little bit – when it’s my idea.”

She was baffled. She walked into the living room and asked, once more, “Honey, did you hear me?” He sat in silence, pouting. Then, with a loud sigh of displeasure, he got up, took the garbage out, and washed the car for the rest of the day.

This pattern was repeated over and over for months, until their first post-wedding visit to her parents’ house. During this visit he noticed that her Dad took care of the garbage. Now, the rookie husband understood his wife’s expectation, but he still didn’t want to be henpecked.

On the way home they had a long talk about expectations and tasks. And they decided on a course of action that would take care of his fear and her need to get the smelly garbage out of the kitchen. Now, she asks, “Honey, is it your idea to take out the garbage yet!”

Nancy wanted something really special for this anniversary – it was their tenth. She hinted for weeks about a pari of silver, hoop earrings. She left the catalogue open on Barry’s desk with the earrings circled. She even guided their conversations around to the subject, with subtle comments like: “Speaking of the new tax laws, isn’t silver a good investment?” But on the day of the tenth anniversary, there were no silver earrings. No expensive chocolates. No flowers. For their anniversary, Barry gave her a new set of radial tires. “Nothing but the best for my girl,” he said.

Barry spent the rest of the morning washing and waxing her car, while Nancy fumed. Why couldn’t Barry be more romantic. “He must be romantically impaired,” she thought.

But as she watched him scrub and polish her car, she bean to realize the genuine love behind Barry’s gift. And, who knows, maybe on their twentieth anniversary, she’ll get a new car.

Lyn and I have been married twenty-six years. Through these years we’ve learned the value of accepting and understanding each other. During our first year we lived in a small, two-bedroom house, in Abilene, Texas. We were both going to college full time, and I was working for a local television station full time. On the first day of each month, we celebrated my meager 150 dollar paycheck, but it didn’t last long.

One Saturday morning toward the end of the thirty-one-day month, Lyn was in the kitchen preparing pancakes for lunch. We had a wonderful Teflon skillet, but non oil, no eggs, and no milk for the pancakes, just adding more water. Each time she tried to turn the cakes they crumbled. Nothing was going right. Tears of disappointment and frustration dropped to the skillet and sizzled.

I came around the corner, whistling, oblivious to her tears. She scooped up what was left of the “crumble cake” and threw it across the room, just missing my head. (She would have hit me if the pancake would have stayed together.)

“Is there something wrong?” I asked.

She scooped up the rest of the crumbs and threw them. We cried together. We laughed together. An, we invited ourselves to a friend’s house for lunch.

On your road to an understanding marriage, your sense of humor may be your most valuable possession. Don’t forget it!

Keep the Homefires burning.

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This author published 1598 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.


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