Wives tell us husbands to do so many things that we really don’t believe in or even understand. For a variety of reasons which us husbands are and are not willing to admit, we end up doing most of those things for our women. I can’t answer for all the husbands out there, but my own introspection about the trust my wife and I share lead me to an incident that happened about 3 years into my marriage.
I was married young (I was 22 and she was yes, yikes 17 … we are still married 25 years later) and made countless mistakes –many related to overcoming my own insecurities required to build the kind of trust required for a stable, fulfilling marriage. Let’s just say the building process was slow and often uncomfortable for both of us.
One day 22 years ago, my wife handed me a form and said, fill it out and mail it back. I said no dear, it’s junk mail, and I showed her that it was just one of many pieces of junk mail we had received. Again, she said fill it out. So I did. A few months went by and we got another postcard stating I needed to call in to claim a prize I had won. She said, call them. Again, I said no dear, I’ve been-there-done-that and this is simply another scam. To prove her naiveté, I dared her to the outcome of the call – that they will ask for my social security number or bank information. Again she said, just call them. Once again I did. Though they only asked for my phone number and address which I provided, I nonetheless proceeded to explain to my wife that she’s still wrong and is wasting my time. That made me feel better in the face of my own self-accusation of having quickly become one of those husbands whose wife pushes them around.
Life went on.
One day I came home from work and there was a huge box in front of my apartment door –with a 10 speed, red, men’s bicycle inside. No invoice, but clearly addressed to me.
It turns out my wife had mailed in the “proof of purchase” tags from 5 store-brand corn flakes boxes we had consumed a few months back. She mailed them in along with the “drawing for a bicycle” form on the back of the same cheapskate cereal box. In classic wife form, she gloated in her “I told you so” moment, much like my condescending dare of her presumed naiveté.Of the good 10+ years I used that bike, it was actually my main transportation to work for 2 of those years. More importantly, it was a very tangible reminder of my need, my requirement, my obligation to myself to trust my wife. That bike made the trust I lacked become real and logical.
It’s not as though both of us behaved like the ideal (whatever that is) spouse every day of our early marriage years. In this scenario, however, she responded to my lack of trust (aka lack of respect) with patience—perhaps inspired by her knowing she was right all along.
Twenty-five amazing marriage years later, I still to this day wonder, what if that bike had never arrived? Would I have never learned to trust in my wife? I still can’t answer that question because I honestly don’t know if it was love, logic, fate, or what. Maybe God sent me other signs that I was just too immature or self-absorbed to recognize. Maybe this was simply the one that stuck.
I just know for absolute sure that I am eternally thankful for a Generous Lord, cheap cereal, the patience of a good woman, and a red bike. I know for absolute sure that I no longer need to know what could have happened if that bike never arrived …because I’m still happily married.