I was thinking, reminiscing really, about my life before marriage and kids and the joy that they have brought me. My marriage is the most wonderful blessing a good God could have ever bestowed on me. Oh sure, we have had our bumps in the road. But patience, faith, and a fair amount of learning have smoothed over most of the rough spots. Most of them.
There remain a few items about which my better half and I cannot seem to agree. In these few cases I am absolutely convinced that my logic is flawless and my cause just. The thing is, so does my wife.
We have been over these things time and time again but nothing ever changes. It is a classic case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. The result of the clash between the two hypotheticals is garbage. Yes, garbage.
It is [ostensibly] my job to take out the garbage. Regular garbage on Mondays and Thursdays and recyclables on Wednesday. The recyclables alternate, bottles and cans one week and newspaper and cardboard the next. Simple really. I make no argument that this is a simple task, I will stipulate that this is an easy job. I have nothing against taking out the garbage. Nope, don’t mind it at all. The thing is, I simply forget sometimes. Ok, I forget a lot. My wife never forgets.
This is where we run in to problems. The simple solution to this simple problem is that the party of the first part (my wife who never forgets) should simply remind the party of the second part (well meaning but charmingly forgetful me) to take out the garbage. Doesn’t this make sense to everyone?
But things are not that simple. No, my remembering the garbage sans reminder is a referendum on me as a husband, a father, and even a Christian. The argument goes, “If you really loved me [us] taking out the garbage would be important to you and you wouldn’t need reminding! You remember other things you care about. Like writing on your BLOG!” Logically therefore, since I occasionally forget to take out said garbage and I usually remember to write on the blog, the blog is more important than my family and I am the world’s most uncaring and cold garbage collector.
How is it that taking out the garbage is the yard stick by which is measured my capacity for love? For my part, I resist and categorically dismiss the absurd notion that this one endearing little flaw has any bearing on my capacity for love or my reigning status as “World’s #1 Dad!” (I have a mug to prove the title.)
Were this the only referendum on my status of superior bridegroom we could laugh off as one of those delightful little peculiarities that give marriage a certain charm, simply agreeing to disagree. But alas, it seems like it is only the first front in a war against my raffish manliness. A more pernicious assault on my status of great husband has arisen. This time, a line in the sand must be drawn.
Prior to my current role as World’s #1 Dad, I really enjoyed going to the movies by myself. No distractions. Me. Movie. Good. Understandably, this preference for solo cinema need taper once joined in holy matrimony. Taper. Reduce, ok. Eliminate? No way.
Last year, when the blockbuster movie “Dark Knight” hit theaters I was very excited to see it. My wife, sensing this excitement, elicited from me the promise not to go to the theater to see it without her. “I want to share your excitement,” she said, “Wouldn’t you rather see it with me?”
Since I am no fool I readily but reluctantly agreed that the experience would be so much better in the company of my beloved spouse. Weeks went by. Opportunities to go to the movie missed. No babysitter. Kids are sick. Too tired. Weeks into months and the movie was gone from theaters. I passed the husband test but missed the movie.
Imagine my delight last week when the movie was found to be available “On Demand” from my cable TV provider. “Finally,” said I. “I can finally see the movie that everyone, EVERYONE, else has seen but I missed through good husband blackmail.”
I called to my wife upstairs but she was busy with the kids. The move is rather long and it was already 8:45pm and knowing my wife as well as I do (since I am a good husband), I quickly calculated that there no way that she would make it more than one hour into the movie without falling asleep. She has fallen asleep in any movie we have ever rented that started past 8:30. Even the movies that ran a mere 90 minutes. There was no chance she would make it through. So I selected the movie and clicked purchase.
Twenty minutes later my wife came downstairs and asked what I was watching. Uh oh. “The Dark Knight” I replied. Shock, dismay, despair. How could I have done such a thing? How could I break my promise? Weeping. Gnashing of teeth.
“I broke no promise. That promise was clearly limited to a theater engagement. This is on TV. It is a completely different thing. In no way could that very narrow promise be applied to general viewing in other mediums. Would that promise apply to TNT movie of the week next year. Clearly not!” My logic was flawless. She did not agree.
Over the next few days I was bombarded with disappointed sighs and hurt questions, “Why? Patrick, why!?” Even though I had passed the test when the movie was in theaters and no court of law in this land would ever interpret my promise to apply beyond its original cinematic release, I was labeled a heel. A cad. A bad husband.
Is there a point to all this? Not really. But this is all a long way of reminding myself of why my marriage is the most wonderful blessing a good God could have ever bestowed on me. To prepare me to inherit the kingdom. Like life itself, you must always be prepared to meet your judge and you never know when the test is coming. You must always keep your promises and remember when it is garbage night. Or else.