Friday, February 03, 2012

Roses an’ Chocs, Leaky Faucets an’ Dirty Socks -- Black

Roses, chocolates, cupid cards and romantic candlelight dinners
... Aahh, a woman’s dream; something every woman wants, right? No, not really.

Chocolates? If none come my wife’s way at Christmas, we’ll buy some in the post-season sales, and she’ll be happy for the bargain.

A nice, but not too fancy restaurant or expensive dinner? That’s OK too, but it doesn’t have to be on Valentine's Day.

Roses? Well, they wilt so quick that she’d rather I didn’t spend money on them. We usually shop together and pick up some annuals or perennials at the garden centre in the spring, for a fraction of the cost.

My Beloved—ever pragmatic—welcomes a little touch of romance, but slavish extravagance, she doesn't. I’m grateful for my “low-maintenance” girl! However, I don’t get off the hook, altogether; she does have expectations!

Have you ever heard or expressed something like the following (it reflects the sort of things that matter to my spouse)?:

"There's so much happening all at once ... I'm completely overloaded with so much to do that I hardly know where to begin!" The statement may be intoned with frustration or a sigh. (One learns to tell the difference.)

Shortly before my retirement, my wife, looking weary and sounding peeved, took a deep breath and said, "Look, we've only got a few weeks left before we move, and we've got so much to do between now and then. Peter, you just have to take the time to help me get it done!"

Her frustration over my slowness to reduce the size of my library and an abundance of tools before our move into a downsized home, showed. But even her frustration was overridden by a momentary sense of helplessness—a sinking feeling of being overwhelmed and falling behind, expressed in a sigh. Ah yes, a woman’s voice, along with her actions, can tell us men so much about what matters to her.

Wise are the husbands and fathers who learn to hear and heed the voices of the womenfolk in their lives. The female voice can convey more than words alone; its intonation can reveal the feelings of the heart.

I still have to work at honouring my Beloved through applying thoughtful sensitivity; that means much more to her than sentimentality. After 45 years of marriage, I’m still not there. My capacity for active listening has improved in some respects, but is developing way too slow!

Truth is, my brain-box behaves like a bird hopping around on a hot tin roof, these days, and I have to try harder than ever to focus on what my Beloved (or anyone) is telling me. I really do need to pick up on the voiced request or mild sigh—long before the emotional dynamic leads to extreme frustration.

My wife doesn’t ask for much, but she does want me to listen attentively—to hear her heart and be aware of how she feels about what she says and requests, and to act accordingly. This is expected of men who follow Christ (1 Peter 3:7 abbrev.): "Husbands ... be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect ... so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

Fellas, just think: Some of our significant other’s requests may seem ever so insignificant to a man, but may mean a great deal to her. What do expensive dark chocolates, crimson roses, cards and candlelight dinners mean to the woman whose guy won’t pick up his dirty socks, or fix the leaky faucet (or sort out those boxes of books and tools!), eh?


This piece is an adaptation and expansion of my guest post to the blog, “A Woman’s Voice,” under a series “A Man’s Voice,” June 20, 2010.

Peter A. Black writes a weekly inspirational column for the Southwestern Ontario newspaper, The Watford Guide-Advocate, and is the author of "Parables from the Pond" (a Word Alive Press finalist, 2007)-- a book finding a readership from school children to senior citizens.


Marian said...

Your wife is blessed.

Peter Black said...

Wow, thanks!That's a very gracious comment. (BTW, I'm very blessed, too.)
I kind'uv half expected someone to say that I sound like a cheapskate jerk! ;) Truth is, after all those years together we still experience the jostle of individual preferences, but solid values and love guide our relationship.

violet said...

Peter, as I was reading your post, I couldn't help thinking of Gary Chapman's theory of love languages. I think it's more important that we understand what communicates love to our mates than that we fulfill society's expectations. I think you've done that with your lovely wife.

Peter Black said...

Thank you for your gracious words, Violet.
I smile ... After setting up the post, I knew I was conscience bound to apply some fresh action to my words; and so I worked at several household tasks.
I do salute you and all ladies who so freely give of their caring and skill to their spouses and families, even as my wife does.

Glynis said...

Peter, are a man with a special sensitivity. Understanding and interpreting a woman is a specialized task for many men. You, as usual, have taken the lead and spoken wise, kind words. Your wife is blessed. And it sure sounds like you are, too!

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