by Debora M. Coty
Marriage should be honored by all. Hebrews 13:4 NIV
I truly love my man, Chuck. I do. But even after 40 years of marriage, his thinking still befuddles me.
One day he came in from doing yard work, filthy from head to toe, and proudly announced that he’d fixed the sprinkler problem in the back flowerbed.
Now you first have to understand that although the lawn is his job, the flowerbeds are my domain. I plan, plant, and carefully nurture each and every shrub. I often talk to them and sometimes even sing to them. Don’t laugh. They’re my little green babies.
So imagine my absolute horror when I found my gorgeous six-foot philodendron stretched out like a dead body beside the garbage can. It had been hacked off at the base.
I was so devastated I could barely breathe as I stared at the gaping hole in the hedge of wondrously healthy philodendrons I had planted and lovingly coaxed to adulthood. Chuck, with his logical see-a-problem-so-fix-it brain, had decided that the plant had grown so big, it was blocking the sprinkler. What he failed to consider was that the whole point of the sprinkler was to grow the plant big.
The rage fuse lit in my innards and erupted into an inferno. I was ready to storm inside and scorch the remaining hairs off Chuck’s head. But something stopped me. It was the verse I’d read that morning: “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2 NIV).
Honestly, I was so livid at that moment, I didn’t care whether I was a fool or not. But I knew Papa God did. So I just stood there, praying for a new “herspective” (my term for a woman’s point of view), sobbing quietly over my murdered plant-baby.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Chuck watching me from the porch.
My mind flew to the funeral I’d recently attended of a woman I’d known since childhood. During the heart-melting eulogy, her husband of 58 years praised the way she’d held their marriage together through difficult times. He said in a grief-choked voice, “She never looked down on me in all those years – she always looked up at me in respect …even when I didn’t deserve it.”
Those words hit me hard. I was so convicted about criticizing my husband that I vowed to show him more respect. Even when it seemed undeserved.
So standing there in my backyard, I prayed. “Lord, help me understand Chuck, not criticize him. I know he meant well. Glue my mouth shut; enable me to forgive him and appreciate all he does for me.”
Later, I returned to the flowerbed for damage control. There in the hedge gap stood my listing, drooping philodendron. Chuck had tried to replant the poor rootless thing. He’d even watered it.
I burst into tears again, but this time they were warm tears of gratitude. Oh, I knew there was no hope for the philodendron, but by me choosing to not blow up and criticize my husband, what could have been a marital Hiroshima … wasn’t.
According to Dr. Gary Campbell, “Love is a choice you make every day. And in choosing love, you’re following Christ’s example. Nothing is more Christlike than loving your spouse.”
So girlfriend, the next time you find your Godiva stash missing, because your guy is helping you stick to your diet, choose love. And remember the verse I just might have tattooed across my forehead, “Keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23 NLT).
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Debora M Coty is an AWSA Certified Writing Coach, speaker, and award-winning author of over 40 books including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series with nearly 2 million books sold in multiple languages worldwide. Deb lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her horticulturally-challenged husband Chuck and five precocious grandpals nearby. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com.
Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms, addresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.
Join the conversation: How have you shown love by keeping quiet recently?