If a Man is in The Woods

Originally Blogged September 26, 2014, this may be my favorite post ever.  Since then I have many new readers, and unless you have taken the time to comb through past offerings, (for which you’d have my very humble thanks) you have missed this.  

If I was writing this today, I can’t think of anything I might add.  Life has been stressful lately, and I offer this to remind us all, that although miss-steps may happen, the dance goes on.  A little humor can  help us get back on track.  

Enjoy. 

If a man is in the wood, and he talks, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?

I think I made this up, but I really couldn’t swear to it. I am sure I am not the first woman to think such a thing. Hubby and I were fighting in the car and he was complaining that he is always wrong, so I made this little sarcastic comment. He laughed and the argument was forgotten. He has now repeated my bit of sarcasm to everyone at every opportunity. It is funny, and always gets a laugh, and neither of us can even remember what the original argument was about.

It is the kind of thing I’ve heard my whole life while in the kitchen with the women on the holidays. “My husband is head of the house. I always let him think so.” “Boys will be boys,” we say about our men engaged in the annual Turkey Mud Bowl. The men will laugh at these also. Men go along with the joke, giving their “little woman” a pat on the behind to send them off shopping. Okay, maybe it is only grocery shopping, but hey, its part of the game, or maybe better described as a dance.

Even if you don’t dance you know that the man is the lead, the one who directs the dance. You would only be partially correct. If the man tried to lead exclusively, there would be a lot of bumping into people on a crowded dance floor. Dancing is a cooperation. When the man is moving backwards he relies upon his partner, since he does not have eyes in the back of his head. Likewise, relationships should be cooperative.

In a relationship, one or the other may take the lead depending upon knowledge, skills, and talents each possesses. With discussion, sharing, and mutual consideration each person will have the insight to see who should lead. Two people working together can accomplish much more working cooperatively, than one person trying to do everything.

By working together, hubby and I raised children while putting ourselves through school. The two of us built garages and porches and gardens. Oh my! We have built an entire life. As long as we are working together, we can do anything.

So, if you see my hubby in the woods, tell him I’m waiting for him.

Solid

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“What’s the word of the day,”  Hubby asked.

I told him, “Base.”

“You are my base, my foundation, my rock,”  my husband dramatically exclaimed.

“Whoa!  I’m not God.  I’m only a woman,” I said.

With obvious relish Hubby said,  “Yes you are!”

The real base of marriage is commitment.  But wait, what about love?  Love may lead you to make the commitment.  Once the commitment is made, love will be tested.  Ideas come into conflict.  Differences reveal themselves.  Life presents one challenge after another: money problems, sickness, demands on our time and attention.

Even our greatest blessings come with challenges.

Family is a blessing and marriage combines the influence of two separate families. Families with different ways of doing things.  Families with different methods of dealing, or not, with conflict, money, and time.  Families come with baggage that a couple must learn to deal with.

Our children come with worries, and are a source of conflict in a marriage.  There is no manual included with children, except our experience with the family of our birth, which can be very different for each person.   Our child raising ideas change with things we learn as we go along.  In the end, children go out on their own, and if you are lucky, you are left with your spouse.

Careers can be a great source of income, self-worth, and stress for yourself and your marriage.  Careers require education, long hours, maybe travel, separation for lengths of time (short and long), and often relocation.  Just when things are going well, you have worked out the difficulties, and you are at the top, it all ends.  You are retired.

Retirement is a blessing that requires the couple to readjust.  Now that we have all this time together how do we fit together?  Unending leisure loses its attraction.  It is easy to get on each other’s nerves.

Life is full of chaos.  Life is one big jumble of good, bad, and unpredictable.  Making the commitment to marriage makes love endure.

Feast

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After a lifetime of love. My parents.

I pull your love around me, quiet safety,

Making a feast of beauty for you, my self.

Pulling humor about me, armor of wit,

Loving you always.

 

Safety a shell, a cocoon, to grow within.

Wrapping around protection from a dark world,

Myself youthful sacrificed to our children,

Watching love mature.

 

A plan, a deal unwitting to wait and grow,

Until the day, no longer waiting, I fly.

With thanks and love fufillment flows forth, thankful

It is over, the wait.

Possessive? Protective!

I have a well-earned reputation for being a possessive woman, although I would call it protective, and over the past 43 years of marriage this side of my personality has shown itself more than once.

Early in my marriage there was a woman who I thought was my best friend.  We sat next to each other in church choir, we both crocheted, and our little kids would play together, and our families socialized most weekends.  She and my husband were sing duets together in church.  Her interest in my husband was a little to touchy for me.  She would sit next to my husband in Sunday School and I was too timid to ask her to move.    When I talked to Hubby about all this touch, and my dislike of her coming between us, he didn’t understand my concern and became defensive.

The day came when I talked to her about her attention to my husband.  She told me I did not deserve my husband, because instead of staying home and seeing to his needs, I was working, and involved in other things.  I never left him alone when he just wanted to have a few drinks, and I am judgmental and old-fashioned.

Just like Marissa Bergen’s poem The Joke Is On Me I wanted Karma to dish out a heaping portions of bad things to befall her.  She didn’t lose her beautiful voice, but became a very skilled nurse after her divorce,  and seemed to have the respect of those who know her.

But if you look a little harder, I am the one married for 43 years and already planning our 50th Wedding Anniversary.  I am the one who has had the freedom to use my time in a manner of my choice, whether to work for charity, or spend my days writing or sewing things for my grandchildren.  My children are all doing well in their marriages and their chosen fields, and have wonderful families.  Plus I am the one who is told by my husband that even the worst day with me, is better than any day without me.

I have learned to leave timidity behind, and if you sit by my husband, I will ask you to move.  I will call you on your inappropriate touching, and Hubby has learned to respect my judgement, so just give it up, because you cannot come between us.  Even though my voice isn’t strong enough to do a duet together, we are a duet that plans on continuing for many year to come.

Broken Promises

While looking for something else I ran across some old wedding pictures from a failed marriage.  Surprised any of these pictures were still around, I pulled them from the album.  The family dressed in wedding finery stand with the couple, smiling generously.

Family at the couple’s sides as they repeated their promises, were ready to give the couple all the love and support they could.  Now it is hard to look at those pictures. The bride is dutifully smiling, the same in every picture.  The groom looks genuinely happy. Friends and family are surrounding them both, in the traditional wedding photographs recording the event.

Not all was as it appeared in pictures.  Fresh grief over the death of her mother stole any joy the bride could truly feel.  Days of fluctuating back and forth between going through with the commitment of marriage and calling it off, gave way under the continued growth of  the couples first child.  Perhaps things could have turned out differently, if the bride’s mother had lived to share in the wedding and the birth of their first child.

As things were, the promises of marriage quickly dissolved, and the marriage became one of obligation to the child brought into the world.  As the grandmother to this child, I had hoped that obligation could be enough.  The lack of mutual respect I saw, eventually eroded the marriage to the point of dissolution of the marriage, but not before another child was born in hope and promise.

I was both heartsick and happy when the bride made the choice to separate and divorce.  I have seen my grandchildren longing for whichever parent is absent.  Usually the parents work together for the good of their children, but I have seen the children used as pawns occasionally.

Our relationship with our grandchildren’s mother has deteriorated beyond any civility, which makes things difficult.  Sometimes grandparents are a bridge in these situations, but not in this one.  Fortunately our relationship with our son remains strong.

I won’t go so far as to say a marriage built upon obligation can’t work, but without mutual respect the marriage will fail.  Living without love is very difficult, and I would never wish for my child to live without love.

I am happy to say our son is now married to a wonderful girl, in a marriage full of love and hope for the future, that they will build together.

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