- A Reader's Digest Magazine
- Six Pink Roses
- A Tomato Plant
But when you've studied a woman for many years the way my husband has studied me, these things have a LOT in common.
In fact, just last week I said to the good man, "Honey, bring home a surprise for me, will you?" (Hey, I said he's good. Not perfect. Sometimes they need a little prompt.)
It was supposed to be our day away from the office but hadn't really worked out that way. So when he got home, he had a lovely bunch of roses and a Reader's Digest magazine for me. Truly great gifts!
Of course, I immediately responded with a little squeal and a big hug for him. (Appreciation is important in every relationship.)
He then announced to Gracie and me, that my final surprise was hidden and I would have to find it. The search began but also ended quickly when he went to stand by the front door. (Not so good with surprises either.)
I opened the door and discovered a tall, healthy tomato plant proudly sitting beside my geraniums. A careful inspection revealed that the plant is loaded with tiny tomatoes already forming.
Well, you know this gleaned another hug for the preacher from his pseudo country girl. Can't help it, I love tomatoes and watching things grow!
For some reason, it seemed important to tell this short story today. But to also bring balance to any inaccurate picture of an always peaceful, present producing, hug providing couple.
Frank and I are totally normal people, I assure you. We disagree. And sometimes our disagreements turn in to full blown arguments. We prefer to say that we have "volume discussions!"
When our marriage was in its younger years, I often looked at other couples and surmised that they probably never had a cross word. If they disagreed at all, surely they quickly kissed and made up before anyone could get their feelings hurt.
That wrong image of perfection often caused me to feel discouraged about our own relationship. We were both firstborns. Headstrong. Visionary. And seldom ever wrong. (Or so we thought!)
I would often sit in church rehearsing the argument we'd had in the car on the way in to the parking lot. Certain in my heart that no other couple (young or old) struggled like us.
But there's a reason trash cans sitting by the curb each week are opaque. No one wants their trash seen by other people. It's sufficient just to know that we all produce it. And we're thankful that there's an easy way to clear it out of our homes.
That's what I think I'm supposed to share with some precious heart out there who mistakenly believes no other marriage has to deal with "trash" times the way they do.
Trust me, dear one, there are no perfect marriages! Every honest relationship has moments, disagreements, hurts. And we're all thankful other people don't have to see those times.
So take heart!
And I'll even tell you the easiest way for clearing the trash times out of relationships. Let me share a quote with you from Ruth Bell Graham. "A Happy Marriage is the union of two good FORGIVERS."
Yep, it's the easiest way to have a healthy relationship with anyone. Especially with your spouse! Choose to forgive - quickly; frequently. Kick those trash moments to the curb and don't allow them to sit around stinking up the place.
Forgiveness really is a great gift we give ourselves!