You would think being a husband as long as I have been I would have learned the fine art of negotiating with my wife. And trust me, it is an artistic creation.
When I got married, somebody told me that marriage was a 50-50 proposition, which being the naïve young man that I was, believed it entirely.
The problem I have discovered is that 50 from a man’s point of view may not necessarily be 50 from a woman’s point of view. If I knew then what I know now, I would have asked that person to define what they meant by 50.
Through the years, I discovered that at times it is a 25-75 split. Other times it is a 0-100. Nobody can be 100% right all the time unless of course they are married to a husband.
When men get together, they talk about sports, hunting, cars and so forth.
When women get together, they talk about how to deal with their husbands.
I know it does not sound fair, but then it is our fault as men for not getting our act together.
Although, I must admit that at this point in my life I do not have any regrets. The only thing that I have trouble with is the word “tomorrow.”
I am not quite sure what that word means from my wife’s perspective. From my perspective, the word “tomorrow” is just a way of putting something off and possibly not even doing it.
I never really thought anything of it until recently. To me the word “tomorrow” was just a casual word I used to postpone things. It was not until last week that it really came to the forefront.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage asked me to do something for her. I was really busy at the time, I’m not sure what I was busy doing, but I was not paying too much attention. I smiled at her and said, “Okay.” Then, I went back to doing whatever I was doing.
The next day she approached me and said, “Did you do what I asked you to do yesterday?”
I really was not quite up to date on what she asked me to do yesterday, but I said, “No, but I’ll do it tomorrow.” To be fair, I actually forgot about it. I did not mean to forget about it, but it does not change the fact that I forgot about it.
The next day she queried me rather sternly, “Did you do what I asked you to do the other day?”
At this point I was marinating in that husband fog that seems to plague every husband and so I said, “No, but I’ll do it first thing tomorrow for sure.”
If I thought that was the end of the conversation, I was thinking in vain.
“Today,” she said as sternly as I have ever heard her speak, “is the tomorrow you promise to do it.”
Now I am swimming in that husband fog. How in the world can today be tomorrow? At this point, I did not know if she was confused or if I was confused. To keep things safe, I will admit to being the one confused.
“Yesterday,” she began explaining, “you said that tomorrow you would do the task I asked you to do. Well,” she continued, “this is that tomorrow!”
For the life of me, I could not understand why today was actually tomorrow. Then she said something along the line that tomorrow would actually be today. What I want to know is, is today tomorrow or is tomorrow today?
By this time I was so confused I had forgotten what she had asked me to do. My dilemma was, do I confess to her I had forgotten and ask her to remind me what she wanted me to do? Or, should I promise to do it tomorrow?
As you can imagine, the latter was completely off the table. I had to humble myself and ask her most sorrowfully, “I’m sorry, what did you ask me to do?”
With both hands on her hips, she stared at me and said, “That’s exactly what I thought. You weren’t listening to me the first time, were you?”
Getting back to that 50-50 split; it is now 0-100 split. I am at the 0 and she is 100% right.
The art of negotiating with your wife begins by humbling yourself and saying that you are wrong. Nobody wants to say that, but that is where everything begins.
I must confess that I do not always hear everything and even what I do hear it does not really register, as it should. I tried to use the old excuse that I am too old and I forget. However, as you might imagine, that really does not work.
After explaining to me what she wanted me to do, I went off to do it. While I was on my way to accomplish that which I had put off till tomorrow a verse seemed to reverberate in my mind.
It was the apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians where he said, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
If I am going to think something through carefully I need to hear what is being said, especially who is saying it. I hope I learned my lesson that today is the tomorrow I kicked down the road yesterday.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.