One thing I have learned throughout my life is sometimes speaking your mind only gets a piece of somebody else’s mind – and not the good piece.
The old saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’m surprised the old dog doesn’t know the old tricks. What good is a new trick if you have not really mastered and learned from the old tricks?
My experience in this area stood me in good stead for many years. An incident happened recently bringing to light how valuable this “old trick” really is. I may not be good in the new tricks, but I think I have mastered a few of the old tricks.
I really do not know when this incident started, but somewhere along the line I said something resembling a guttural “uh huh,” and forgot about it. What you say in these odd moments may determine your quality of life for many years to come. This points out the difference between husbands and wives.
The only way a husband can remember what he had for lunch is to look at his shirt. A wife’s memory, on the other hand, is so keen she can remember things that never happened.
In the midst of a mild domestic discussion, any wife worth her salt can bring her husband to his knees by simply stating, “But, Honey, you promised me.”
At that point, no husband has the equipment to counter that argument. He may well have promised, but there is no way to prove one way or the other.
About a month ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage got it into her mind to remodel the kitchen. During this time, I did a pretty good job of staying out of her way. When the rare opportunity came soliciting my personal advice on a matter associated with this remodeling project, I quickly and enthusiastically supported her decisions.
The man who carefully measures his words will add happy years to his life. I sure don’t know how long I’m going to live, but I want that time to be happy.
Following the kitchen remodeling my wife proceeded to remodel her bathroom. At this point I should have had some suspicions, but I didn’t. As a husband, I am not equipped with a “suspicion detector.” Experience should have taught me that if one project is done successfully it only inspires another project.
When a wife gets it in her mind to remodel part of the house that thought gets stuck and there is no stopping her. After each remodeling project is completed, my wife always asks my opinion of the job she has just done.
I have learned that if I do not want to do the job myself, I enthusiastically praise the job my wife has done. Any critique that leads toward the negative has a reciprocal effect.
Of course, there is a thing as too much enthusiasm, and I found that to be so in this recent remodeling frenzy at our house. I must admit I did detect a certain busyness around the house, but I have learned it is better not to inquire.
Then I come home from the office one day. Not that it is unusual for me to come home, but this time when I came home, I was greeted at the door by my wife, with a smile that indicated to me that either something was wrong or I was in trouble.
“I have something I want to show you,” she giggled as she took my arm and led me back through the hallway. “I’ve been working on this all day and I’m anxious to show you what I did.”
She then proceeded to escort me to one of the most sacred areas of our blessed domicile. My bathroom. Nothing is more personal and sacred as a man’s bathroom.
I have few requirements of that room. The water must run and the hot water must be hot. The toilet must flush and the shower must work. Outside of that, nothing else really matters.
The fact that the wallpaper is peeling is inconsequential. The fact that the floor is cracked doesn’t really matter. The fact that the shower curtain is old and tattered just makes it more homey for me. I like my bathroom.
Just as she was about to open the door a horrendous thought exploded in my cranium. She has remodeled my bathroom. This comes as close to crossing the line as anything done inside the house. A sense of panic paraded around my heart.
Opening the door, she said those words that will frighten any man in his right mind. “What do you think of your new bathroom?”
Through the years, I have discovered many questions a husband should never answer.
“Does this dress make me look fat?”
“How do you like the meatloaf? It’s a new recipe.”
No matter how long it takes you to chew that meatloaf, always do it with a smile and never, never compare it with your mother’s.
I can either express what’s on my mind, or, live happily ever after. I just can’t do both.
A verse from the Bible brought a sense of comfort to my heart. “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence” (Proverbs 13: 2).
I’m on a fruit diet.
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.