I knew he would do that.
I just about derailed a nice evening with my hubby last night and had to apologize this morning.
I should have apologized last night, and didn’t, because I felt righteous and justified.
Sometimes, I wish I could go back and kick my yesterday-self.
First, let me say that Martin is very generous. He has challenged me in this for the length of our marriage. My tendency is to say, “What do we need to do? What is our obligation?” His tendency is to say, “What can we do? Who needs the help we can give?” He has always been very generous and frequently gives our money away. Always to people we know and love, often anonymously, never to random ministries or charities or people, so don’t get any ideas! Unless you know us. 😉
So, last night, I got a phone call from someone in my family, asking for a small amount of cash for another family member for Christmas. I held the phone against my leg to mute it and asked my husband.
He was not pleased.
You’d think after 17 years, I would know my husband.
I do know my husband, and I am well-acquainted with him abhorring being put on the spot. For anything. Even for small, no-brainer kind of things. However, I felt completely justified, thinking:
- I know he’ll say yes.
- It’s just $20.
- It’s for someone he loves.
Afterward, when he was scowling at me, and I had to gracelessly excuse myself from the phone conversation, and he was telling me — for way too long — that he really, really, really hates being put in a situation where I’m requiring him to make a decision NOW, instead of feeling badly, I was thinking, “I knew he would freak out about this. How unreasonable. He should have just said yes. It’s not that hard.”
But, he needs time and space to think about stuff. He just does. That’s the way he has been for 17+ years. Often, he needs more time and more space than I think is reasonable. But, I know that about him, too.
He called me this morning from work and said that we could contribute $40, and happily.
And, really, I knew that about him, as well. I knew he would do that. I knew he would think about it, and come back with a suggestion that we give more than I had asked for, even if I was a jerk.
When I was a brand-new mother, I used to go to a ladies’ Bible study which concentrated on being a Godly wife. The lady who led it said a number of things in my two-ish years of attendance that have remained with me, 10+ years down the road. One was: “Saying ‘I knew he would…’ is never a valid excuse for your wrong response to your husband. If you knew he was going to do it, you could have prepared in advance to respond better.”
To be clear, she was never saying that if a husband reacts irrationally or violently that it is the wife’s fault. But, another thing she used to say is, “What’s your 2%?” In other words, in just about every negative situation, even when you honestly think your husband is in the wrong, is there a sliver of culpability you need to own? Is there at least a small thing for which you can take responsibility and do differently to diffuse the situation, or so that it doesn’t even burst into flame in the first place??
I think about that a lot.
I didn’t think about it enough last night, though.
My natural tendency is NOT to own up to my faults, flaws, errors, mistakes, et al. My natural tendency is to find fault with my husband and grump about in my heart, “Why’s he being such a Grinch? It’s TWENTY DOLLARS! We can afford $20.”
However, that still small voice in my heart reminded me that I do bear responsibility for my actions, and if I knew my husband wouldn’t respond well to me saying, “May I have a decision RIGHT NOW?” that I shouldn’t have put him in that predicament. Even if I don’t think it should be a predicament.
Does that make sense?
I need to honor him, and I need to have the care for him to say into the phone, “Twenty bucks. I bet we could do that, but can I call you back about it tomorrow?”
And I didn’t.
The fact that he called this morning and doubled my offer reminded me how much I love him, and caused me to recommit, in my heart, to be tender to his “unreasonable” nature.