What you may think isn’t important may just be the one thing that your wife needs from you. Here is a personal story that I hope helps some guy realize he’s missing something, change his actions and perhaps save his marriage.
The things you own end up owning you. It’s not just a great line from Fight Club. I’ve always cared a lot about having nice things. Nice cars. Nice clothes. A nice house. Not that these things are inherently bad things but they are just things. I cared so much about keeping them nice that sometimes I put them in front of people in my life. In hind sight, it contributed to the demise of my marriage.
The House. We built a brand new house in the burbs. Great looking. Big. Shiny and new. A pristine thing. Way bigger than we needed at the time. It had this really cool great room with like 30 foot ceilings in the entryway, where I put some really cool leather and wood Bernhardt furniture. I was about 4 years into my marriage to my high school sweetheart and things were pretty perfect. Just the way I liked them.
The Crosses. My wife had been collecting crosses for a bit – old ones, new ones, ugly ones and very, very few cool ones. I can’t remember exactly but I think there were 25 crosses of varying sizes and shapes. Then she drops it on me; she wants to put them front and center in the great room. She didn’t make a big deal about it, she just asked for me to put them up. I avoided it. I really didn’t want them there, it would totally mess up the room. I suggested another room. We must have had this same conversation 4 or 5 times, and then we stopped talking about it. Score. I win.
The Divorce. Fast forward several months later, we were in the throws of our divorce and I was fighting to save it in any way possible. She had moved into an apartment not far from our great big (now empty) house. I asked her to dinner in hopes to throw a hail mary and spark something that just may save it, although it was really to discuss dividing things up. I even convinced her to let me pick her up like a date.
The Two by Four to the Face. When I arrived to pick her up at the apartment, my heart was pounding as I knocked on the door. When she opened it, I noticed there wasn’t much furniture or anything in the entire place… except EVERY ONE of those CROSSES had been hung on the wall. They were everywhere. Then it hit me, I had totally missed it. She wasn’t upset that I didn’t hang the crosses, it was far deeper than that. I hadn’t paid attention to her desires. I missed understanding and paying attention to what was important to her. I wondered how many “crosses” I missed in our marriage? And at that moment I knew my hail mary attempt wasn’t going to cut it. I should have been paying attention before that moment.
The Lesson. Find out what your wife’s “crosses” are. It’s also a continual process – not just one day. She changes just like you do, as do her dreams. Find out the little things and the huge dreams she has for you, for her, for your family. Find out the things you may be glossing over because you are letting something (your house, your car, your job, your friends, your agenda) get in the way of really hearing. I can promise you it’s worth it.
My Redemption Story. God has rebuilt this broken life and in a big way. It started with being open to His plan for me instead of my own. When I say rebuilt, it’s no lie. I left my comfy corporate job several years ago, traveled to Haiti, started a business, and then life really took a turn for the stellar. I met my wife on my 5th trip to Haiti – we are so uniquely fitted for each other it’s crazy. She’s incredible and He renews our hearts if we will just allow Him. I have learned a lot and am still learning how to do marriage better each day I take a breath.
There’s no super secret sauce here, the truth is Jesus renews. How or if we let that happen is our choice.