Tonight at Michael's, the clerk good-naturedly teased my husband while ringing up our purchases. She laughed and jested, carrying on in a loud, overly-friendly way.
Our interaction ended with her wagging her long, slightly wrinkled index finger at me and saying in a voice grated with cigarettes, "And YOU, YOU have more work to do on HIM! He isn't trained yet!"
We laughed as we walked out, but I was thinkin' her comment kinda' came out of nowhere. My hubby had actually been very well-behaved in the store. If there had been candy bars on the counter, I might even have bought one and let him have a bite. He didn't even fuss when the clerk was ringing up all those extra things I threw in the cart - things we didn't plan to buy. I thought he was very well-behaved, for a husband, anyway.
As we tried to fit a silk tree in a small Jeep, we wondered aloud why nobody jokes about a wife being trained? How come nobody DARES approach my husband after observing my public behavior and say, "Well, she sure isn't trained yet, is she?" Did they joke this way years ago and now the winds of discrimination are blowing in the other direction? Or, is it assumed that women are naturally better wives then men are husbands?
I just can't imagine men seeking advice from each other. "So, how did YOU get your wife to stop buying so many pairs of shoes?"
Can you see them confiding in an intimate conversation during half-time, "I couldn’t train my wife to stop spending money, so I had to ground her from the credit card and take away her favorite purse."
Do you think they ever complain to each other at Starbucks over skinny lattes? "I just don't know what to do. My wife doesn't have dinner ready every night when I come home from work? I mean, I come home after workin' all day, I'm starvin', she's been home all day and didn't bother to make dinner? What do you think I should do?"
For 23 years and 8 months of marriage I've joked about training my husband, but I'm really kinda' confused about what a well-trained husband should do. Fetch my slippers? Bring in stray lambs? Carry little barrels of whiskey to perishing people? Walk by my heel?
Is there a manual I missed on training a husband? Shouldn't that have been required reading during pre-marriage counseling? I know for sure that whining, pouting and nagging won't work in changing a husband's behavior, and I am pretty sure shock-collars and cattle-prods are illegal. What is the consensus on Expected Husband Behavior? Is there a list I missed? Was I supposed to make my own?
As I seriously consider what started to be a joking matter, I'm actually relieved the matter isn't in my hands alone. My husband willingly listens to a Voice other than mine. That Voice has a list that is shorter and a standard that is higher; He commands husbands to have sacrificial love.
Ephesians 5:25 says "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it."
Isn't that all a wife really wants her husband to be "trained" to do? Just love her?
I can joke about my husband and his light failings, but I can't complain, because he truly loves me.
I need to let the Lord do the husband-training, He doesn't whine, pout or nag.
Besides, I need to go buy a new pair of shoes.