This year the Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly celebrate 35 years of marital bliss. During more than three decades of matrimonial ecstasy, I have learned many things.
For example, I never knew how many mistakes I made until I got married. My dearly beloved has been most generous, almost to a fault, in this area of our relationship. Through the years, she has faithfully (and I may even say religiously) pointed out my mistakes.
Boy, did I make mistakes. It has taken her 35 years, come this August, to straighten out the likes of me, and the job is not quite finished. She may need another 35 years.
During these 35 years, I have discovered the secret of marital bliss. When my wife and I got married, we were determined to make it work. I must confess, when I put my mind to something, I can never find it again.
What is the secret of my martial bliss, you may ask? And a good question it is. If I can pass along any wisdom I have gained over the years to any male components of marriage, I’ll be surprised.
What I have learned, however, is this; whenever I come home and see the pretty mistress of the manse with one of those looks (and every husband knows exactly what I’m referring to) I know precisely what to say.
‘‘Honey, it’s all my fault and I’m sorry.’’
Confession is good for the soul — especially if that soul is married.
I have found it almost useless to try to reason with my wife. She usually maintains the upper hand and logic seems to get in the way of complete understanding of any situation involving me.
Let me make this perfectly clear: All of my mistakes carry a completely logical explanation. This is the difference between my good wife and me. I can logically explain every goof-up I’m involved in at the time. However, trying to explain this to my wife not only gets nowhere, but also gets me deeper in trouble.
Take last week, for example. I came home from the office whistling merrily all the way. There is nothing quite as happy and carefree as a husband who does not know he’s in trouble. The bliss of ignorance is beyond description.
The minute I got in the door I could tell something was wrong. More correctly, I could tell someone was in trouble. That someone actually stares back at me each morning while I shave.
It’s amazing how I have a sixth (or is it a seventh) sense about things like this. The only problem is, this sense does not kick in soon enough to please me or keep me out of trouble with the missus.
Why doesn’t this sense tell me I’m in trouble before I actually get in trouble? I would be satisfied if it would just let me know this information before my wife knows it. Think of the trouble, not to mention the embarrassment, it could save me.
This particular afternoon I walked into my house and cheerily tossed to my wife, ‘‘Honey, I’m home.’’
Normally she reciprocates my greeting. This time was not normal. Without looking up from the dishes she was washing at the sink, she said, ‘‘Did you forget something today?’’
Those words will freeze the blood of any husband. My blood chilled completely.
I understood from the start (I’m a quick study) that this was a rhetorical question and not a solicitation for information. It was obvious to me I had, indeed, forgotten something. But what?
It wasn’t her birthday.
I quickly pulled off my wedding ring to check the date. It wasn’t our anniversary.
Why is it that when your wife gives you the third-degree for the 27th time she never tips her hand? When it comes to math, wives just don’t add up.
Telling when I am in trouble is easy, but in trouble for what is the real problem. I suppose my wife believes if I am smart enough to get into trouble I should be smart enough to figure out why I am in trouble — this time.
I confess my complete lack of finesse in this regard.
Her question haunted me and I knew I better come up with not only ‘‘an’’ answer but the ‘‘right’’ answer. From her demeanor I knew I had come to ‘‘is that your final answer’’ part and I had no help lines left.
After some uncharacteristic quick thinking on my part, I soberly replied, ‘‘Honey, I’m sorry. It’s my fault.’’
‘‘I should say it’s your fault,’’ she quietly responded. ‘‘The telephone’s been turned off, and you told me you paid it.’’
Of course, I remembered writing the check for the phone bill along with the electric bill and the utility bill. That was three, maybe four weeks ago — or was it six? Then a terrible thought gripped my heart. With a quick search of my inside jacket pocket I retrieved several unmailed envelopes, those bills. Just then, the electric went off.
For some, an apology may not go far enough, or it may come too late. However, it is never out of order.
The Bible clearly states, ‘‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’’ (1 John 1:9 KJV.)
Confession always leads to forgiveness and forgiveness is the stuff that makes great marriages.