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JEWELS (V)

In fact, many may not even be true, and are just the creative outpourings of creatively-fertile minds, but they may end up striking a chord somewhere: reinforcing a feeling, confirming a fear, actually inspire, or even make one shed a tear. This week, your columnist rummaged and found some really thought-provoking, interesting and inspirational gems about the travails marriage. The first, titled “I’ll Never Understand My Wife”, was written by a Steven James in A Second Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul, while the second, titled “The Gift of the Magic”, was written by a certain O. Henry in More Sower’s Seeds. These two would then lead to Bossed Around By Wife? of no known source, and finally a piece of advice. Enjoy.

“I’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND MY WIFE”: The day she moved in, she started opening and closing the kitchen cabinets, gasping, “You don’t have any shelf paper! We’re going to have to get some shelf paper in here before I move my dishes in.” “But why?” I asked innocently. “To keep the dishes clean,” she answered matter-of-factly. I didn’t understand how the dust would magically migrate off the dishes if they had sticky blue paper under them, but I knew when to be quiet.

 Then came the day when I left the toilet seat up. “We never left the toilet seat up in my family,” she scolded. “It’s impolite.” “It wasn’t impolite in my family,” I said sheepishly. “Your family didn’t have cats.”

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In addition to these lessons, I also learned how I was supposed to squeeze the toothpaste tube, which towel to use after a shower and where the spoons are supposed to go when I set the table. I had no idea I was so uneducated. Nope, I’ll never understand my wife.

 She alphabetizes her spices, washes dishes before sending them through the dishwasher, and sorts laundry into different piles before throwing it into the washing machine. Can you imagine? She wears pajamas to bed. I didn’t think anyone in North America still wore pajamas to bed. She has a coat that makes her look like Sherlock Holmes. “I could get you a new coat,” I offered. “No. This one was my grandmother’s,” she said, decisively ending the conversation.

Then, after we had kids, she acted even stranger. Wearing those pajamas all day long, eating breakfast at 1:00pm. She picked up the baby whenever she cried, even though people told her it was healthy to let her wail.  “It’s good for her lungs to cry,” they would say. “It’s better for her heart to smile,” she’d answer.

 One day a friend of mine snickered at the bumper sticker my wife had put on the back of our car: “Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is a Work of Heart.” “My wife must have put that on there,” I said. “My wife works,” he boasted. “So does mine,” I said, smiling.

 Once, I was filling out one of those warranty registration cards and I check “homemaker” for my wife’s occupation. Big mistake. She glanced over it and quickly corrected me. “I am not a homemaker. I am not a housewife. I am a mother.” “But there’s no category for that,” I stammered. “Add one,” she said. I did.

 And then one day, a few years later, she lay in bed smiling when I got up to go to work. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Nothing. Everything is wonderful. I didn’t have to get up at all last night to calm the kids. And they didn’t crawl into bed with us.” “Oh,” I said, still not understanding. “It was the first time I’ve slept through the night in four years.” It was? Four years? That’s a long time. I hadn’t even noticed. Why hadn’t she ever complained? I would have.

 Nope, I’ll never understand my wife. And you know what? Our daughter is acting more and more like her mother every day. If she turns out to be anything like her mom, someday there’s going to be one more lucky guy in this world, thankful for the shelf paper in his cupboard.

 THE GIFT OF THE MAGIC: A story is told about a young married couple whose names are Jim and Della. They are poor but very much in love with each other. As Christmas approaches, Della wonders what to get Jim for Christmas. She would like to give him a watch chain for his gold watch, but she doesn’t have enough money. Then she gets an idea. She has beautiful long hair. So Della decides to cut off her hair and sell it to buy the fancy chain for Jim’s watch.

 On Christmas Eve she returns home, and in her hand is beautiful box containing a gold watch chain which she purchased by selling her hair. Suddenly Della begins to worry. She knows Jim admired her long hair, and she wonders if he will be disappointed that she cut it off and sold it.

Della climbs the final flight of stairs leading to their tiny apartment. She unlocks the door and is surprised to find Jim home and waiting for her. In his hand is a neatly wrapped box containing his gift he purchased for her.

 When Della removes her scarf Jim sees Della’s short hair, and tears well up in his eyes. But she says nothing. He chokes back the tears and gives Della the gift box. When Della opens it, she can’t believe her eyes. There in the box is a set of beautiful silver combs for her long hair. And when Jim opens his gift, he, too, is astonished. There inside the box is a beautiful gold chain for his gold pocket watch.

 Only then does Della realize that Jim pawned his gold watch to buy her the silver hair combs. Each one had sacrificed for the other. Far more beautiful than the gifts, then, is the love they symbolize.

 BOSSED AROUND BY WIFE?: I was tired of being bossed around by my wife; so I went to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said I needed to build my self-esteem, and so he gave me a book on assertiveness, which I read on the way home. I finished the book by the time I reached my house. I stormed into the house and walked up to my wife. Pointing a finger in her face, I said, “From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law! I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I’m finished eating my meal, I expect a sumptuous dessert afterwards. Then, after dinner, you’re going to draw me my bath so I can relax. And, when I’m finished with my bath, guess who’s going to dress me and comb my hair?” “The funeral director,” she said.

 AND FINALLY, A PIECE OF ADVICE: A newly married couple once asked: “What shall we do to make our love endure?” Said the Master: “Love other things together.”


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