Turning Annoyances Around

by Phil Callaway

Six months before my wedding day, an elderly friend tapped my shoulder in the post office and offered me some free advice. “Ramona’s a lovely girl,” he said. “She deserves a good husband. Marry her before she finds one.” Then he whispered a curious thing: “You want a happy marriage?

Of course I did.

When the things that attracted you to her start to drive you apart,” he said, smiling, “find a way to reverse the process.”

I’ve been thinking about his advice for many years, and it’s starting to make sense. When Ramona and I were dating, I loved the way she took life slowly. She taught me to stop and taste the strawberries. But three months after our honeymoon, as I waited in the car, resisting the urge to honk the horn, I knew exactly what he meant.

At one point I had considered nailing a list of 95 irritations to the bathroom door, something Martin Luther may have done to his wife. Only four came to mind:

  1. Your sense of humour is warped. The funniest thing I did this week was hit my head on a cupboard door. You laughed. That was not funny. Please do not laugh when you read this.
  2. You are kind to door to door sales people.
  3. My wooly jumper is missing. The one I got for my 17th birthday.
  4. I love to be on time. You do not. Meet me in the living room at 8 p.m. sharp, and we’ll talk about this.

Thankfully, I refrained from posting the list and considered the elderly man’s advice to “reverse the process.” Now, after 25 years of marriage, I’ve learned that if my wife and I were the same, we’d be in trouble. If we kept all my wool sweaters, we’d need 13 storage containers each time we moved.

Her kindness to door to door sales people is the same kindness that first drew me to her. Thankfully, it has tempered with time. She now offers a polite, “No, thanks.” Or she says, “Here, I’ll let you talk to my husband.”

I’ve asked her to meet me in the living room at 8 p.m. sharp to talk about this.

Phil Callaway and his wife, Ramona, just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Phil was on time.

Adapted from an article by ©Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.