When Someone’s “Hitting” on your spouse

I ran into “Jackass” Friday at  a buy fresh workshop.  Here’s his picture: 

He mentioned he and his wife hadn’t seen us for awhile  (it’s been two years).  I’m not sure what to do with him  them relationally.   He suggested we needed to get together again.

Every time we are with them- Virtually every time  “Jackass” will say some form of …”It’s too bad you are here (meaning me ) …MM  (my wife) is who I really enjoy seeing“.   😉   (or some variation of that statement)

We’ve known this couple for 8 years.  He’s a 60 year old hippie, been married a time or two….he’s a big flirt with every attractive woman he sees…not just my wife… to be perfectly honest, for the first 5 years we knew them, I thought to myself..he’s harmless enough..that’s just “Jackass.”

Scripture talks about how the words  we use are an index of our heart…both good and bad…we give others a glimpse into our hearts by what we  talk about.

Anyway, 3 years ago, in another friendship we had as a couple…I kept insisting  that the boyfriend of my wife’s good friend was an out and out pervert.  Guys can pick up on things in other men, I swear women are sometimes blind to.   My wife wasn’t so sure,  so I  had to bite my tongue, so not to rock the boat.  One day my wife comes home and says…”You were right about Wilbur.  He is a creep.   He tried to kiss two  women who stayed over night @ so and so’s house.” 

     I wept  from  the pent up turmoil I’d been carrying for over a year. 

My wife and I had a heart to heart talk, we  both agreed “Jackass” while not cut out of the same cloth as Wilbur,  was a flirt.  Why submit our marriage to that?   So we backed  off.  It was hard because we did enjoy his wife’s company.

Have you ever had to deal with this sort of thing?

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I wrote that post in 2008 .  It touched a chord.  Had 22 people comment.

 

Yesterday, I ran into Steve as I was coming out of a local gas station.   I have been listening to his flirtatious comments toward my wife for 40 years, writing him  off as another harmless jackass.

(Every single time I run into Steve, he has something to say,  and it happens at least twice a year.  (At my wife’s last class reunion a year ago, he tried to  kiss her on the cheek).  Couple of years ago,our daughter K ran into Steve uptown. She called our place to tell us, Steve and she had talked, and he told her, he was her mom’s first kiss.  You get the idea.  Harmless, but, non stop.)

Steve  was just coming in the automatic door as I was leaving.

I knew it was coming..some, comment about my wife, I knew I needed to suck it up, write it off as harmless….

Sure enough…

“Tell your cute wife I said “hi”.”

I looked at him and before I could say, twinkle twinkle little star, a breaker must have tripped in my brain.   I could hear myself saying  “I don’t like it.  Every single time you have to make some comment.”

He looked at me, I could see his brain was trying to process what was going on.    I wasn’t smiling, I wasn’t joking, I was dead serious.  We  stepped back out of the entry so the door would shut, and continued the conversation for another 3 minutes.  (It ended on good note.)

Wife and I have been married now for 40 plus years.  We’ve talked about the Steve’s and the Jacks, and the Wilbur’s  and Tony’s, when they’ve crossed our paths for any length of time.

In a long term healthy relationship, there has to be room to have these sort of conversations.

Have you ever had to deal with this sort of thing?  Would love to hear your thoughts. DM

 

The Wedding Dance

One of our nephews got married this past weekend.

At the reception, the DJ announced a dance for “All the married couples.”  And then he said,  “You know how this works…keep dancing until your year is called, so we can find out who here has been married the longest…”Wife looks and me and says, “Let’s  do it!”  I’d already been out on the floor dancing with one of our granddaughters so I was OK with the idea.  I’m going to guess there were about 20 couples on the floor.

“5 years or less, please leave the floor…”  “Dang,” said a young couple off to my right.

“15 years or less…please leave the floor..”

“25 years or less…

35 years or less...(the parents of the bride and groom left at this point.)

40 years…. (It was at this point we made a bee line to the edge of the floor.)

I could hear the DJ saying something about that last couple, turned out it was us. We were that last couple.  Then I felt a hand on my shoulder, thought it was one of my brother-in-laws, for a second, then realized it was the DJ.

“Any words of advice?”

My mind went  blank.  Completely  blank.   And then, a thought began to take shape, but I wasn’t sure I should say it.

What the heck, he asked me again so I blurted it out: ,“It takes a lot of work” (not the most romantic words, but he’d asked, and as far as I was concerned, it was the truth. 🙂

He asked the question a third time? ” What words of advice would you give a younger couple after being married for 40 years?” 

Fortunately, my wife had her wits about her and she said,  “Well, coffee in bed…He brings me coffee in bed, and has done so for years..” (I could hear a collective awe) 🙂

“It’s the little things that matter.  Kindness..”

After we sat down and the microphone was no longer in my face, my wife added…“I wish I would have said a sense of humor…a sense of humor in marriage goes a long ways!”

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The year we marked our 25th anniversary,  I did  write down some thoughts on marriage.  They are as true today as 15 years go and if you’ve never read my list,  here is what I wrote:

#1. A marriage relationship is a living thing, very much like a plant.  There are things you can do to enhance it, make it flourish, and there are things you can do in terms of neglect.  It can go without water and sunlight for a spell, but make no mistake…the principle of sowing and reaping is just as relevant in marriage as in any area of life.

#2.  A “healthy” marriage takes work.  You don’t feel the “warm fuzzies” for each other all the time.  Don’t panic…that is normal. Wife and I like to spend time together, we enjoy each other’s company.  But, as Dr. Dobson puts it, “Emotions come and go.  Do the deeds and the feelings will follow.”

  Make the phone calls from work just to say, “Hi. I was thinking about you.” Bring her coffee in bed.  Get out one-on-one, just the two of you , even if it’s just for a cup of coffee. Help out around the home with the dirty dishes, dirty, diapers, and here is a big one…pick up after yourself!

#3, Take time to listen and stay “current” with each other.  Don’t pour all your energy into your job and have nothing left over for your family.  Don’t become “married singles.” (two people living in the same home who no longer have anything in common.)  If your job does take all of your energy, all of the time, then Buddy, you need to find a different job.  There is nothing more tragic in life than a man who makes it to the top of the company ladder and loses his family in the process.

#4. Use these words often (You will need them):

“I’m sorry.”

“I was wrong.”

“Please forgive me.”

“You are right.”

#5. Dance…have fun…keep doing the silly things you did when you were just dating or courting.

#6. When (not if) you find yourself having an unresolved conflict in some area (money, sex, parenting, work, church, etc.) work at it until you find an answer! (God has used everything from books to other couples, to paid counselors, to help keep our boat afloat over the years.)

#7 Get out (or stay out) of debt.  There are a lot of spin-off ramifications that come with financial pressure.    Just a side note on this one-  for the most part, we have been a one income family, and since I have chosen to make a living with my hands (I am in construction)  we have made financial choices including…renting instead of owning the first 15 years of our marriage,  driven an older dependable car, shopped @ garage sales, discount grocery stores, etc.

These are choices we all have to make, but as children enter the picture, Dad needs to have some time and energy left over at the end of the day or be willing to “pay the piper” later in life. (Remember the song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”???)

#8. Give each other some space and freedom.  Trust and respect are foundational issues.

#9. Pray and share with each other spiritually.

#10 Be a forgiving person.  Let’s face it, you are not perfect, your mate is not perfect, “stuff” happens.  Cut each other some slack….practice grace….be the first to initiate reconciliation.

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If you have any thoughts you would like to add to this list, absolutely feel free to do so.

I feel a nap coming on. 🙂 It’s raining here today.  I took off work early in order to take a couple of our chickens to do a program for group of Kindergardeners before I sat down here at the computer.

What a hoot.

Take care.  DM

 

Dancing with the granddaughters.

 

Q and A with Dr Philly

Attended a wedding reception last night.  Sat next to Don and Philly.

Haven’t talked to them in years.

Lots of laughter coming from our table @ the reception I was told.

Told them I’d been  talking  about them just the week before! 🙂

“No wonder my ears were burning.” Philly said.

“It had to do with parenting I said.  I remember one of them making the comment, years ago, that one of their goals as parents was, if one of their kids was acting up at a basketball game, all they had to do  was to look across the gym and their child would straighten up.”  

Don gave me a knowing smile.

(None of this, “I’m going to count to three stuff or else.”)

Then I reminded them about another conversation that we’d had with them during that same season of our lives.

(A conversation to this day ranks as one of the all time most helpful, most impacting, conversations of my life.)

The conversation had to do with sex.

Philly was an RN, same age as my mom.  We as a couple were dealing with  the normal tension and stress many couples experience in the area  of sexuality. Don and Philly were attending the same church we were at the time, and even though they’d been married 40 years, there was definitely a “spark” in their relationship. They were doing something right.  I really wanted to pick their brain.  When I need input in my life, I would much rather talk with someone with practical experience than one who is just book smart.   Out of desperation really,  we reached out to them as a couple to see if we could talk to them about the area of sexuality.   Don suggested we talk to Philly, because of her background and personality,  she was more than happy to do so.

We ended  up driving around town  while we talked.

Think Private conversation with Dr Phil 😉

Where no question was a dumb question.

What about ___________?

What about ____________?

On and on.

Conversation went on for a good hour.

Laugh….boy did we laugh. 🙂

You can cover a lot of ground in an hour if you have to.

Came away from our time together both of us feeling heard.

We were able to untangle some knots in our relationship, that frankly, I’m not sure we would have ever been able to untangle on our own.

Don and Philly are in the mid 80’s now.  There is still a spark in their relationship.

Don and Philly, thank you for being willing to open your lives to a young struggling couple.

DM

 

 

 

Appointment With Love

I can still remember a Christmas eve, doesn’t seem that long ago…I was @ my grandparents, talking with Uncle Bill.

I remember telling him I wished I had a girl friend.  In my heart of hearts, I had the strongest urge  to settle down and start a family….I didn’t voice all of that to Uncle Bill  but it was there, and it was real.

The ironic thing was, there were absolutely no prospects on the horizon…none...nada…

Bill said to me, “You never know...that special someone might be just around the corner!”

Would you believe less that two months later, I met her.

Mrs DM and I celebrated 36 years together this past April.  I could write a blog post (book?)  on the life lessons I’ve learned during this time….

The humbling thing for me is, we are closer now than ever.  It has not always been like that and has definitely not been easy.

I am not the easiest person in the world to deal with on a daily basis.  You can fool the people you only see once in a while, but the people you live with on a daily basis…not a chance.

Came across the following story in A  3rd serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  DM

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      Six minutes to six, said the great round clock over the information booth in Grand Central Station.  The tall young Army lieutenant who had just come from the direction of the tracks lifted his sunburned face, and his eyes narrowed to note the exact time.  His heart was pounding with a beat that shocked him because he could not control it.  In six minutes, he would see the woman who had filled such a special place in his life for the past 13 months, the woman he had never seen, yet whose written words had been with him and sustained him unfailingly.

     He placed himself as close as he could to the information booth, just beyond the ring of people besieging the clerks…

      Lieutenant Blanford remembered one night in particular, the worst of the fighting, when his plane had been caught in the midst of a pack of Zeros.  He had seen the grinning face of one of the enemy pilots.

     In one of his letters, he had confessed to her that he often felt fear, and only a few days before this battle, he had received her answer: “Of course you fear…all brave men do.  Didn’t King David know fear?  That’s why he wrote the 23rd Psalm.  Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”  And he had remembered;  he had heard her imagined voice, and it had renewed his strength and skill.

     Now he was going to hear her real voice.  Four minutes to six.  His face grew sharp. 

       Under the immense, starred roof, people were walking fast, like threads of color being woven into a grey web.  A girl passed close to him,  and Lieutenant Blanford started.  She was wearing a red flower in her suit lapel, but it was a crimson sweet pea, not the little red rose they had agreed upon.  Besides this girl was too young, about 18, whereas Hollis Meynell had frankly told him she was 30.  “Well, what of it?” he had answered.  “I’m 32.  He was 29.

     His mind went back to that book- the book the Lord Himself must have put into his hands out of the hundreds of Army  library books sent to the Florida training camp.  Of Human Bondage, it was; and throughout the book were notes in a woman’s writing.  He had always hated that writing-in habit, but these remarks were different.  He had never believed that a woman could see into a man’s heart so tenderly, so understandingly.  Her name was on the book-plate  Hollis Meynell.  He had got hold of a New York City telephone book and found her address.  He had written, she had answered.  Next day he had been shipped out, but they had gone on writing.

     For 13 months, she had faithfully replied, and more than replied.  When his letters did not arrive, she wrote anyway, and now he believed he loved her, and she loved him.

     But she had refused all his pleas to sent him a photograph.  That seemed rather bad, of course.  But she had explained: “If your feeling for me has any reality, any honest basis, what I look like won’t matter.  Suppose I’m beautiful.  I’d always be haunted by the feeling that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would disgust me.  Suppose I’m plain (and you must admit that this is more likely) Then I’d always fear that you were going on writing me only because you were lonely and had no one else.  No, don’t ask for my picture.  When you come to New York, you shall see me and they you shall make your decision.  Remember, both of us are free to stop or go on after that- whichever we choose…”

      One minute to six- he pulled hard on the cigarette.

     Then Lieutenant Blanford’s heard leaped higher than his plane had ever done.

     A young woman was coming toward him.  Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears.  Her eyes were blue and flowers, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness.  In her pale green suit, she was like springtime come alive.

     He started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was wearing no rose, and as he moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

      Going my way soldier?” she murmured.

      Uncontrollably, he made one step closer to her.  Then he saw Hollis Meynell.

      She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40, her greying hair tucked under a worn hat.  She was more than plump; her thick-ankled feet were thrust into low-heeled shoes.  But she wore a red rose in a rumpled lapel of her brown coat.

     The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.

     Blanford felt that though he were being split in two, so keen was his desire to follow the girl, yet so deep was his longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companion-ed and upheld his own; and there she stood.  Her pale  plump face was gentle and sensible;  he could see that now.  Her gray eyes had a warm, kindly twinkle.

     Lieutenant Blanford did not hesitate.  His fingers gripped the small, worn, blue leather copy of Of Human Bondage, which was to identify him to her.  This would  not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even rarer than love- a friendship for which he had been and must ever be grateful.

     He squared his broad shoulders, saluted and held the book out toward the woman, although even while he spoke, he felt shocked by the bitterness of his disappointment.

      “I”m lieutenant John Blanford, and you- you are Miss Meynell.  I’m so glad you could meet me.  May…..may I take you to dinner?”

      The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile.  “I don’t know what this is all about, son,” she answered.  “That young lady in the green suit- the one who just went by- begged me to wear this rose on my coat.  And she said that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you that she’s waiting for you in that big restaurant across the street.  She said it was some kind of a test.  I’ve got two boys with Uncle Sam myself, so I didn’t mind to oblige you.”

Sulamith Ish-Kishor

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“One measure of a man’s relationship with the Almighty can be seen on the countenance of his wife’s face…” 

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Mrs DM and I in Grand Central Station

An Open Letter To A Young Father To Be….

Saw a picture this morning

Four twenty “somethingish” first time pregnant young ladies standing in a row.

All due in the Fall.

All smiles.

One of them reminded me of my wife when she was carrying our first. (Daughter just turned 35 last week.

Wife and I are currently enjoying the most connected season in our 36 years of marriage, which is where these thoughts are flowing from….)

There is a part of me that would love to sit down with the husbands of those four precious young ladies and plant just a couple of thoughts into their young  testosterone filled brains.

Here is some of what I would tell them….

#1  You WILL encounter situations in your marriage, in your parenting and in your personal life that bring you to the place of brokenness and confusion in the years ahead.  Resist the temptation to just keep mucking along, and gradually loosing the sense of connection and intimacy you first had as a couple.

Reach out.

Ask for help.

There are people and resources out there that can help you, but the buck stops with you young man.  You may have to do a little digging to find someone in your area, if you need any help, feel free to drop me a comment.

#2 Save some emotional energy for your wife and child.  If you have to sacrifice all of it on the altar of your career, then  get a different job.  Taking care of young children at home (I’m  thinking of your wife @ this point)  has a tendency to turn your brain to mush.  If you don’t believe me, take a week off, tell her to go see her parents or best friend from high school while you take over…

Well, time to go to work.  DM

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