On Husbands and Puppies

Sometimes we have those weekends that just knock us off our feet, throw off the order and harmony we think (unrealistically) we’ve created, and cause us to re-evaluate what’s going on in life. I had a bit of an epiphany this morning that I can attribute solely to some words from Lisa TerKeurst’s “Am I Messing Up My Kids,” study I’ve been working on, and thought this would be blog-worthy.

Now, initially, I have to state up front I don’t like to write things about my husband that could be misconstrued (negatively). When I reflect on the circumstances of the last few days (within the context of Lisa T.’s smackdown upside my head), I realize this won’t – it will reflect negatively on me, but I think part of the purpose of the blog (for me) is self-analysis, self-declaration, and then ultimately, catharsis. I’ll do the caveat — if you could be reading this and think negatively or positively of my husband, choose the positive. I’m the screwball in this circumstance.

It goes like this – my beloved husband showed up three days ago with two puppies (about 8 weeks old, I imagine). It was a complete shocker. We’d discussed a couple of months ago about getting a pup, because I (and the kids) had fallen in love with a pup at an animal swap (a Great Pyrenees, which I still hope to own some day because I want to snuggle in their fluffy white coat). Husband vetoed the pup, and namely for valid reasons (we didn’t know the home it came from, the lineage, the breed characteristics, it’s family interactions, etc). So I set aside my heart for a puppy, assuming the time would come along when we would get one. Little did I know my husband had not stopped the puppy-contemplations, and when he was out with the kids, and his father offered him two of these pups, he didn’t think there would be any harm in bringing them home. He knew I wanted pups, so viola, issue resolved.

Bo, the new Catahoula pup      Jack

Bo & Jack, the new Catahoula pups

My reaction was less than stellar. I bawled, I ranted, I lost my temper, I vowed I wouldn’t be able to love these pups because I didn’t really want two, I didn’t really want this breed, I didn’t really want the kids to get to pick them out when I had no say. I bawled some more. Mind you – I kept insisting it wasn’t really about the pups (it was about the way they were brought home with no discussion with me). My husband *gasp* pointed out that I tend to be on the controlling side (he said it among other things, and he said it differently than that). However, that was the gyst.

Now, I want to point out that I am a type-A woman, I love a schedule as much as I love my clean teeth, and I thrive in an orderly world. I think I have deluded myself a bit into this false sense that just because I discuss everything with my husband (household stuff, family stuff) because I feel that’s what a wife should do that I wasn’t “controlling.” I’m bringing the issues to my husband, right? That’s submission, right? Just because I get all bent out of shape when he doesn’t run things by me (in the same manner) doesn’t make me controlling, does it? Well, maybe. A bit. I’m sure if my sisters or close friends are reading this now, they’re snickering at my deliberate naiveté.

In addition to the Lisa T. study I’ve been reading, “For Better or Best” by Gary Smalley. I really don’t like it (which, from past experience, often means I need to keep reading it). It rankles every time I read it because I (inwardly, maybe subconsciously) scoff at the women who need to be told to do more for their man (I do it all!) and for the husbands who disregard their wives (mine never does!).

I do consider myself a good wife, but there’s certainly room for improvement. I really don’t do *everything* I could be doing for my husband. More importantly, I am often heavy-hearted because I want more communication, more involvement, more appreciation (all things Smalley denotes are not really hard-wired into the male communication sense, but rather, need to be developed and encouraged). I also have a really fabulous husband – he treats me exceptionally well. He’s home every night when he isn’t working a job somewhere (away from his family, because he feels the burden to provide). He is incredibly involved with his children (noteworthy because it’s a rarity in our culture). He would never cheat on me, never beat me, doesn’t smoke, drink, or have any desire to run around blowing money. He can fix anything at all that needs fixing, and will do so whenever I request it. He never grumbles about his responsibilities, is almost always good-spirited, and will work like no other. I’m a very blessed wife. So what’s the issue?

This is where the smackdown came in. Lisa T. wrote, “When you aren’t depending upon your husband to fill you up, then he can make mistakes and you are still okay. He can say the wrong thing, and you can forgive him quickly. He can struggle and question his direction, and you don’t fall into despair. He can be your partner and your friend because he does not have to be your savior.

Sweet cracker sandwich. That might be an issue for Lisa (this Lisa) right there, folks. I married such a wonderful man I really have a problem when I think he’s made a mistake (and he did apologize for bringing the pups home without discussing it – he just genuinely thought I’d be glad to have pups). Did I mention it’s been 3 days that I’ve been grumbly and surly? Forgive him quickly? I need some of that, please! I do depend on him to fill me up. I do want affirmations for a clean house and a hot meal (and to be honest, he provides those fairly often, just not regularly). I do want more from him than I should be wanting, because while he’s a mighty good man (who’s with me on the throwback to Salt n Pepa?), he’s still just a man.

I have to add – I did bring this whole matter to God again and again and again over the past few days. I did the whole, “Help me to let this issue go, Lord. Help to either change his heart or change my heart.” Now, you all know that really I wanted HIS heart changed (take the pups back to your dad’s) and not my heart changed (I only asked that because I knew I should). What’s God do? He changed my heart to be accepting of the situation (although last night when hubby and I finally “resolved” the issue, I probably would have argued more ‘resigned’ to the situation). I think God really has a great sense of humor. I can just envision him (knowing where my heart really was when I mumbled that bit about changing my heart) grinning. Then he gives me this great concept to reflect on for my personal growth. Gah . . . I hate personal growth, but it sure makes sense, doesn’t it?

So, the lesson for the week, peeps, is that Lisa (this Lisa) needs to work on having realistic expectations for her husband, and seek out more fulfilment from God. Right. Putting that at the top of my to-do list for the week.


Ruthie isn't sure what to think of the puppy lovin'.

Ruthie isn’t sure what to think of the puppy lovin’.

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