The pitfalls of playing the comparison game in marriageWritten by Jamie Driggers
What's inside this article
My friends’ husbands do the most extraordinary things. Things that leave me shaking my head in wonder. Laundry, for example. Dishes. One husband makes pancakes on Saturdays, and another makes pies from scratch. They change the empty toilet paper roll and go grocery shopping.
Sure, none of these husbands does the entire list, or even most of it. But for years, when I heard a friend mention something at which her husband excelled, later I would find myself in a snit that my husband didn’t even know where to find the soap. My cool greeting when he would come through the door after work must have left him wondering what had happened.
I have a tendency to hear the best about another husband and compare it to the worst of mine, completely ignoring the rest of the story. I hear what I need to hear to make my case.
Dirty laundry and the golf widow
I remember the first time I recognized my selective blindness. I’d visited a friend who was annoyed because her husband had stepped over a full laundry basket rather than taking it to the laundry room and throwing a load in the washer. I remember thinking that to have her husband acknowledge the basket of laundry by stepping over it was miraculous in itself. The fact that she thought he might wash it mean the did sometimes, and that impressed me even more. I attempted to look sympathetic to her plight, but I’m not sure I succeeded.
Later in the conversation, she mentioned her husband was playing golf – for the fourth time that week. She wasn’t the least bit bothered by it, but I was in shock.
I kept my thoughts to myself, but later that afternoon, any time the laundry basket scenario came to mind and I considered being jealous, I found myself also thinking,Well, at least Brent doesn’t ditch me for the golf course. In fact, on the rare occasion he does golf, he takes me along.
While I replayed other portions of the conversation, I found myself thankful for many of Brent’s attributes. Brent talks to me. I get the play-by-play, even when I don’t ask for it. And not only does Brent talk to me, but he also listens. He will even ask when I’m on a rant whether I need a sounding board or a solution before he responds to my dilemma.
Brent follows only one team per sport, and he intentionally doesn’t play fantasy sports because he knows his tendency to obsess. He treats me as his intellectual equal and values my intuition and advice. Best of all, he encourages my dreams and ideas no matter how far-fetched,and he has much more faith in me than I have.
Better than pancakes
I chose my husband for reasons far greater than pancakes on Saturday morning, and I knew his failings long before we married. I have to remember that every one of those men who has talents my husband lacks also has quirks that I mercifully don’t have to endure in Brent.
Besides, the woman who talked about her husband making pancakes was really talking about the maple syrup that splattered all over the kitchen. I can be thankful my husband didn’t stickify my kitchen . . .or I can obsess over the fact that Brent doesn’t cook, or . . . I can just listen to her story and laugh, because her story has nothing to do with my husband.
So whenever I’m faced with yet another duty at which a friend’s husband succeeds, I try to keep things in perspective. Brent has some remarkable attributes, and if I were to stack him up against any one of my friends’ husbands, I’d still choose him.
Even if it means I’m perpetually on laundry duty.
Jamie Driggers and her husband lived in Shawnee, Kansas at the time of publication.
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