It was a plastic ball—a silly thing, really. Hanging from five feet of twine tied to the rafters, this shiny red weapon glared at me as I pulled our minivan into the garage. I stared back, surprised, and my eyes narrowed. The blood in my veins pumped harder.
A ball, eh? Who does he think he is, hanging a ball from the ceiling as if I don’t know how to park my own van in my own garage. There is nothing wrong with the way I park. If he thinks I creep a little too close to his recycling bins and his precious lawn mower, well, that’s not my problem. But this! This ball makes his problem my problem. And wifey is not happy about it.
“I take offense to that ball in the garage.” I hung my keys and faced my husband in a standoff.
“Why?” He crinkled his eyebrows.
“Because it implies I’m too stupid to know how to park the van. I know how to park the van.”
“I just thought it would be helpful, that’s all.”
“No, you thought you would teach me a lesson in parking. I don’t need it, thankyouverymuch.”
“It’s just a ball. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
He peeked through the kitchen entry window into the garage and saw what I thought of his little ball. I’d pulled the van a good two feet past it—on purpose—and the twine hung at a 45-degree angle across my windshield. Take that, Jack.
And yet. My husband seemed genuinely confused by my reaction. Hurt, even. In fact, I think he expected me to thank him for it. Handyman husband to the rescue, yay.
Funny, isn’t it? How two people can look upon the same scene and see entirely different pictures. My husband saw helpful. I saw insulting.
Guess which one of us needs a vision check-up.
Darn it. Probably me.
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense,” (Proverbs 19:11).
Are you easily offended? Do you default to anger before considering the other side of the story? I confess this has become a habit for me in marriage. I imagine my husband is trying to irk me when he really means no harm.
So I’m learning to ask myself three questions.
1. Is my husband my friend or my enemy?
Duh—he’s my friend. We’re on the same team. He loves me and wants the best for me. So why should I automatically assume his goal is to irritate me? It makes no sense. This simple shift in perception can change a marriage.
2. Is this worth ruining my day?
If I bark about the ball thing, it could lead to an argument. An argument could tank the entire day. I’m not saying we should avoid healthy conflict, but really, is conflict always necessary? Try overlooking an offense and see how it changes your heart.
3. What else could he have meant by that?
If I vote to go the conflict route, then it’s my responsibility to get my husband’s side of the story—before I snap. “Honey, why did you hang that ball in the garage?” would’ve been a perfectly peaceful introduction. Then maybe I could’ve averted anger in the first place.
So tomorrow, when I pull into the garage after school drop-off, I’ll inch toward that gatekeeper ball and floor the brakes as soon as it taps my windshield. I’ll grant my husband his extra two feet of space because I love him, and okay fine he does have better depth perception. But nobody can blame me if the rear latch just happens to scrape the garage door next time I attempt to unload a trunk full of groceries. That will totally be the ball’s fault. Just sayin’.
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