The Salvation Army - Salvationist.ca - It Takes TwoFailure to Communicate: Paint the bathroom? What happened to Diane Stark’s day of marital bliss with her husband, Eric?

It Takes Two

I was disappointed when my husband spent his day off doing chores instead of being with me. But was I any better?

February 12, 2016 by Diane Stark


“I was thinking of taking Friday off,” my husband, Eric, said one evening.

“Really?” I said. “That would be great!” We’d been extra busy lately and spending a day together sounded wonderful.

I imagined a day of marital bliss. I pictured us lingering over morning coffee and having lunch at our favourite restaurant. I imagined us snuggling on the couch, enjoying a romantic comedy. It sounded perfect.

And when I woke up Friday morning, Eric’s side of the bed was already empty. I bet he already started the coffee, I thought.

What About Me?
But Eric wasn’t in the kitchen. I called his name and he answered me from the basement.

“What are you doing down there?” I asked.

“Getting ready,” he called back. “I’m going to paint the guest bathroom today.”

Paint the bathroom? What happened to that day of marital bliss?

Eric came upstairs dressed in his old clothes and carrying a drop cloth and paint roller. He grinned and said, “Aren’t you excited? We bought this paint months ago, and I’m finally going to use it.”

I tried to muster some enthusiasm. Eric was right. Painting the bathroom had been on our to-do list for months, but we simply hadn’t had time.

But I was still disappointed. I’d thought Eric had taken the day off work to spend time with me!

While the first coat of paint dried, Eric changed the oil in my car. Then he washed the windows, a job he knows I utterly despise. He finished painting, and then called me in to see his work.

“It looks great,” I said. “I really like it.”

He looked at me closely. “I thought you’d be more excited.”

“I am excited. It looks terrific.”

“But … ” he prompted me.

I shrugged. “I thought you’d taken the day off to spend time with me.” I explained how I’d imagined our day quite differently than it had turned out.

Eric’s face fell. “I painted and worked on your car. I even washed the windows because I know you hate doing it. I thought you’d be happy that I spent the day doing things for you.”

“I am happy, and I appreciate everything you’ve done today,” I said. “But I’d have been happier if we’d just spent the day together.”

Eric hugged me and said, “Let’s go out for dinner tomorrow night—just the two of us. Sound good?”

I nodded, already looking forward to it.

Overscheduled
The following night, we went to our favourite restaurant. “How was your day?” he asked when we were seated. “You left early this morning, and I didn’t see you until it was almost time to leave for dinner.”

“Oh, the church’s yard sale was this morning, and I’d signed up to help,” I said. “They raised quite a bit of money for the mission trip.”

Eric nodded. “That’s good. But wasn’t the yard sale over at noon?”

“Yes, but then I went to lunch with a woman from church. She’s struggling, and I thought I could cheer her up.” I smiled.

“Did you come home after that?”

“No. I had to stop by the grocery store. They said at the yard sale that the food pantry is getting really low, so I picked up a few things for that.” I smiled at my husband. “It was a busy day.”

Eric nodded again. “It sounds like it. You didn’t even say goodbye this morning before you left.”

“I didn’t want to wake you, plus I was running late. I just threw on some clothes and left the house. And I just realized I didn’t read my Bible this morning, either.”

“That’s OK, Honey. It sounds like you spent the whole day serving God.”

The Salvation Army - Salvationist.ca - It Takes Two

Happy at Last: When you love someone, say Diane and Eric, you need to spend time with them

Open for Business
“I wonder if God feels that way about me,” I told Eric.

I paused, remembering how I’d felt the day before. Eric had spent the whole day doing things for me, yet all I’d wanted was for him to relax and spend time with me.

I felt he was “too busy” for me and it hurt my feelings.

Then what did I do? The same thing, rushing around without even taking the time to pray. I’m sure Eric had been disappointed with me, though too much the gentleman to say so, and God probably wasn’t impressed, either.

I needed to change the way I thought about God. When we love somebody, we should want to spend time with them.

“I think we’re all guilty of neglecting Him sometimes,” Eric said. “We forget that being still with God is the most important thing we can do. But it’s easy to fix. I made that mistake yesterday and here we are now, enjoying an evening together. It’s even easier to fix things with God.”

I smiled, grateful for my husband’s insight.

“Yeah, and unlike me, He’s never too busy for us.

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