December 30, 2012
A Word From Dave
I was going to write a new post when I came across this (It’s from December 20). Now that I don’t have to write one, I can use this time to make a sandwich for Dave.
Hello all, this is Dave, the other half of the Dawne/Dave marriage (actually, the other 2/3’s based on girth). Dawne is struggling to come up with something for a post, and since Christmas draws nigh she’s very busy (stressed). She left herself logged on and walked away, and me being the helpful sort I thought maybe I’d contribute – just keep it between you and me.
Since we’re talking about Christmas, I’d like to tell you about a gift I gave to Dawne: the moment I became a far better husband than I was before (and also a better all around person). I didn’t realize at the time that’s what was happening.
Like everyone, when I was growing up, I learned how to do things the way that my family did them. That way may not be the only way, but since they’re the way I learned them, they seem like the “right” way.
I learned how to do things like mow the lawn, take out the trash, and make a sandwich. I ate a lot of sandwiches (and still do), so my mom decided to free up several hours a week by teaching me how to make my own.
One of the things she taught me was that if you pull out a piece of bread near the end of the loaf, the bread has a big side and a little side (because the crust is angled, if you’re having trouble visualizing this you need to spend some time making your own sandwiches). My mom explained when the aforementioned situation occurs the little side of the bread slices should be on the outside of the sandwich and the big side on the inside since its greater surface area allows more spread or condiment to be applied thereto, thus increasing the sandwich’s overall yumminess quotient.
As my mom spoke I saw the light and swore to live my life accordingly from that day forward.
Then, down the road, I got married.
Overall, Dawne and I have always been a happy couple. Like any couple, we occasionally have our disagreements, and many times those disagreements are about how to do things the “right” way.
Also, there’s something that happens once you’ve lived with someone for a while– you get comfortable around them. I know that doesn’t sound like a spectacular insight but stick with me on this. What I mean is that you act around them differently than you do around others. You let them see more of what’s inside you, and sometimes what’s inside can be pretty childish.
Not only that, but things about our spouses that drive us crazy, we tolerate in others. Many times we’re far more forgiving of those we barely know. With those we know well we’re comfortable enough to let them see how their actions make us feel, even when those feelings reveal that we’re fairly petty.
Okay, now back to sandwiches and Dawne.
One day, after we were married, Dawne asked if I was hungry.
“Sure,” I answered.
“Can I make you a sandwich?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said again (I stick with what works).
And then she made the sandwich, applying the spread to the LITTLE SIDE OF THE BREAD!
I lost my mind. How uncouth could she be? Had this woman been raised by wolves? Had I really married a troglodyte?
I don’t exactly remember what I said to her, but it was on the opposite end of the spectrum from “Thanks for making me a sandwich, dear.” Now, here’s the important part: even though I don’t remember what I said, I remember exactly what I was thinking when I said it— I was thinking I was an idiot.
I’m yelling at my wife for buttering the wrong side of the bread? Really? I can blow off all kinds of slights by strangers but I can’t let this slide? Yes, there was the fact that what she did bothered me and I felt comfortable enough around her to let her know it, but on a deeper level, the problem was that what she did bothered me at all. And, ironically, that was the moment I became a better person because at that moment, I became aware how petty I could be. And by being aware of it, and being able to recognize it, I could work on fixing it.
To end the story, I apologized and got my sandwich (with a side of humble pie). Five kids later, Dawne and I have a pretty good marriage. On my better days I can ignore minor problems. Not just refrain from making a hurtful comment about them, but truly ignore them. I’m not perfect in this area; I’m still a work in progress, but I can recognize when I’m letting the little stuff get to me.
This is something everyone can learn to do, and its one of the best gifts you can give. You give it to everyone, and you give it most to those you are closest to and most comfortable around. It’s not found under a tree and you don’t have to wait for Christmas to give it. And the best part is it’s free.