Thursday, July 3, 2008

Appreciating Your Life—and Your Wife

"Look at me one minute as though you really saw me… Doesn't anyone ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?" — Emily Webb in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Act 3

Try to recall the most intense desire you have ever had for the woman who is now your wife. Perhaps during courtship, or on your honeymoon or a romantic vacation interlude.

When this she-creature was absolutely everything to you. When you could see the whole rest of your life in her eyes.

Or how about the intensity of feelings if you ever thought you could lose her forever? Maybe this never happened, but if it did, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Panic. Fear. A willingness to do anything to get her back, to change her mind, to make things okay again, the way they were before you screwed up royally (which I think we can safely assume you did). To crawl over broken glass, if that would do it, bearing flowers. To promise anything, do anything.

Even to give up televised sports. (Well, maybe not that far.)

Got it? That’s how you really feel about your wife. So why not live that way, every day—“every, every minute?”

Disagree? Perhaps you think your honeymoon or courtship phase was less real, sort of an embarrassing, make-believe interlude better left to scrapbooks, syrupy Hallmark cards and old wedding videos.

But you’d be wrong. Not being attuned to those core feelings is the illusion. Taking your wife for granted is the pretend phase, imagining that other endeavors outrank her and her needs on your daily priority list.

She is really and truly your No 1. In fact, she’s your perennial Top 10--and more.

And you don’t need to wait for a crisis to realize it.
“Courtship and reconciliation are clearly defined crises in a man’s life. He will do anything to win the woman of his dreams; should he lose her, he will do anything to win her back. Why, then, is he not willing to do anything, on a daily basis, to keep her contented? Because husbands don't perceive that a wife can be lost if never again wooed or won, that marriage is also a crisis, deserving of extreme efforts.”
—From the Introduction to Worshipping Your Wife

But, of course, sometimes it does takes a crisis for a husband to suddenly realize what matters most in his life – namely, his wife.

Such moments can be true “conversion” experiences, when the scales fall off one’s eyes and one is forever changed.

Like this husband's conversion:
“Once I realized my wife wanted to leave me, I knew I was powerless. There was no way I could make her stay. I knew the only way she would stay would be if she was happy, and so I resolved to do whatever it took to make her happy… Part of the process involved giving up control of the marriage… I discovered that making my focus my wife and her happiness, not only made the marriage better for her, but also for me.”

And this one:
“Our marriage had hit the deepest crisis in its history. I'm sure that if I had not found your site [Lady Misato’s Real Women Don’t Do Housework], my marriage would have been unretrievable… I realized that radical changes had to be made. I found myself about 3 a.m. looking at my wife asleep on the bed… and suddenly it dawned upon me what I had to do! I began kissing her feet passionately and found that I'd unconsciously totally surrendered and submitted my life to her in a split second of impulse. From that moment on I was her obedient, willing-to-please husband.”

No matter how incandescent the moment, of course, split-second impulses mean little if real and sustained change does not ensue, like this:
“I now take breakfast up to her every morning in bed, I'm doing all the house work, all the chores cooking for her every night, she now controls our finances, my sexual relief, and I'm loyally obeying her, I have never been this happy, not ever, and I mean not ever. Our marriage has taken a 180 degree turn. She is my reason for living now and I kneel at her feet.”

So, yes, it can happen. Happy-ever-aftering is possible. A husband and wife can really live this way.

Or not.


enoch said...

Ah, I see you quoted me here! You are right, the shock of possibly losing your wife is a real eye-opener - for me it was a moment of absolute clarity when everything stood in sharp relief - it was suddenly crystal-clear what was important and what wasn't.

And it has led to a life that I could never have imagined... but is what I always wanted!

Mark Remond said...

Enoch, yes, I asked your permission by email after the fact, but glad you approve. I also have had moments akin when I realized who, and who, really mattered most in my life. The trick is to hold fast to that truth, to wear it like a wedding ring.

Susan's Pet said...

I recall the time, as you put it, "Or how about the intensity of feelings if you ever thought you could lose her forever?"

We were married only a few months. She had pains. I would have given my life to spare her the suffering. It turned out well at the end. Now, decades later, I feel the same. She is my life.