Monday, February 24, 2014

pride goeth before the squeeze

Before a downfall, a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor - Proverbs 18:12

Pride is a funny thing. Now, I know what you are thinking... with that kind of statement, you think I'm about to reveal to you some sort of deep truth, make some sort of admittance of guilt to you, where I was shamed and my pride created a downfall in my life, thereby creating a perfect teachable moment to you, born of my humiliation and, because its me, probably comical come-uppence.

No, sorry.

But I do want to talk about pride, and yes, I do have a story. 

The Lovely Steph Leann and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this week, on Friday, to be exact. Ten years we've been together, and like many marriages, we strive to not just be roommates, or to stay in our comfortable roles of Mommy and Daddy... no, we are Hubs and Wife, and as any parent will tell you, its tough to be that way sometimes.

We had a sitter overnight on Saturday night, which was great--The Lovely Steph Leann's sister Angie took young Campbell Isaiah for the night to her family, freeing us up for a non-baby 24 hour period.

Now, before you raise your eyebrows, start chanting "Bow-chicka-wow-wow" and high-fiving each other, I guess I should tell you that we were both struck on Wednesday with some sort of funk, some virus that kicked us both in the teeth... or better yet, stomach... or to really TMI it up, in the back end... and it was pretty miserable.

Also worth mentioning, I've gone through several evenings with vicious acid reflux, one night so badly that I couldn't lay flat for more than 20 minutes without having horribly painful coughing fits and...

...well, you get the idea. 

So, you can stop the sing-along to H-Town's 1994 classic "Knock Knock Knockin' Da Boots", because really, we were just happy to have some time together and some quiet. 

We went to dinner at Seasons 52, up at the Summit shopping area, a place we'd never been. We had been gifted a gift card, so we thought it was good to try it out, because we knew it might be a bit pricy. Since we had money toward the bill, it was a now-or-never type idea. And we weren't disappointed... it was a fantastic meal, the service was just awesome, the atmosphere was great, and because we declared it our 10th Anniversary Dinner (because we had a sitter... we have no sitter lined up for our actual anniversary), the server and manager even gave us some extra bonuses.

We didn't get to dinner until after 8, so it was nearly 930 by the time we finished... our movie plans were pushed off until the next day, Sunday, and we just wanted to go home, get a few around the house things done and relax. 

All went well... but those of you married folk, or in deep, serious relationship, know that sometimes one little thing can ruin an evening. And if "ruin" is too strong a word, then sometimes one little thing can be annoying enough to make you just say, "Eh. I'm going to sleep."

And we had one of those little head butting moments that everyone has, and as per usual, at exactly the wrong moment. A room full of happiness and togethery time suddenly became a room of slight tension, quiet and awkward moments and a desire of two people who probably want to just open up and say, "Ok, so this is what is bothering me" but aren't saying a word because we both know its so silly... and maybe pride is saying, "Well, why should I say something? Not my fault. Or not all my fault, anyways..."

Ah, Pride. Such a silly thing.

So, after a little chit-chat with the air thick in the room with disagreement, the lights go out. She on one side, I on the other. Silence. More little chit-chat. A few coughs here and there, some very romantic throat clearing and nose-blowing. Silence.

Silence between a husband and wife when there is something unpleasant, and worse yet, unspoken, between them is louder than a thousand jet engines. 

Finally, she turned on one side. More silence. A little more chit-chat about stuff that I don't remember.

I then felt as if I should do one single thing... no, not apologize. Not yet. I didn't feel as if I should say anything. 

I felt led to make one simple gesture. To take my hand, my left and place it on her shoulder. Just a little squeeze, nothing more. Nothing sexual, nothing funny, nothing annoying like poking her or anything. Just put that hand on her shoulder and squeeze. 

But I didn't do it. 

Why should I? Right? Putting that hand up there then tells her "Hey, its okay. I was probably being stupid. I love you." And I didn't want to do that... I mean, I wasn't being stupid! I was justified! I was in the right, I was correct on my stance on the issues in question! I'm not putting my hand up there!

And so as I lay flat on my back, in the darkness, wide awake and knowing she was too, even though she lay with her back to me, my left arm stayed still. 

Again, I felt led... just put your hand on her shoulder. That fixes it. That solves it. That's the pin that punctures the balloon of tension, that's the blade that cuts through the silence and gives her a sense of "its okay. I love you."

My arm lay still. I didn't even move my hand, my fingers.

I mean, screw that. I spend way too much time in the rest of my world being right and being treated like I was wrong, or barely getting any acknowledgment for my being right, even when I prove those people wrong. I mean, I don't know why she didn't just agree with me, why she didn't just...

...why she just...

...she didn't...

...why... me... I... me... I... me... I... me... me... me...

...and Pride laughed at me, heartily and fully. Pride laughed at me in my head and in my heart and gave me a stomach twist that no virus could ever approach.

Slowly, I lifted my left arm. I placed my hand on her shoulder, and squeezed gently. Just once. It remained there for a few seconds, then I moved my arm back to where it was. 

"I love you," I whispered.


"I love you too," she whispered back.

Pride took an hour of our precious non-Campbell time. Could have been the whole night... and what's worse is, shortly thereafter, I came down with more not-feeling-good'ness... So our time was already limited, unknown to us.

(after a long night of trying to sleep, and up early for church--me, as I had KidStuf, so I let her sleep the morning away, we had a fantastic afternoon of The LEGO Movie, lunch, a little shopping and great conversations... lots and lots of laughing... and a brief chat later on about our differences from the night before... Pride can suck it.)

What precious time is Pride robbing from you? 

And what gentle squeezes on the shoulder are you refusing to give, because Pride is telling you that you're right, they are wrong and to give in would be weak? 

(10,616 words in #15KWordsInFebruary... 4,384 to go)


  1. You are authentically transparent. Thanks! This happens but, usually I pass out before resolution. The next day I'm ready to move on and my wife is ready to discuss it. Better to not let the sun, or moon set before talking it out.

  2. Wow. I can't tell you how familiar this sounds. Usually I do the squeeze or touch to see if she'll do the same. I'm always beforehand thinking about how wronged I've been and how she should apologize..,..until later, when I find out what she was thinking and how different it is from what I was imagining. Daniel H.


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