Hung up on a clothesline

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Six months after I got married, my husband built me a clothesline.  He built it strong!  He bought the best lumber from Home Depot, and stuck it into concrete he mixed and poured, into holes he dug with his backhoe.  He built that clothesline BIG!  Thirty feet long!  We had talked about kids…

By golly, I was MAD!  I know.  Silly me.  Every time I use my clothesline, or just see it in the backyard (I’m not green enough to hang clothes out year round!), I’m reminded of Gratefulness.  It was a hard lesson.

The day my husband built that clothesline, I was at a wedding.  I wanted HIM to be at the wedding with me!  I was still an unsettled, insecure new bride, with a six month baby belly.  I didn’t want to go to this wedding alone!  My friends from Russia would be there, and I wanted to show off my husband.

Looking back, I probably should’ve just stayed home and worked alongside my man.

See, Saturdays are for working around here, in this family, and I was still trying to “change” my husband.  We were strangers in many ways when we married!  We constantly dealt with undiscussed issues, and I hadn’t yet learned to submit, pray, and appeal.  (Who am I kidding? I’m totally NOT “there” yet!)  I pouted, fought, pushed, and whined a lot.

When I came home that Saturday afternoon, I saw the gigantic clothesline in my backyard.  I’d asked for fifteen feet — a cute little clothesline that made me look like a successful super-homemaker!  His mom suggested the thirty foot clothesline, pointing out that it was more practical for multiple loads.  I was mad, mad, MAD!  Fuming.

So I told him so.  After he’d spent hours and hours and hours building it for me.  While I was away at a wedding.

It hurt him.  Like I’d planned.  Of course I needed to tell him what I wanted, and why it was better, and how he didn’t measure up.  Right?  Oh so wrong.

I remember many unhappy seasons in our early years of marriage, brought about by my ungratefulness.  I focused on the negative, the things we didn’t agree on, or the things he didn’t do the way I wanted!  Rarely did I gush with gratefulness over the way he worked all day and then came home and worked on our house.  Over the way he held my head when I was puking my guts out.  Over the way he tried all the food I cooked, and was grateful for it.  Over the way he helped with the mudding and taping of drywall even though he hated it.  Over the way he fixed all our cars to make sure I could get out.  Over the way he LET me get out whenever I wanted to escape!   I never gushed with gratefulness over the way he LOVED me.  Unconditionally.  Even when I was a brat.  Over and over again he took my hits, and loved me anyway.

My heart fills with shame, so much shame, when I think about the times he admitted, “Sometimes I think about walking out in the street and dying, so you can be happy.  I just want you to be happy!”

So that clothesline, I’m glad it’s big!  I wish it was bigger!  I wish it could wrap around my whole life.  Maybe then it would be easier to remember to honor my husband, and to be GRATEFUL!  Always, always, always there is the choice of Gratefulness.

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5 responses »

  1. This is so good, Ruth… and so true. Why is it so easy to be selfish instead of grateful to God for the incredible men He’s given to be our husbands? Thanks for the reminder — and the challenge — to love and serve my man!

  2. Ruth, as I read this, I find tears filling my eyes. This is beautiful! What a wonderful reminder to all wives to appreciate our husbands and to recognize the ways we can build them up or tear them down/destroy them with just a look or word. There are so many times that I wish that I could open the eyes of so many wives to the ability they have to restore their marriage and to turn it into that magical fairy tale that we all dream of as little girls. Some husbands are jerks, but I think that most Christian husbands are just waiting for a grateful wife to unlock their potential.

    Ruth, I know that you have found it to be true too that the more we appreciate and love our husbands, the bigger the blessings our marriage becomes! I love my husband way more than I did when we married! I can’t imagine life without him! We wives are so blessed to be married to men who love us so unconditionally and selflessly!

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