It’s the end of the week and time for a “marriage situation” post. We’ll post the situation today and its biblical solution tomorrow. As always my comments will be normal shading and Paul’s will be bolded. This week we write about a somewhat normal occurrence within any close relationship. Marriage usually is not made up of big sacrificial moments of love, but of ordinary moments in which we love…well, ordinarily (see Marriage Matters). What happens when, despite your best intentions, you have a love fail? So without further ado…
The Love Fail
“I love you babe.”
“I love you too.”
“Yes, but I love you so much that I promise never to do laundry again. . .”
Here’s this week’s situation. It was one of those Saturdays where Liz works all day at the hospital and I work all day watching the boys. When nap time finally came around I was tempted to surf the internet, but decided to find some way to show love for Liz. . .something she would really notice. So I turned my attention to the laundry, knowing that Liz planned to concern herself with it when she got home. Well, past experience has shown me that the dryer is a no-win appliance–something always shrinks, fuzzes, pills, or disappears. So I decided just to do a bunch of wash and let Liz worry about the drying. So I threw a bunch of dish towels (an accident I swear), normal towels, jeans, dress shirts, a dress or two and whatever else I found lying around in the laundry room baskets that were more or less the same color into the washer. As it turns out, “this too is vanity and vexation of spirit.” There are things that shouldn’t be washed at all and things that shouldn’t be washed together, and all this is a mystery to me to this day. So on the day in question, I had no concept of this truth and when Liz came home, I surreptitiously pointed out my feat of sacrificial love. Unfortunately, once she opened the washer I heard encouraging things mumbled like “grease stains,” “delicate cycle,” and “probably ruined.”
From my perspective, I was initially thrilled to hear that Paul had done a load of laundry. I mean, how sweet, right? How thoughtful. In that moment I was so thankful for the husband that God had given me. And that sentiment lasted the whole way up the stairs and into the laundry room. But as I opened the washer and saw in the same glance both the dish towel I had used to clean up a recent grease spill and the cotton dress I had worn the previous Sunday, the feeling quickly evaporated and in its place was left a dull sense of misfortune and frustration.
So how should I respond to Paul’s “love fail”? And how should I deal with Liz’s disappointment? Read our answer here, in “The Love Fail II.“