Rite of Passage: The weaker sex
I don’t know why they call women the weaker sex. My wife can run a business, cook a four-course dinner, wash a load of laundry, change diapers and send a thank you note all at the same time. She refers to this process as multi-tasking.
I’m the kind of guy who, on my way to take the trash out to the curb, sees a limb that has fallen in the front yard. I stop what I’m doing and carry the limb to the woodpile in our backyard. While in the backyard, I notice that the weeds in the garden need to be pulled. As long as I’m dirty, I may as well mow the yard. After three hours of hard labor I go back into the house, dripping with sweat. The only thing my wife wants to know is why the garbage bag is sitting in the middle of the driveway. I look out the window, scratch my head, shrug my shoulders and tell her, “I don’t have a clue.”
In 35 years of marriage, I have never figured out how to explain to my wife that in my sidetracked wandering, I accomplished several other tasks that made her life easier. There are many things I don’t do well. Multi-tasking is only one of them. For example, how could I have known that the best way to encourage a woman in labor is not by saying, “Giving birth can’t hurt that bad?”
It’s not my fault. Someone should teach a class for junior high boys that gives them the keys of life. One session would cover “How to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ to Your Wife.” Another would explain the truth that “When Your Wife Says ‘Yes,’ She Really Means ‘No.’” And a how about throwing in a class on how to respond to no-win questions like, “Does this outfit make me look fat?”
When he hears this question, a man thinks logically. “You have a scale. Why don’t you step on it and see if it the weight goes up? Then you will have your answer.” But any husband married longer than five minutes knows what happens if he turns these thoughts into words. It has nothing to do with a scale and everything to do with sleeping on the couch.
And then there’s the “What are you thinking?” question. This isn’t so bad, but why must our wives ask it when we’re watching the Super Bowl, the score is tied with only five seconds left and our team has made it to the one-yard line? Why can’t it come up while we’re taking out the trash?
And then there’s a question that causes every married man to melt down. Your wife meets you at the front door, turns in a circle and asks, “Do you notice anything different?”
Never does a man’s mind work so fast as it does upon hearing a question like this. It races back to the beginning of time and moves forward at lightning speed, visualizing every scenario and event in which he has participated. When it stretches back to the present, we experience the dreaded condition known as Male Brain Freeze.
This syndrome is easy to recognize. Its victims stand with their mouths open. All that comes out is, “Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh, ummmmm, aahhh, geez.”
At this point, you understand that—unless Jesus appears in the clouds—you are dead meat. As you catch your wife’s eye, you both know the truth. She realizes you don’t have a clue what she has done to make herself look more beautiful. As the weaker sex, you blurt out something stupid: “You diiid sooomething to yourrr hair?”
As the words leave your mouth, you simultaneously calculate the cost of a dozen roses and a trip to Cancun. You know from experience: Male Brain Freeze always costs.
Your wife walks away in disgust, and you see it: she has on a new pair of shoes. You can give the right answer now, but she doesn’t care. In marriage, second answers don’t count. I didn’t know that truth when I got married. And the longer I stay married, the more I realize . . . how much I don’t know.
I guess that’s why the Scriptures give this advice to men: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
You don’t have to be smart to love your wife. I would have been in trouble if God had asked us men to “Make sure you know all the answers to your wife’s questions.” God knew that if I learned to love my wife and give myself for her, it would overcome all the times my brain has been . . . frozen.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.