“Gone Wife-Schooling!”

You would think that after 30 plus years of marriage, I would have learned the lesson: listen to your wife!

I have an admission to make: I stink at that. I was sharing about my “13 Irreducible Minimums of Decency” with my staff the other day and when I shared #10, “Your wife is always smarter than you think,” another male and married staff member said, “My wife is always smarter than what I think I know.” All the female laughed out loud and approved.

My wife’s Birthday is on Valentine’s Day. I am so happy that she makes life so easy for me. She doesn’t care about getting a gift, but I dare not forget to give her a card. Not just any card. I have to pick the right one, with the appropriate lead words, meaning something that applies to how I really feel about her and the reality of our relationship. And I have to write an original text, sometimes a poem, but always talking about my love for her in ways that only she can relate.

This year I splurged. I got her one card for Valentine’s and another for her Birthday. I got her flowers (not expensive ones, mind you) and a bracelet (again, nothing fancy, but tasty). And why did I feel like I had to do all of this? Well, I am trying to let my wife know that I am finally listening.

Yes, a series of mishaps have been happening over a period of time. The most recent one was during my trip to Asia. There were many things I didn’t do and others I shouldn’t have done — like taking my nice leather jacket with me. She said, “Don’t take it.” But I wanted to have it available to me as soon as I got to Cleveland. Well, surprise, surprise, the jacket got stolen from my one checked bag before it even made to Cleveland.

I waited a few days, until after she returned from her little time away in California (thanks to vouchers from Delta Airlines!), and finally had enough courage to tell her. I heard a much deserved lecture and admitted to my chagrin that taking the jacket was indeed a stupid idea.

But the jacket thing is a penny in a pile of big “silver dollars” and “gold coins.” Starting this coming Sunday, February 19, my wife and I will be spending one week in a lodge on the Blue Ridge Mountains of East Tennessee, away from it all, except nature and each other. Okay, we will have a third party who is coming at our invitation, a life coach/counselor, who will meet with us to help us gain some perspectives about our lives, dealing with the daily stress of family life, ministry, balancing the demands of work and family, etc.

In a way I feel like I am going to boot camp. Like a stroke patient who has to learn to use damaged functions again, I feel like that is what I must do now. Learning to listen to my wife. Learning to put her before others in my life. Learning to understand how important her feelings are and making sure that she is an integral part of everything I do.

I know that list of goals looks a little ambitious, but I am more committed to pursuing them than ever. As an anxious Kindergartener on the first day of school, I can’t wait to get on the bus.

So if you don’t hear anything from me until after February 27th, you will know why. I will be “wife-schooling.”

Ivanildo C. Trindade