Straighten It Out

Bob’s the kind of guy who you’d think has it all together. He prefers his clothing crisp, his hair clean-cut, his problems solvable, his life in order. This is a man people go to for answers. With 20 plus years of marriage under his belt—it would be fair to assume that Bob has mostly figured out home life by now.

Recently, Bob mentioned a glitch he and his wife were having in their marriage. It was a communication issue, a misunderstanding they’d had in the middle of everyday conversation. There’s no need here to go into the details because it basically boiled down to this: husband couldn’t relate to wife’s perspective, wife couldn’t relate to husband’s, and both were approaching things from completely different angles. Things escalated from there, he said.

Bob and I talked for a while about all this, both of us amazed and frustrated at the relationship wrinkles that keep popping up in a marriage. I thought about my relationship with my wife Jane, and how we have some recurring problem areas of our own. Little things, usually, where the wires get crossed between us. One of us gets too sensitive about something while the other isn’t sensitive enough. Or somebody’s under pressure at work and takes the stress home with them. Or we disagree about a parenting issue.

Although Jane and I haven’t mastered everything yet, we’ve gotten better individually and together, with time and patience. You don’t have to ever settle for status quo, but just understand and accept that relationships don’t come wrinkle-free, but they are worth straightening out every time.