Dealing with Pet Peeves in Your Marriage
By DenaRae Carlock
One fall, not long ago, my husband Doug and I had what was most likely the dreaded H1N1 virus at the same time. The coughing and hacking got bad for both of us. I had been given special-narcotic-cough syrup to help me sleep as well as to quit coughing. The doctor told me to share my prescription with Doug if he needed me to. This did not make me happy. Doug is notorious for not properly dosing medicine.
Now if it was over-the-counter-cough syrup, I would have let him swig to his heart's content. Because of the narcotic in the special-cough syrup, I would have to call the doctor's office to get a refill. These are no ordinary phone calls, and I hate them. I am convinced the on-call nurse is using the same interrogation manuals used by the KGB during the Cold War. To make matters worse, my reward for enduring the interrogation, as well as the five-year-fifty-state background check, would be to stand in line with all the other sneezing-sniffling-rasping people at the drugstore (something I had already done several days before).
This is why I desperately begged Doug to precisely dose the cough syrup by using the little-plastic cup that came with the prescription. I made it clear to him that swigging cough syrup from the bottle, like all guys do with the milk jug when they think no one is looking, would not be tolerated. I was too sick to monitor him, but I knew deep in my bones every time he went to take cough syrup he was swigging it from the bottle. If you can imagine the character Tim-the-Tool-Man-Taylor from Home Improvement dosing medicine, you would have a pretty good picture of my Doug.
Due to our bout with the illness and the bantering over the prescription of special-cough syrup, there is a scenario that plays in my head. My husband and I are in a TV courtroom much like People's Court. We are before a judge who tells us to state the reason we are there. "Because my husband failed to respect the sanctity of the cough syrup" is my reply.
I am quite sure there is no judge in the Union who would grant a judgment on those grounds. However, during our bout of sickness, I realized there are times in marriage when couples can hyper-focus on inane issues to the point of a no-holds-barred showdown.
For some women, the violation of the toilet seat being left up and not realizing it until they sit down on the cold porcelain in the middle of the night is the breaking point. For some men, it's the endless line of unmentionables drying on the shower-curtain rod. Others go ballistic when the cap from the toothpaste gets shoved on over the glob of toothpaste on the end of the tube, which in turns leaves mutating blobs of paste smeared all over the bathroom sink and counter. For me, all of the aforementioned irritations are just that' they are irritations. These aren't the hills I choose to die on; they just come with the territory of being married. However, the non-dosing of special-prescription-cough-medicine which has no refills, irritates me beyond words. It is my pet peeve that produces the no-holds-barred showdown.
In reality, I could have easily called the doctor's office and they would have refilled my special-cough syrup or given Doug his own bottle to swill at will. But to me it was a matter of principle. I felt like his not dosing the cough syrup was a lack of respect for me. I was the one who went to the doctor shivering underneath my hooded sweatshirt in the 90° heat. I was the one who sat in the waiting room breathing in mysterious, mutating, invisible germs. It was because I was diagnosed with probable H1N1, as well as a secondary-bacterial infection, that we both got antibiotics. I did all the work and got the prescription for the special-cough syrup. He needed to call and get his own prescription! I didn't feel like calling. I was sick, exhausted, in pain, and I didn't feel like moving! In my mind, I'd done my part.
For whatever reason, there comes a point in a lot of marriages when couples get weary and let go. To have and to hold, as well as to love and to cherish, turns into I have done my part. If left unchecked, this mindset can eventually become I am done.
A couple of verses that come to mind to help with weariness:
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." (Galatians 6:9, NLT)
I have seen the truth of this verse played out over the course of my marriage.
The key to not becoming weary in the first place is in Isaiah:
"But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)
The best thing for our marriages is to be hoping in and waiting for the Lord and the strength only His Spirit brings to our lives. Our marriages have a better chance of surviving if we aren't weary.
As for the cough syrup? Perhaps Doug did use the dosing cup after all. It still has several doses left in the bottle. But where I've hidden it, I will never tell!
© 2010, DenaRae Carlock. Used by permission. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the consent of the publisher.
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