“Oh! Flowers! How long has that been there?” It had just registered with my absent-minded husband that a pot of blooming daffodils was sitting on our normally empty stair landing. It had been there for several days, but I was still impressed. Usually he doesn’t notice such things at all.
Let’s just say that Pete isn’t the most observant guy around. This used to bother me greatly. I would buy a new outfit (a very rare occurrence, since I really hate to shop). When exaggerated mannerisms didn’t work, I resorted to more desperate ploys. “Sweetie—notice anything different?”
He would invariably answer, “Nice haircut.”
It got to be a joke. Rearrange the living room. “Nice haircut.” Paint the white hallway a lovely shade of peach. “Nice haircut.” Replace the photographs in the frames over our couch. “Nice haircut.”
In fact, the only change I could make that wouldn’t elicit “nice haircut” was to actually cut my hair.
I want to make it very clear that my very loving husband wasn’t trying to ignore me. He wasn’t being malicious. He honestly just doesn’t see these things. And now that I am older, and hopefully wiser, I see that what I thought was a failing is actually a blessing. In fact, I’m grateful that my husband isn’t all that observant.
“Did you see how nice [your coworker] looked today? She was positively sparkling!”
“No sweetie, I just looked at you.”
“Oh no, I’ve gained three pounds!”
“You did? I can’t tell.”
“Oh, Pete. I’m so sorry! I tracked mud all over carpet you just vacuumed!”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
“Aaagh. I’m all wrinkly. I’m starting to look like my mother!”
“I think you look beautiful, just like you did when I married you 30 years ago.”
What wife is going to complain about a man like that? So what if he doesn’t notice the improvements I make around the house, or the new additions to my wardrobe. It’s not that big of a deal. He also doesn’t notice other women, a lapse in my share of the housework, or the fact that I’m getting older. That’s more than a fair trade, in my mind.
Of course, no one is perfect. We all have faults and areas of weakness. My lesson was that I wasn’t “seeing” any better than my sweetie. Sure, I’m actually very observant. I’m a photographer, and I have to notice things. What I didn’t understand was that the very character trait I was complaining about actually worked in my favor.
How many other qualities, mannerisms, or habits do we as spouses (or friends, or parents, or children) gripe about, that actually benefit us? Is there a new way to look at something you’ve always considered a flaw in a person you love?
Do we think God has character flaws? If you’re honest with yourself, is there something you would like to change about God?