About six months into marriage, on a cold January day, we locked ourselves out of our second story apartment. My husband decided to use a big tank next to the house–a two story, which had been divided into apartments–to hoist himself up to a balcony on the second story. He thought maybe he could get in through the window up there.
No luck. The window was locked, and now my husband was on a balcony with no stairs down. He made plans to jump into a nearby snow pile, but asked me to stick my foot in it to make sure it wasn’t just a blanket of snow over something that would break his legs rather than break his fall.
Up until this point, I had been wrapping myself in my coat with my back to the wind, passive about how to proceed. But now, he was asking me to participate. We had just come from church (it was within walking distance) and I was wearing a dress with heals. I looked reluctantly at the snow pile and then to my nylon clad foot. Who knew how long we were going to be out in the cold, and sticking my foot in the snow was sure to make me colder.
I told him I was quite sure the heap was composed of driveway snow. I mean, it was a plow-shaped heap, right next to the driveway. Plus, who would set up metal spikes below the balcony of our rental house? So I just stood there, next to the pile, with my foot (relatively) dry, looking up at my husband.
This made him very angry. He said I didn’t care about his well being. He said I was acting like a prissy little girl.
Well, this made me angry. Did he care nothing for my freezing little feet? I thought he was acting like one of those boys in gym class who make fun of you because you can’t do as many chin ups as they can.
Eventually, I compromised and found a stick to poke into the snow pile.
He jumped, and landed safely in the pile of (only) snow. And finally (I can’t even remember how), we made it back inside the apartment. But even though it was warm inside, our afternoon was spent in chilly silence–each of us recoiling to separate corners.
Now, sixteen years later, I know a little more about being a wife. I have learned that my husband really does want to be the rescuer. He wants to provide safe shelter–or entry into the safe shelter! But he also wants to know that he’s not on his own on the second story balcony. He wants to know that I am committed, and willing to get my feet wet to support him.
Wives want to feel secure and loved. Husbands want to feel respected and supported. And the two are interactive!
Last night I sat by the fire and asked my husband about his goals and dreams for the new year. He told me about a new opportunity he had at work, and I told him the ways I think he’s exceptional. I gave input on some decisions he’s making, and even gave my opinion on the graphics in a presentation he pulled out to show me.
This is my (much more comfortable) way of sticking my foot in the snow. I don’t ever want my husband to jump into anything (pun intended) without me being on the ground below, fully invested in his success.