Last Sunday morning, Ken and I made a spontaneous stop at a bagel shop. As we waited in line, we chatted cheerfully about our plans for the day–happy to be together. But when it was our turn… well, that’s when the happy-go-lucky turned to grumpy-go-yucky.
Ken told the guy behind the register that we wanted the baker’s dozen, and then I spoke up with confidence. “We’ll have two each of the blueberry and cranberry walnut…”
But Ken interrupted, saying to me, “Can we get some whole wheat?”
I said, “Yes… I was going to order the rest whole wheat after I chose a couple of flavors.” So I started again, “We’ll take two each of the blueberry and cranberry walnut…”
Then Ken cut in again. He said, “I think Cade would like the chocolate chip.”
Usually Ken hates to order. He doesn’t know what anybody wants–except for himself. The whole thing irritates him. So now that he was suddenly having ordering preferences, I was getting irritated. I folded my arms across my chest and motioned for Ken to order, and said, “Go ahead!”
But he said, “Nope. I’m not ordering.” He shook his head and took a step back.
So there we stood, like two ridiculous preschoolers dressed as grownups, standing in front of the register but refusing to order. So what mature, reasonable thing did I do? I turned on my heal and left the only grownup standing to order.
Oooooohhh, was Ken mad when he got in the car, carrying 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese.
He said, “You just left me there!”
I said, “Well, you were refusing to order!”
He said, “I wanted your help!”
I said, “Then you shouldn’t have cut in every time I tried to start ordering!”
Ken shook his head and said, “We’ve been married for 17 years, and we can’t even order bagels together.” This sank in for a moment, and then we both started laughing.
It’s true! After 17 years, we both still have very distinct ideas about how things should be done. We’ve blended our thoughts on most of the important things–how we see life, how we make big decisions, and what our major goals are. But often in the little things–like ordering bagels–it becomes obvious that we’re just as stubborn as on the day we both said, “I do.”
And we know from experience what two stubborn streaks can look like, smeared across a marriage. It’s not pretty. And according to James 3:17-18, it’s not wise.
I can turn any happy moment into a turn-on-your-heel and leave-your-husband-standing-there event. Or I can choose wisdom. I can plant for a future harvest. I can make peace.
Even when Ken interrupts about the chocolate chip bagels.