Sep
05

Grumpy

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September 5, 2012  [Your Letters]  My husband leaves work with enough time (about 40 minutes) to catch a train and a bus from the city and be home at 5pm on the dot. We decided to eat dinner together with our four-year-old at 5.30pm, so we need all hands on deck at 5pm – one of us cooks dinner, and the other one feeds our 1 year old her dinner and keeps the kids occupied and out of the cook’s hair. If my husband is late, then either dinner will be late (try explaining that to a hungry, grumpy four-year-old) or the baby won’t get fed on time – either way it creates problems and stress for me, as the stay-at-home mum. I also feel that I am entitled to some help at 5pm – I’ve had the kids all day and by the end of it I’m really ready for a break.

When my husband is late leaving work (due to work issues or just losing track of the time), he often won’t get around to calling me until 4.50 or 5pm – which means he won’t be home for another 40 minutes after that. I get very upset and angry, because from 4.20 I am assuming he is on his way home and I’ve asked him many times to call me THEN to say he can’t leave yet, not wait until I’m expecting him to walk through the door any moment. When he gets home late, I sure let him know how annoyed and disappointed I am, and how much he’s inconvenienced me and how tired I am… you get the picture!

Anyway I started thinking about how my poor husband feels – especially when his lateness home is due to not being able to leave work until a project is completed or similar (so not his fault), he then knows that waiting at home is an angry, grumpy wife. I wouldn’t want to come home to that! So the other day when he rang to say he’d be late, I bit back the angry words on the phone. I didn’t put any nice words in there, so the conversation was pretty short and terse, but at least I didn’t say anything nasty. Then I put the phone down, said a few cross words and then started praying for God to change my heart. He did! I was singing a happy song and getting dinner prep done early, determined to be happy when my husband walked in. Then he rang again to say the bus was delayed and he would be another 20 minutes later than expected. I got off the phone and threw the tea towel across the room. Then I looked up at God and demanded to know how I was meant to be happy NOW?

I kept praying, and by the grace of God I was able to be genuinely glad to see my husband when he walked into the house 20 minutes later. He barely looked me in the face and said “Hi” in a defeated, depressed voice, with his shoulders slumped, and I realised in that moment that he was expecting to have the weight of my disappointment and anger heaped on his head. It nearly broke my heart! He was really, really surprised to see me in a good mood – in fact he almost couldn’t believe it and kept waiting for me to turn around and snap at him. In the last week he has been late 3 or 4 of the 5 days (which is VERY unusual) and I’ve managed to be pretty good-natured about it all. My husband has really appreciated it.

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