By Eric Myers
Those who know me best know I love movies. I love them for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is what you can learn from movies. Not only can you learn historical or factual information, but you can also learn relational information. Such was the case one night when I watched the movie, The Breakup.
Now, The Breakup is a terrible movie. If you've not seen it, don't waste your time. I am going to share with you the only really significant moment in the whole thing. The movie stars Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn as two unhappy people trying to make their relationship work. But, because of selfishness, bad decisions, and disfunction (among other things) they can't stay happy. It really is a bad movie. However, most things have at least one redeeming quality and this movie has one moment that is truly informative for men in helping us understand a hugely important element of our wives and of family life.
It's a Friday night and both work and both are tired when they arrive home. The last thing they want to do is prepare food and their apartment for a dinner party, but a dinner party is the plan, guests are arriving soon, and so she sets about the preparations without his help as he sits uninterested on the couch drinking a beer and watching TV. She chops, tosses, bakes, dusts….all as he sits. She asks for his help but is ignored. Her frustration builds. She says nothing. With each unmissable trip into the room to tidy up (at one point moving his foot to place flowers) the tension builds.
The guests arrive and he springs into entertainer mode and is the life of the party. She drinks her wine with anger and disgust in her eyes. When the party ends and the guests leave, a monumental cleanup job is required. She begins the process and he retreats back to the couch and TV. She's exits the kitchen and confronts him.
"What are you doing?" she asks.
"I'm relaxing," he replies, "I've worked all week and I'm tired."
"Well, I'm tired too and I've worked all week too, and cooked the food, and cleaned the apartment. But, we've got a mess to clean up in the kitchen."
"So what do you want?" he says as his voice rises in a defensive tone, "Do you want me to help you clean the dishes?"
"No, I don't want you to help me clean the dishes. I can clean the dishes by myself," she says, defiantly, matching his tone. Then she pauses and her tone changes, it softens slightly, and she drops the key for we men, "What I want is for you to want to help me do the dishes."
"Why would I want to do the dishes?" he says and, incredibly, he sits back down to his TV.
Men, that nugget was worth the whole movie. Did you catch it?
What your wife wants more than anything is for you to want to be with her. She wants you to choose her…first and operate with her in mind. If she is behind your job or your hobbies or your friends, you are damaging your relationship and preventing it from being what it could be.
So what are the "dishes" of the moment? Maybe it is dishes (literally), or maybe it's cleaning the house, or planting flowers, or getting up with the baby, or cooking a meal, or maybe it's going to her family's for the holidays.
Whatever it may be, we men need to listen better and choose to do more of these things because by doing them you are doing so much more that the activity itself, you are recognizing her and honoring her and loving her, and THAT is our calling as husbands.