We woke up early this morning – 6:30 or 7 – only to discover that our dog had chewed up my husband’s glasses. We found the lenses in many pieces, the earpieces twisted and chewed and we never located the nosepiece. Ray loves this dog more than most humans he knows, so after the shock had worn off that she had trotted over at some point during the night or early morning and stolen his glasses away from his side of the bed, Ray was over his anger. “I can’t believe she did that,” he said. “I got up early and let her out and didn’t feed her, maybe that was the problem.”
For her part, Cordelia knew she was in trouble. She skulked around the house with her ears close to her head, which is what she does when she’s done something she knows is wrong. Luckily, Ray has some contacts he can wear instead of the glasses. Thank goodness, Cordie didn’t get my glasses since I only have one pair and my sight makes Helen Keller look like the bionic woman. So, there were a few good things from the “chewing.” Not many, but a few upsides.
I am struck with how different my husband handled this event versus in years past. Before, he would have gotten upset, yelled at the dog and me, too, just for good measure, and spent half the day half mad before he came to a place of acceptance. Today he looked slightly peeved, complained about the unexpected expense of replacement glasses, scolded Cordelia with the remnants of the glasses in his hand, then looked at me and said, “At least she didn’t get your glasses.” That was it. Nothing more. Wow.
When I was in Salt Lake City attending the University of Utah, my landlord was a bishop in the LDS church. He was a nice man, married over forty years, with a slew of children and grandchildren. I asked him one day when he was over repairing my kitchen sink what his thoughts were on marriage. He was silent for a moment then said, “Marriage wears down the sharp edges we all have. At its best, it makes us better people.”
Ray’s sharp edges are definitely softening. He would say mine are, too. One day he looked at me and said, “You are so much more relaxed than when we first married. I can say something to you today that just makes you laugh. If I had said that same thing when we were first together, you’d have been mad at me for a week.” And it’s true. I have let my hair down over the years.
I am happy we are going that direction in our marriage and in our personal growth. I have witnessed couples who have gone the other direction – more reactionary, more tense – and it is not a pretty sight. It’s hard to know how relationships will turn out. I’ve met perfectly nice people who just couldn’t make it together, and perfectly ill-suited people who have carved out a life that works for them. Go figure.
Alas, Ray will be getting new glasses and I’ll be guarding mine with even more care. And as we move on through these years, my hope is that even more of our sharp edges will soften. We both have quite a few left to whittle down. But we’re getting there. One day at a time. Or maybe better said, one pair of glasses at a time…