Once upon a time I had a fiery temper. And a mouth. And lacked patience.
When we were married almost 30 years ago I think my husband was secretly afraid of me. He was very careful. But, even so, he was not able to avoid irritating me often. And the wrath of Carole would be dispensed. (This is a major reason men hide out in the bathroom.)
Frankly, as I look back I don't see how he survived it.
Now, 30 years later, the mouth and the temper are dispensed extremely rarely, and when they are, I consider it almost the equivalent of Christ in the temple with the whip -- righteous indignation ... normally not directed at David.
And I have great patience, which can be had only by living a long time and passing various, sundry and numerous tests along the way.
There was another factor that contributed to my increasingly docile personhood. Loss of energy. The price I began to pay for 'setting him right' became considerably higher than the price he paid. That should not be, especially since he was the one who was wrong.
I have learned to anticipate everything he will do in a given situation (and ward it off).
I know that when he walks the dog two blocks he will be home three hours later, due to the number of people he will meet and find it necessary to converse with. Please never tell me that women are the talkers.
I know that when he says he needs to go to the hardware store to buy a bolt, he will come back four hours later with the wrong bolt, plus three more items of interest.
I know that when he sets aside a day to work on my list of things, he may finish one thing on my list, but will complete five 'chores' that he wanted done.
I know that if he is going to be doing a dirty task, he will not remove his best shirt and suit pants unless I catch him first. (I've never in my life seen one person with anywhere near his ability to completely cover himself with grime.)
I know that he has learned how to do many things over the years. I also know that for every one thing he fixes, he breaks two others. He is the epitome of the perfect bull in a china shop.
Now I did get a little irritated yesterday, though. Why? I know that he has an extremely soft heart and has brought home cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, snakes, hamsters and all manner of other livestock over the years and tried to convince me that 'we' should keep them.
So, why does it seem as though I am on the low end of this list when it comes to being babied and comforted? I had a coughing spell the other evening and was gasping for air so desperately that I ran out on the front porch to get my breath. He followed me out, and after asking if I wanted him to call 911 (no) he went inside and closed the door! That added irritation made the cough life threatening... well. After a few minutes I was able to go back inside. What was he doing? Watching TV. I almost started up again - just for effect. But I didn't have the energy.
I can't even indulge in self-pity any more. I get bored with it after 3-4 minutes. I do have one weapon, however: they say the pen is mightier than the sword. I write.
So, if I'm ever in critical condition - or die - and you want to notify him, you know where he'll be.
After all these years I can predict what the man will do in any situation. But, to understand it? To think like him? Not in this lifetime.
The first 30 years are definitely the hardest.