Caring for family harmony, overlooking insignificant details, caring for little things out of love, cultivating humanity, marital difficulties, marital love, united family

My wife noticed the mess of a canister filled with paddle tennis balls

with the lid off... and she closed it...

By Javier Vidal-Quadras

Last Sunday I went to play paddle tennis. I opened a jar of new balls and it started to rain. We finished the match, the result of which I don't care to remember, and I put everything back in its place. As the balls were wet, I didn't cover them. I left the lid of the canister open, waiting for them to dry. On Wednesday I went back to play and found the canister covered and inside were the wet balls.

This simple story has allowed me to consider many of the teachings on marital communication that I have been learning in various books, which I will try to transmit.

Different Reasoning in Marriage

Some authors have pointed out that women tend to think that, many times, men act carelessly in the domestic sphere and that they do things without thinking. Whereas, the authors warn, this thinking is almost never accurate. What happens in most cases is that their reasoning is different: their wives ignore them and when their husbands try to explain their reasons, they sound like excuses. Thank God, this is not my case.

Different Points of View of Women and Men

What’s more, the husband and the wife can have different hierarchies of value. For me, for example, an open jar of wet balls is in proper order with respect to the circumstance of wetness/humidity because in my hierarchy of values, dry balls are above the natural state of the canister, that is meant to be closed. As for my wife, the truth is, I really don’t know, because she didn’t know that the balls were wet. Here, comes the third lesson.

To Know the Expectations of Each and to Know how to Transmit Them

Spouses, especially husbands, do not usually communicate their expectations with respect to the behavior of the other. Knowing the high level of the development of the virtue of order in my wife, I should have expected the possibility of her closing the canister of balls. I could have informed her that I left the canister open for the reason that I have already mentioned.

As I have explained in the other post, it is important to know the proper expectations and communicate them to our spouse, be it the closing of the lid of a canister of paddle balls or the higher level aspirations of our life. Logic dictates that the nature of the canister lid is to close it. If I had the information that alters the normal course of circumstances, I should have communicated it… or face the consequences, as I did.

Harmony and Well-being in the Family: a Consequence of Respecting Others

Thank God, I am very much aware of the harmony and well-being that surrounds our family and the need to uphold it. The harmony that is, in good part, due to the continuous effort of my wife to teach us to respect the others and put a certain order in things, because living with nine people is not easy most of the time, especially when each one considers that they own the house.

With time, I have developed the healthy habit of attributing to my wife almost all of the good things that happen to me - which are many. This allows me to relate them as anecdotes or short stories that describe the small disagreements that beset every marriage. In this area, we have to be attentive; we cannot underestimate even the ordinary paddle balls, which, if one is careless, can grow and grow and cause a rupture.

And as we both love one another, I am sure she thought, “Poor Javier, with the thousand things that he has on his mind, he forgot to close the lid of the canister!” And she did it herself with delicacy by not reproaching me. In this way, we both avoid the typical automatic and subjective thought that deforms reality and threatens to undermine love, such as, “There is no use, it’s always the same, I have to order everything myself!” Or the comparable thought, “Nothing is respected in this house! Why on earth does anyone need to touch my canister of paddle balls?”

In the end, that Wednesday, despite the wet paddle balls, I had a great game. That is the thing about love: it always emerges from unexpected places and surprises you for the better.

See original article in Spanish