By Corinne Smelker
"Slow down! Slow down!"
"Why? I’m doing the speed limit." I said
"There’s a Yield sign up ahead, at the freeway exit."
"So? It’s their yield, not mine." I kept my speed at a steady 65 miles per hour as we headed for the exit
"But not everyone obeys the yield, they blow right through it, you could get into an accident," he said forcefully.
"Well, then that’s their problem isn’t it? They would be at fault." I calmly replied.
He was almost screaming now, "You’d choose to get into an accident, perhaps even risk death, just to prove you were right?"
I slowed as we took the slope down the off-ramp onto the access road, "And you’ll let everyone run roughshod over you! I don’t understand that – you have right of way, take it!"
"Yeah, I might back down, but at least I’d still be alive!" he said smugly as I maneuvered my way into the correct lane.
God bless him, I love my husband – Ben is the best; but when it comes to driving, he’s an old lady! It’s always been like that. The speed limit is 70, he’ll go 65. When I make a comment, he’ll say, "The upper limit is 70, I don’t have to go 70."
I, on other hand, set the cruise control for 75, and if I can get away with it to 78, and hope he doesn’t notice. There’s not enough time in the day to dawdle as far as I’m concerned. He doesn’t even get upset if we’re running a little late – I put pedal to the metal to make up every lost second I can, but not Ben. Oh no, Ben will refuse to go any faster and then doesn’t even care if he gets stuck behind a chicken truck creeping along at 45!
There are just as many differences off road as on. Ben deliberates each and every decision, no matter how miniscule or large – not me! I can make a decision in the time it takes to turn the light off. Of course, I may have to reverse that choice later on, but at least I made it in the first place!
And talk about a neat freak! I am a tidy person, but compared to Ben I’m like a hobo. When we first married and I left a pair of jeans next to the bed while I went to make some coffee you’d have thought I’d committed a hanging offense. I expected the police to pound on the door and lead me unceremoniously away in cuffs. I was not afforded a fair trial though, because Ben was prosecutor, judge and jury.
He’s so logical too — he’s my "Mr. Spock" without the pointy ears. It’s so hard to argue logic with passion, because passion is not always logical. Ben seems to think that if he shows me the error of my ways, or a better way to do something, I will automatically fall in with it – because after all it is the ‘logical thing to do’.
And yet, why I am so hard-headed? He’s right – I don’t care that I might place the vehicle and even my life (and the lives of passengers) in jeopardy just to prove that I’m right. To me being right is more important than even my life, and how stupid is that? But if I’m right, I can’t back down – that displays weakness and that’s one thing no one can accuse Ruth Matthews of being! Heck, as a child I got more stitches than all the neighborhood kids combined because I couldn’t back down from a bet! I even got Martin to the ground begging for mercy when we were both seven because he said girls were silly and weak. Well, I showed him!
But Lord, I sometimes wonder if you knew what you were doing when Ben and I met? Oh, the attraction was there – and he’s outgoing, funny and oh-so smart. I had always dated quiet guys thinking I needed someone to temper my normal extrovert tendencies – but then I would get bored – they never wanted to do anything.
Ben was the first man I felt could match me stride for stride, and I know the feeling was mutual, from the initial visit where the verbal sparring began, but honestly God, he can be so infuriating at times! Life is an adventure, to be lived on the edge – we’re all going to die anyway, and I know my life is in your hands so why worry? Ben maintains we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our family not to be reckless. I see his point, but does that mean I should just roll over and let people run roughshod over me?
It’s our wedding anniversary – five years today. Sometimes I am amazed we have made it this far. I’m pretty sure money passed hands at the office when we made it to out first anniversary, and I know there were plenty of people at church who thought we wouldn’t make it either! But what they don’t realize is I do not fail at anything I put my mind to. In his own way, Ben is the same. I could not walk into church admitting defeat – and perhaps that very determination is what held it all together in that first year of marriage.
What a year that was! Talk about intense – but I believe we have both changed a lot since then. I understand now that Ben’s admonition to be careful is not because he thinks I am incapable of making good choices, but because that’s how he expresses his love for me. Ben has changed too — I made him venture out a little and actually got him rock climbing, and showed him he’s not about to break his neck!
Tonight we’re meeting at our favorite restaurant – the one where he proposed, the one where we had our first breakfast together as man and wife, and where we always go for special occasions. I can guarantee he will have secured the same table, have a rose bouquet waiting and will have ensured my preferred starter of choice is already waiting. I know there will be a romantic card sitting on my chair – one of those mushy ones. This year I bought him a humorous card, although last year I did buy him a poetry-filled, romantic, ‘icky’ one – got to keep him on his toes!
He teases that life with me is never boring – I am always thinking up some new adventure, or scheme for us to enjoy together. He’s right, he can accuse me of many things, but boredom isn’t one of them! I see how Ben is my rock; he keeps me grounded and stable. I sometimes grind my teeth in frustration, but I am married to my perfect counterpart – we complete each other.
I had better get ready, don’t want to be late for our dinner. And I have some news that will shake up Ben’s little world. Might be time to trade in the sports car for something a little more family-oriented!
Corinne Smelker is the mom to five kids and wife of one husband. She is a self-employed writer and also the administrator for Prophetic Life Ministry, a Christian Ministry located in San Antonio. Cori also writes and posts daily devotionals to that site. You can contact Cori via the Letters page of this Magazine.
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