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Helpmate by Dr. Juan Harrison

Helpmate by Dr. Juan Harrison
  • PublishedSeptember 27, 2023


Sometimes when I start to talk to my wife about financial matters; she’ll give me that blank stare and say, “That’s your area.”  Technically, she’s right.  Any of us old guys who managed to stay married for a while found that dividing up the load so the marriage rolled on helped make it manageable.  She would jokingly tell me, “Your job is to make the money;  mine is to spend it. Remember, I’m a princess.”  Seriously, I wouldn’t ever want to tackle a myriad of duties she’s taken on.  I’m the one over the years who always had a second job or a side business.  My task was simple; just work.  Hers was complicated as she kept the home running while working or running a business or a private school.  We scratched and clawed like a lot of people are still doing today.  Holding on to this thing called marriage and surviving is tough.  Larry Finney and I were veterans and co-workers for a hundred years.  As we watched head guys come and go, we came to call ourselves survivors as peers around us crashed and burned or quietly slipped out the side door.

Life is not for the weak or the meek.  A good marriage can make you; a bad one can kill you.  I heard on the radio the other day, so it must be true, that 25% of all wives often think about leaving their husbands; 50% thought about it occasionally.  As I’ve said over the years, my wife and I haven’t talked divorce but murder has come up a few times.  It’s hard to get much sleep with one eye open.

I don’t think us old married folks give ourselves enough credit for hanging together and not getting hung for eliminating our partner in a fit of rage at some time.  They said the other day on the radio that not infidelity but failure to listen to our partners is one of the main reasons for divorce.  I find myself chiding my wife with, “You’re not listening to me.” It was probably true as she was ordering something online for a grandbaby’s birthday or maybe checking on a sick student to see how the family was doing.  We all seem so thinly stretched that we find ourselves distracted.  Heck, I heard about a guy who made a stop at a rest area and was part way down the road when he realized he had left his wife behind.  Now, that one might take the cake.  Love to hear that conversation.

Marriages that survive are no accident.  They’re the product of hard work, luck, willingness to forgive, and God’s grace.  Some marriages suffer fatal wounds like a shot to the heart.  Others slowly die as the cancers of loneliness and lack of communication slowly eat away until there’s nothing left but good bye.  If you still have or had a reasonably satisfying relationship for a good number of years, count yourself blessed.  If you were able to make number 2 or 3 finally be something close to what you wanted or hoped for, proud for you.  We’re all human and generally like to see and do things our way.  To survive in a healthy marriage, we have to compromise on that.  We’re only here for a short time, hopefully with the assistance of a helpmate.  I pray you’ve been blessed to find that helper you deserved.

By Dr. Juan Harrison




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