My cousin Diane is such a sweet lady. She sent me a small package over the Thanksgiving holiday and I’ll bet she never dreamed when she did so that she would set off a small controversy in my household. But, then again, the controversy is of long standing and she only helped introduce the latest chapter.
She sent me a paperback romance novel, some old clippings and a large bar of chocolate. And she addressed the package to “Roy and Jackie.” Now, this is where she made her mistake. I was delighted to get the clippings and the novel and as I sat down to read it, I casually unwrapped the chocolate bar and had a few squares. It was very good.
Roy wandered in at this point and he was aghast. “You are eating my chocolate bar,” he exclaimed in great chagrin.
“Who says it’s your chocolate?” I was sure of my ground, and besides, I had already eaten some of the chocolate…I couldn’t admit to being wrong now.
“She sent it to me. You got the book and I got the chocolate,” he pointed out with an aggrieved air as he attempted to salvage what he could of the candy.
“Well, you have to learn to share,” I said piously. He just shook his head. This is an old argument. Do husbands and wives have to automatically share their possessions…chocolate, time, money? But Roy has never quite gotten used to the idea that I will be sharing everything he has…including chocolate! He seems to feel I share his things, but not mine. This is ridiculous–anytime he wants to borrow my bras or knitting needles, he is welcome to them. Chocolate…not so much!
This sharing things is a long-standing tradition. The strength of a marriage can be tested on whether or not you can trust each other with your things. Roy walked by the display of his hunting trophies last week and after taking a second look, said in a panic, “Where are my prize deer horns?”
“You mean those horns you removed from a dead deer and hung on the wall,” I am an expert at stalling.
“Yes, those. Where are they? You didn’t throw them away?”
“Of course not. I borrowed them and took them to school to use as a prop for our play,” I thought it was a reasonable explanation.
“You took them without asking?”
“It’s in the marriage vows dear,” I replied. “You promised to endow me with all your worldly goods. That includes deer horns hanging in my house.”
Apparently, as in the case of my chocolate, he doesn’t feel that his deer horns fall under the category of “things you share with your spouse.” It’s a very uneven road we travel on this point in our union. While I have generously offered him anything he wants to use in my craft room (as long as it’s not edible), he has all but forbidden me the use of his tools and anything else found in the garage.
I am not a gardener, but not having the opportunity to use the garden hoses is sometimes difficult. Once, early in our marriage, I took out one of his garden hoses to wash down some rugs and left it in the grass. He then, inadvertently ran over it with the lawn mower, leaving several puncture marks. Since then, I would have to have a presidential mandate to use any of his little darlings for my work. It’s true, I won’t share chocolate, but he is very selfish with his garden tools!
I could give innumerable examples of our struggles with sharing, but you get the picture. It’s a simple case of what’s Roy’s is mine and what’s mine is mine. I have no trouble with this philosophy, but Roy really seems put out about it. Especially when it involves chocolate, which is a trigger for both of us.
So when my cousin sent me the paperback romance novel and chocolate, Roy thought the chocolate was for him. It was not…but he’s welcome to read the romance novel if he is so inclined. I think that’s generous and sharing, don’t you?