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Whose Fault is It?

It was a hot summer day in Wisconsin, the gardens ripening fat,red tomatoes, the woods and river banks were grown over tall with fire weed, the poison ivy thriving where it was least expected. Bare legs wore scratches from hay making and bare arms their scratches from picking raspberries or blackberries. At night, the farmhouse lay sweltering, leftovers from the heat of the day. Even with all the windows wide open, the humidity in those upstairs bedrooms lay heavy on the skin. A thin sheet was barely bearable.

The barn was small, neat and tidy for a cow barn, the walkway freshly broomed and limed. The cows were big milking Holsteins. They lazily chewed their hay and flicked flies off their swayed backs with their tails.

 The farmer nervously shifted his hat and scratched his head as he gave instruction to my mom and us three girls how to take care of the feeding and milking while his family went away on a much needed family vacation. Before the farmer finished his explanations, a woman's voice, shrieking her husband's name, interrupted the session.

She came with a snarl and a glare. It was felt through the hot still air, the hostility to our being there, because she avoided acknowledging our presence and for the evil way she spewed venomous words at her husband in front of us, being complete strangers.

 I don't remember what she spewed, I only remember the treatment of her husband and his reaction. He visibly turned first pale, then a greenish tinge beneath his farmer tan. I was concerned he would pass out. He finally mustered up enough courage to bellow back a retort or two, but promptly looked ill, like he wanted to throw up.

What horrible circumstances led that married couple to such lengths of discontent and bitterness? Through the years, I've wondered what was 1st in that case? Kinda like the chicken and egg theory, I suppose, but was the husband horrible to his wife and she in turn became bitter and ugly? Or was she bitter and ugly by habit so that her husband could hardly stand to be with her?

For weeks after, I would lay in bed at night remembering their hatred of one another and try to figure out what could fix a relationship as bad as that. And how to avoid it in the first place. What went wrong and when or why?  It seemed imperative to find the answers because I, for one, did not want to end up that way.

I never figured it out completely, but I did find out eventually that any relationship can go sour that fast. I also found a few things that help heal something as bad as that, just as fast or faster.
# 1- Never play the blame game.
# 2- Learn to be OK with being wrong. It can't hurt anyone to learn humility by looking like the bad guy. God knows the truth of what is in our hearts. What another human think they see in you, isn't always accurate. Sometimes it can't be explained. Learn to let it go. Let God be the judge of both of you and practice grace in those times that you know you are right and he is wrong. After all, if he is wrong, you could be too, you are just as human as he.
# 3- Forgive. The one who can't forgive, is the one who will live with the fault. It will be ever before you, his fault and what he did wrong. If you learn to forgive early and first, you will not be concerned with whose fault it was.
# 4- Say, "I'm sorry" and "I love you." Kiss and make up.  Remember you were friends first.  Friends love. Think about all the things real love is.  Let 1 Corinthians 13 be your guide.
# 5- Dwell on the goodness you have together. Where you dwell, links all of the above together or apart.
 Practicing these points for 18 and a half years.  They work...


  1. OK. Not to say we have it all figured out or that everything is all sweetness at our house either. We are real here and have our spats and I sometimes cringe with what others possibly take away from our home. BUT. We do work at those points I mentioned and I believe they pay off. :)

  2. Yep yep. My husband is so good with all those things! He's a good man. I'm still learning.


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