Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

If Marriage were an F150 . . .

Hi Friends!

Today is my 20th anniversary (yay!). So, in honor of my wonderful hubby, I thought I'd share a story from his POV about marriage, wives, trucks, ducks, and wise words for couples everywhere. So, here ya go!

If Marriage Were a F150

Bryan Schalesky as told to Marlo Schalesky

I gripped the steering wheel, clenched my teeth, then turned the ignition key in my Ford F150. Sput, sput, vroooom. I smiled as the engine purred like a contented tiger. Who needed those guys at the repair shop? With a little hard work, I could fix anything!

My confidence ebbed as I sauntered into the garage and heard half-stifled sobs coming from inside the house. I hurried in to find my wife sitting on the edge of the tub. A pregnancy test stick lay on the counter. Negative. Again.

I rubbed my hand over the back of my neck. “It’ll work next time.”

My wife didn’t even look at me.

“We just need to try something different.”

Marlo sniffed and glared up at me. “This isn’t like one of your broken down cars. You can’t just turn a wrench and make it work!”

I raked my fingers through my hair. Infertility ought to be like a Ford F150. Just find the right tools, turn the proper bolts, replace the correct parts, and everything would work again, just as it should. But none of my solutions seemed to be what Marlo wanted to hear. They never were.

My frustration followed me into the weekend when I went duck hunting with my friend, Pete.

The air hung wet and cold around us as we trudged to the duck blind, set out our decoys, and settled out of sight.

Soon, the fog bank glowed with the first morning light. But no ducks appeared. We blew our duck calls. Still, no ducks. The precious first moments of the day slipped by. Still, nothing.

Two long hours passed before Pete cleared his throat and broke the silence. “So, how ya doing with that infertility stuff?”

I grunted. “What made you think of that?”

Pete sighed and stared into the sky. “Seems like it’s a lot like duck hunting. Conditions seem right. You set out your decoys and blow your duck calls. But there’s nothing you can do to make the birds come in.”

My scowl deepened. “There’s got to be something I can do.”

“I suppose you’ve been trying to be Mr. Fix-It.” Pete shook his head, and silence descended. A half hour later, he spoke again. “You remember the story of Lazarus?”

“Which one?”

“Where Lazarus dies and his sister Mary cries at Jesus’ feet.”

“John 11?”

“Yep. And you know what Jesus did?”

“Raised Lazarus from the dead.” My chin jutted up. “He fixed it.”

“But what did he do first?”

“I dunno.”

“He wept. Shortest verse in the Bible. ‘Jesus wept.’”


“Taught me a lot about how to care for my wife, those two words.”

“I’m not the weeping type.”

“It’s not about crying, it’s about showing you care.”


“Think about it.” Pete smiled at me then tromped down to another part of the pond.

I settled into the reeds and studied the cloud patterns above me. Jesus wept . . . If it were me, I wouldn’t have taken time to weep. “Don’t cry! I’ll make it better!” I’d have said. Was that so wrong?

I wrapped one arm around my knee and turned my thoughts to duck hunting. Pete was right about one thing - on days like today, when I couldn’t bring the birds in, I didn’t run around trying to fix it. Instead, I waited. I hunched down in the reeds, watched, and listened. Maybe that’s all I needed to do with Marlo too. Maybe it wasn’t about the tears, but about caring enough to share the pain. To watch, wait, and listen.

That night when I returned home, I took my wife in my arms and held her close. I don’t remember exactly what I said to her, but it went something like this, “I’m sorry I can’t fix our infertility problem. But, one thing I do promise. I will be with you through it all. And, I love you more than anything.”

Tears came to her eyes. She leaned her head against my chest, and I could see her smile.

“That’s what I need most,” she murmured.

And somewhere in the distance, I thought I heard the faint call of a mallard duck.