Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Trucks, Toys, & Grown-Up Boys

Hi Friends,

So Bryan and I are taking the new DYNAMIC MARRIAGE course at our church. Had the first meeting Monday, and started in with the reading and homework for the last couple days. Looks like it'll be a great experience (and a great time to focus on each other while the kids are with Grandma & Grandpa - YAY!). So far, we've been talking about our different needs and what we value most in each other, and I was reminded of something that happened awhile back that gave me some useful insight into my hubby.

So, I thought I'd share the story here in case any of you can relate - here's something about trucks, toys, and grown-up boys ... and making men happier in marriage:

Well, it finally happened. My husband, Bryan, got a brand new hitch for his Ford Explorer. Not just any old hitch, mind you - not one of those pesky little balls on the bumper. Oh no. This was a man-sized hitch.

I knew I was in trouble when Bryan came home with a smile as big as a slice of watermelon. “So, what do you think?” He grinned and motioned to the back of the truck.

I glanced at the metal bar and attempted to appear impressed. “Uh, it’s nice.” I squatted down to look closer, thinking I must be missing something. Nope, it still looked like nothing more than a steel bar with a hole in it. Somehow, I had expected more for the three hundred and some odd dollars he’d paid for it.

“Nice?! Is that all you can say?” Bryan raised his eyebrows. “That’s a Type 3 hitch. Why, we could pull a huge boat,” he motioned with one hand into the air, “or a camper, or a big trailer, or, or, well, just about anything!”


Bryan glanced at me and sighed, obviously disheartened by my lack of enthusiasm.

Of course, I would have been more impressed if we actually had one of those things he mentioned. But we didn’t. No boat, no camper, no trailer, not even one of those little bike racks. Nothing. But, this fact didn’t seem to squelch Bryan’s joy. And I knew better than to point it out.

“Gee, it’s . . .” I searched for a word. “Lovely.”

The watermelon-look turned more like a prune.

I swallowed. Hard. Apparently, “lovely” is not a word you should use in conjunction with a man’s truck. I took a deep breath and tried again. “It looks very strong.”

Bryan’s face lit up again. “It can pull 5,000 pounds.”

Was that a lot? I didn’t know. I decided to take the leap. “Wow, isn’t that great. That’s a pretty powerful piece of equipment. I’m impressed.” I then proceeded to make the appropriate “oooo” and “ahhh” sounds.

Bryan’s grin returned, full force. Then, he knelt down to show me just how incredible that hitch really was, and how much we could now do with it. As he explained a variety of very important features that meant nothing at all to me, I realized something. He was happy. And I was happy. And that made our marriage just a little bit better.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. I discovered that being interested in the things that interest my husband shows him that I value him. I was reminded of Paul’s instruction in Philippians 2:4 (NIV): “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I had always thought that verse applied to the big, important things in life – like decisions about job opportunities, where the family would live, or where we would attend church. But as I stared at that hitch, I began to understand that God meant the verse for the less life-changing things too – even the small stuff that makes Bryan’s eyes light up and causes that little boy smile to dance over his face. Those things are important too. In other words, I’ve learned the value of being impressed with his toys. And using the right words - like strong, powerful, big, wow - doesn’t hurt either. Somehow, my being interested in steel bar with a hole in it, could communicate to Bryan I that care about him, that I really do love him.

Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t long before we found plenty of fun things to pull behind our Explorer.