Monday, December 11, 2006



You can't live with 'em.

And you can't live without 'em.

I guess.

Never tried it.

:) * (See note at end.)

Saturday morning, we wake up to a cold snap, same as Friday morning. We like to sleep in a cold house, summer or winter, and in the winter, we crank up the heat in the morning.

So I go about my ritual, turning on the heat then making a pot of coffee, all the while knowing the house will soon be toasty warm, and I relish the thought as I envision us sitting at the kitchen table together drinking coffee, eating toast, and reading the paper then the Bible, something we do every day together.

I wait fifteen minutes for the house to warm up but it's still cold. The central unit is running, but it's blowing cool air, not warm.

"Milton, there's something wrong with the heat," I say.

"No, there's not," he says with an edge to his voice (my opinion). "It's a real cold morning, and it takes awhile for the thermostat to reach the temperature you've set it on."

"It was a cold morning yesterday, and the house got warm within minutes."

We go back and forth a few times.

He gives me his "Ya - don't – understand – thermostats – you'll – never – understand – thermostats" spiel, stuff about heat strips in Florida working certain ways and not working other ways, yada, yada, yada.

I know something's definitely wrong with the heat. "I'm going to call the AC man on Monday and have him check it out," I say.

This prompts him to go to the garage, and I hear some switches clicking, and viola, it isn't long before we have nice warm heat for our "freezing" cold Florida morning – it's down to 45! :)

Thirty minutes pass, both of us busy doing things. "Were you in the garage earlier?" I ask.

He nods.

"Breakers needed flipping?"

He mumbles in the affirmative.

I don't say anything, but inside I'm saying, I knew it!


An hour later, we go out to the lanai to put up our vinyl windows in the screened openings. We take them down at the beginning of every spring and put them up at the first cold snap. They make our lanai a year-round room.

Having only lived in this house two years, we haven't done this yet; I'd hired a friend, a handyman, to do it before, though I'm the one who took them down last spring (interpretation: a slight bit of knowledge about vinyl windows, though I admit my memory of their placement is fuzzy).

Milton and I start working.

He says they go in this way.

I say they go in that way. "I was here when James put them up last year," I say smugly. "And"--I pause for effect "--I took them down."

He ignores me and snaps one section in place—the wrong place.

"They don't go that way," I say. "Look." I point to the four tracks. "The first section goes on the inside track, not the outside."

"If they went in that way, the latches would rip the vinyl."

We continue working.

He snaps more sections in place, again the wrong place.

We exchange words.

He won't receive my suggestions.

I'm frustrated. He won't listen, I'm thinking.

He's frustrated. She's nagging, he's thinking.

"I'm going inside to call James," I say. "Maybe he can tell us how to put them up." In minutes I'm on the phone with James. I explain our problem.

"Would you like me to come over and do it?" he asks.

I'm amazed. "You can come now?"

"Right now."

"Hallelujah!" I say, and we both laugh.

Fifteen minutes later, I open the door wide at the sound of his knock. Knowing he has a good sense of humor, I smile, clasp my hands in front of my heart, and say, "You're my hero. You've saved us from divorce court."

James and I are both laughing as we walk through the house and out to the lanai.

An hour-and-a-half later, our windows are in place, as pretty as you please.

Milton's way wasn't correct.

And my way wasn't correct.

James's way was.


Both of these scenarios could've escalated into major arguments…which would've escalated into hurt feelings...which would've had the potential to escalate into bitterness.

But they didn't.


We chose not to let them.

One of my mantras in life is: "It's not the circumstances in life that make or break you, but how you choose to handle them."

In these scenarios, we chose not to belittle each other over our own knowledge, or lack of knowledge, or perceived knowledge. We controlled the situations. We chose to handle them in the right way.


Re: * (See note at end.)

Ruth Bell (Mrs. Billy) Graham said, when asked by a reporter if she ever thought of divorcing her husband, the Reverend Billy Graham, "Divorce? Never! But murder…"

What she was saying, was (in my opinion), basically something like this, "Though there are times in marriage when we might feel like divorcing, we must honor our vows and stay together."

When I read her humorous-with-truth statement a long time ago, I thought, If this famous couple, who are revered world-wide, can have differences, then it's not the end of the world if Milton and I do too.

The important thing is to handle our (or any couple's) differences in the right way.



Footnote: I've said this before, but I'll say it again: my sage words (hope they are!) are meant for the marriage you are now in. God bless--


At 4:41 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I got stopped at the cold snap in Florida! What happened? Did it go all the way down to 65? ROFLOL I didn't know houses in Floirida came with heaters!

Sorry ... I couldn't help it.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

You made me laugh, Ane. Yes, we have heaters! We even have fireplaces. Sometimes I have the fireplace going with the AC cranked up high.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Richard Mabry said...

When my oldest son was about to be married, he called me aside and said, "Dad, you and Mom have had a wonderful marriage. What's the secret?" I didn't even think about it--the answer just came out: "Fight fair, and don't keep score." It worked for Cynthia and me for forty years, until the Lord called her home. It's worked for all my children, and it's working for me again now that God has blessed me once more with the love of a wonderful woman, my wife, Kay.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Kathie said...

Hi Kristy,
Found your site today and was greatly blessed as I read through your posts. I am new to blogging but so far it has been fun. My husband and I are missionaries in Central America. Almost 21 years on the field. We raised 5 children and our nest will be empty in about 6 months. My husband is my best friend and our love gets stronger and sweeter everyday. I write too. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Kathie in Costa Rica

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Thank you, Dr. Richard, for your "secret." That's great! We all need to heed that. Thanks for commenting.

Thanks, Kathie, missionary to Costa Rica, for commenting! I appreciate your kind words. I hope you'll be back soon.


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