Why is he your dog when he is lying by the fireplace on his dog bed and my dog when he is tracking mud across the carpet? Your dog is well-behaved while my dog needs to be scolded for digging in the garden. May I remind you that we only have one dog?
We love our pets. But pets add another dynamic to every household. They bring companionship and love. They also bring challenges, a few expenses, and all the considerations of having another “person” in the house. After all, pets become part of the family.
Meet Simon. He likes to play with tennis balls; he makes a mess when he drinks his water, and he has a love/hate relationship with the mail man. Meet Loami. She is our cat, but she is not our cat. It’s complicated. It is more like we are her people. (Read Loami’s story.) She eats our cat food, sleeps in our Cat Flat, and goes to the vet at our expense. In exchange for our hospitality, she graces us with her presence, leaves hairballs on the patio and presents us with a dead rat every once in a while.
Simon and Loami fight like cats and dogs. Now don’t get me wrong, they love each other; they just have different ways of showing love. Simon can‘t figure out why Loami doesn’t want to romp and wrestle. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that he outweighs her by 70 lbs. Loami just wants to lay in the sunshine and cuddle. But every time Simon tries to lay down next to her, his giant feet inevitably find her tail and off she runs, leaving him perplexed, as if to say “Hey, I thought we were going to cuddle?”.
I can’t help but notice the similarities to the way husbands and wives relate to each other. I often try to solve relational problems the only way I know how, powering my way through. But my big dopey paws end up making matters worse rather than better.
The animal Kingdom is ruled by dominance. Whichever species can dominate the other ascends to the top of the food chain. But human relationships are supposed to be different. We humans are not limited to a survival of the fittest existence. Our Creator has given us the ability to reason, and to choose between right and wrong, good and evil; to defer immediate gratification for a better future. We can reason that to have a healthy and happy future, we must control our conduct in the present. Humans are not supposed to rule by dominance, but persuade by influence. When we use this approach, we discover not only a more willing spouse, but that we are happily pursuing the same goal together.
The apostle Peter said: Husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, 1 Peter 3:7
Simon doesn’t get it. He uses every tool in his tool belt to try and fix his relationship with Loami, but he often ends up frustrated. We husbands may never fully understand all the intricacies of our wives, but we can grow to understand the best ways to approach her. When we treat our wives in ways than honor her, we produce results that are a blessing to both of us.
Now can we cuddle?