The Gaping Hole
It was a day like any other. Ana Maria returned home from work. Her heart lay heavy after hearing so many devastating stories. Ana worked as a counsellor. Some days, her clients brought joy to her heart. But others, the people brought a lonely and dark presence. The hot, blazing Arizona sun shone upon Ana's face. It didn't seem to fit her mood. Sadly, she wished that the sun would hide behind the clouds and raindrops would fall.
Ana entered her kitchen to start dinner for her and her husband, Jacob. She wondered why he hadn't called all day like he usually did. James was a chiropractor, and just starting out in a downtown clinic. Ana appreciated him very much. He was a good provider for her and never stopped loving her. But starting out your career is never easy, and Jacob always had low self confidence. He was just quick tempered lately.
As she fried the rice, she heard her man come home. "Hi, baby," she called. She listened to through their living room into the kitchen. He raked a hand through his coarse hair and said, "Hey, Ana."
James took a seat on the barstool and his wife came to hug him. She wrapped her arms around her neck and lightly held onto her hips. He was too exhausted to hold her tight.
"Are you okay?" she rubbed his shoulders and gave him a concerned look.
"I'm fine," he mumbled. "Just a long day."
"Will our favourite stir fry make you feel better?" she asked.
He shrugged, "I guess." And didn't take a second look at her.
Now she was turned off. She was expecting him to smile at her with the sparkle in his eye and say, "Of course, hunny." But all she did was slouch his shoulders and frown.
James and Ana Maria had been married for only eight months. In the last month, they'd been fighting and realizing marriage wasn't all what they expected. However, they still were crazy about each other. They reminded each other that it was just a phase they were going through with work and running a household. The good thing about the arguing was, they always worked it out. They never went to bed angry with each other.
For now, Ana kept her mouth shut and continued to cook. She waited for Jacob to ask her how her day was or if he could help her make dinner. But this time he didn't.
"You should go change," she said as she started to serve their dinner.
"You're right," he said in a dull voice.
She put the plates on the table and poured them some wine. Jacob entered the room. "Looks good!" he said in his better voice.
"Thank-you," she smiled at her husband. As they always did they joined hands and he smiled at her, that gave her that spark of fuzzy feelings once again. "Let's pray," he said.
"Dear heavenly father, thank-you for your steadfast love to us. Thank-you for this beautiful home that Ana and I are so blessed to live in. Thank-you for this day we've had to cherish and this meal that Ana has prepared. I pray for Pastor Morgan this week as he fulfills his duties that you'll give him strength and endurance, and that you'll speak to him as he prepares his sermon for this weekend. In jesus name we pray, amen."
All the sparks were flying again. Ana was no longer frustrated with her husband. He was the perfect man for her.
They sat down and began to eat. "So how was your day?" James asked his wife.
"It was alright," she said. And then she remembered how didn't call. "It would've been better if you called."
"What?" he looked up at his wife who was looking down. She didn't answer. "Ana, what do you mean?"
"Just what I said. You didn't call me."
"I had a busy day, babe," he said, feeling attacked.
"You couldn't have at least called me on your break? Or something?" she questioned him.
"I had no breaks today," he stuttered.
"You sure about that?" she cocked her head.
"Gah," he groaned. "Don't get sassy with me now."
"Make me! Next time, maybe you should check in with me. Do I not cross your mind anymore?"
"Of course you do! Everyday, all the time, my love!" he exclaimed.
"James, please. I just wanna hear your voice and know that you're okay!"
James noticed Ana's eyebrows furrowing. He saw the crease between them and knew she was upset. "You're creasing," he said under his breath. Only he knew what it meant. It meant she was about to cry.
She dropped her head in her hands. "I don't know what's happening to us," she whispered.
"Sweetie, what do you mean?" James reached for her hand. She held it back and sniffled, "I feel like we've been bending in the last couple months."
He took a moment to think and it all rushed back to him. The arguing over the silliest things, him constantly thinking about work, him nagging her to get work done, his short temper and his lack of manhood.
"You're right," he said the words she loves to hear. "I'm sorry for everything, Ana Maria."
When he said her full name, she knew he was serious. But that just didn't sound right. She began to realize she was part of the problem too. She never did anything he asked her to do, she never cared about his feelings, she constantly demanded his attention when he was giving her as much as he could, her firey temperament and the shouting and her high maintenance personality.
"James, it's not just you! Don't be sorry for everything. That's my job. I'm not easy to love!" she cried.
"What are you talking about? Of course you're easy to love. You're so beautiful, and funny, and sweet, and gentle hearted, you make good food, we have fun together, you listen to me, you're encouraging and even better, you're hispanic," he smiled. She laughed. He went to her side and said, "You're everything I ever wanted in a wife."
Ana's heart started to melt. "Honey, you're everything I ever wanted. Thank-you for still forgiving me." She fell into his arms.
"I'll always forgive you. I love you, silly girl," he rubbed her back.
"I don't know how I can be a better wife, can you tell me?" she asked.
He blew air from his lips, "I don't know how to tell you that."
"Just what do you need?" she sat on his lap.
"I don't wanna change anything about you. Honestly. I love you the way you are. And we're gonna fight, that's life."
She nodded, "Okay. I'll try not to fight with you then."
"How can I be a better husband?" James asked as he looked into Ana's big brown eyes.
Ana thought for a moment, and realized that the list went on of what she'd like him to do, but decided now wasn't the time. She shook her head, "You know what? Let's just set this aside for now, okay? Let's enjoy our dinner, which is now probably quite cold, and forget this happened. We need to learn to enjoy each other more like we used to."
James and Ana did make progress tonight. But what they weren't realizing that they were stuck in teenage romance world, and not adult marriage world. James had a lot of maturing still to do believe it or not, and Ana has some changing to do in her attitude. Were they ready to be married? Absolutely. Did they love each other enough to be married? Indeed. But could they work together and function a household properly? Nope. They had a lot of work to do.
The pros of where they are at now:
-They are not letting their differences get between them
-They can share their feelings and be honest with each other
-They work hard at their jobs to sustain their wealth
-They pray together
-They never are able to go to bed without working out the problem
-James isn't being man of the household
-Ana is letting her entitled personality get the best of her
-They both are too needy
-They aren't looking at the big picture of their marriage needing help
-They have no guidelines
Look at how the traditional role of a marriage where James is the dominant and Ana is the submissive would help. Ana would learn to cooperate while James gives her the care and attention that she needs. James is strengthened in becoming more of a man, while Ana learns to take her hands off of "saving" the marriage and letting a taken in hand relationship work it's magic. Basically, not having any guidelines is letting their marriage slowly fall apart and leaving a gaping hole. Will they discover all that DD can do for them?
To be continued...