“I’ve got it under control,” I murmured.
We jumped out of the car; each grabbed an arm full of groceries and hurried toward the kitchen.
“I’ll take care of these groceries so you can get started on the vacuuming,” Leslie said.
The tension was rising because in less than an hour, two other couples would be at our doorstep expecting a dinner party.
“Don’t forget to light the candles and turn on the music before they get here,” Leslie hollered from the kitchen.
I heard what she said but didn’t reply as I walked into my study to look through some “urgent” mail.
Only a couple of minutes passed, it seemed to me, when Leslie came in to my study and in exasperation asked: “What are you doing?”
“Reading my mail,” I responded defensively and with the best look of confusion I could put on my face. She didn’t buy it. “Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll take care of the other stuff.”
Leslie sighed and left the room.
Five minutes later I heard the sound of the vacuum in the living room. I’m almost done here and then I’ll go in and help her, I said to myself. Ten minutes later the vacuum stopped.
I bolted from my chair and walked to the living room. “I thought I was going to do this,” I said to Leslie.
“So did I,” she replied.
We’ve all weaseled our way out of our spouse’s “to do” list at one time or another. Haven’t we? After all, we’ve worked hard, we’re tired, busy, preoccupied, maxed-out, whatever.
However we defend it, subtle selfishness is a deadly for couples. It lurks just beneath the surface whenever we are tired and there’s a household chore to be done or an errand to be run. That’s when we pretend we don’t notice the chore or we “forget” about the task, hoping our spouse will take over so we don’t have to.
Subtle selfishness seeps into our marriage in a myriad of ways. I (Leslie) am the first to admit I can selfishly hoard my husband’s time, for example. I can complain to Les about his busy schedule but never consider adjusting my own calendar for his benefit.
Or, I might think nothing of spending extravagantly on a luncheon with one of my girlfriends and later snip at Les for indulging himself with another computer gadget he “doesn’t need.”
Let’s face it. In big and small ways we all squirrel away money, energy and time for our own advantage.
Here’s the problem with subtle selfishness: it cuts the heart out of marriage. We can rationalize our selfish ways all we want, but we are missing the point of our partnership when we do not pitch in with a generous spirit and help our spouse with the task at hand.
This blog post is from Drs Les & Leslie Parrott. I encourage you to order their book, Trading Places
BE A MAN.