By Brad Garrison

Sherie and I will have been married 43 years in June. She is the love of my life, and I can’t imagine my life without her. Well, actually, I can. I would be a lonely, bitter, ex-con living in a shack on some remote Utah mountain taking pot shots at prairie dogs or coyotes while drinking too much and complaining about how unfairly I have been treated by life.

Oh, by the way, I wouldn’t know Jesus as my Lord because she’s the one that introduced Him to me. (It’s called hormonal evangelism but that’s another story.) We’ve raised 4 kids together and have 9 grandchildren and 2 golden retrievers. She drives a Lincoln while I like my truck, and we have experienced tremendous highs and lows in our marriage, and I can honestly say that MY WIFE DRIVES ME CRAZY. She drove me crazy the first year of our marriage, and she continues to drive me crazy in the 43rd.

She drove me crazy the first year of our marriage and she continues to drive me crazy in the 43rd.

You see, my wife is a cupboard door leaver opener. Every drawer, every cupboard, even the refrigerator, if it can be opened, she will leave it open, not completely mind you, but just an inch or two, 74% of the time. I didn’t know this when we first got married!

It came as quite a jolt to me because, though I am not a neat freak, my life does require a certain amount of order, so I decided in my great wisdom that she was going to have to change for this marriage to work.

First, I tried to be reasonable and explain how closed cupboard doors were necessary for my sanity. She was very receptive and improved from 74% to 72% of doors left open. That was not enough change to satisfy me, so I then tried the “you change” method of conflict management.

It involves the application of emotional power in the relationship. I threw fits. I slammed cupboards and doors shut so loudly that the neighbor thought a gun was going off (and it took a long time). I broke down and cried hoping the power of my tears would shame her into compliance. I tried everything to force her to change. She went from 74% to 86%!

I tried everything to force her to change. She went from 74% to 86%!

You see, even though she is a saint, if I try to make her change, she reacts the way most human beings do when told they have to do something, or else. I can still remember her doing her best Clint Eastwood impersonation as she smirked at me and said, “Oh yeah, make my day.”

So……after exhausting all other avenues, I decided to try the “I’ll change” method of conflict management. After all, if she can’t be big about it, then I’ll be big about it. I decided I was not going to let open cupboard doors bother me anymore. I had 3 wonderful days right up to the point where I was brushing my teeth and rose up to crack my head on the corner of the open bathroom cabinet door.

I discovered something. I didn’t have the power to change myself! Think about it. If we could change ourselves then no one would have anything about himself or herself that they didn’t like, but we all do.

I didn’t have the power to change myself!

I felt hopeless for a few days. Condemned to a life of being driven crazy by the woman I love. Then it dawned on me. She is the woman I LOVE! Love, agape in the Greek, means unconditional love. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God didn’t wait up in heaven for us to change and become the kind of people He would like us to be. He just loved us because love is the only thing that can truly change people. So I thought I might try that. God made my wife a cupboard door leaver opener, and I decided to love her for who she was and not who I wanted her to be.

She is the woman I LOVE!

Guess what? It works. In fact, she still drives me crazy, but I can gauge how good I’m doing at that unconditional love thing by the number of cupboards left open. When your love is founded on the Rock, it never ends even if your wife is driving you crazy.

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