I cut my hand on an emulsion blender. You know—one of those long, handheld devices with a rotating blade at the end you use to puree soups or smoothies or homemade baby food so you don’t have to pull out the hefty, over-sized food processor.
It turns out they’re pretty sharp. I plugged the device in and attached the top half to the bottom, locking them together with a twist. The only problem was my left hand cupped the bladed end, and my right accidently pressed the on button, and before I knew it, my palm resembled something I’d rather not describe.
But my first thought was, “Oh, no. My husband is going to lecture me on kitchen safety rules again.”
See, I’m accident prone. I’ve been known to slice the wrong thing before, or bump forehead first into the corner of a wall. I haven’t figured out if it’s all the multi-tasking I do to keep our family of six in order, or if it’s just flightiness, but nonetheless, I knew a sit-down discussion on the importance of how we handle blades was in my future.
I don’t like these talks.
I feel like I’m twelve and internally groan.
So when I sat down to dinner after I’d secretly bandaged myself and hid my hand under the table, I sighed when he spotted the bulging ace bandaged swaddling my left hand.
“Are you okay?” he raised an eyebrow?
Explaining the incident in one minute, I then reminded him that our daughter needed to be at church function that night. I rushed her out the door, thinking I’d escaped.
During our drive, however, I started a monologue in my mind about how I’d gone a couple of years without a bleeding incident. When we arrived at church, with my rebuttal running through my mind, I did something I thought was smart.
I texted him.
Yep, I told him that I hid my hand to avoid a discussion, and had his (then) thirteen-year-old daughter cut her hand, well, then he would have coddled her and not give her the 5-point lesson on kitchen safety. It was a mishap, and he’s had a few of those before working in the shed.
I hit send, feeling a little proud of my analogy and the cleverness of with which I worded my case.
He simply replied, “I’m sorry. Just feel like you roll your eyes at me for even suggesting that you should be careful. Like I’m ridiculous for even thinking it could happen.”
I did a nose crinkle at this.
We talked later that night, and I explained that I do roll my eyes when he talks to me like a kid. All I wanted was an, “I’m sorry you’re hurt.”
With arms crossed, I told him I wanted a partner, not a parent.
“You’re missing a valuable point,” he placed both hands on my shoulders. “I care so much that I think the more I explain safety tips, the less chance my bride will have of injuring herself. I never want to see you hurt. I’d do anything to protect you.”
“Oh.” I dropped my arms and leaned into his chest. “I’ve never thought of it this way.”
“I’ve always been seriously scared you’d injure yourself. That’s why I’m obsessive.”
He does love me. But his way of showing it, short of bubble-wrapping my body, is to lay out simple steps of what to do or not to do. I should know this. This precious man has watched me lay on more hospital beds than any young husband should. After witnessing my battles illness after illness, no wonder he’s ultra-protective. He’s so afraid of losing me. I see the tears when we re-watch old videos and sense he feels that pain of uncertainty resurface.
Oh, foolish Dabney.
My lack of interest when listening to his instructions, made him feel undervalued, and like a panicked parent trying to tell their child not to run in the road.
His lack of instant compassion made me assume he simply didn’t care. And therein lies the problem.
I wasn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt.
This misunderstanding of words and actions, where I think I already know what he’s going to do or say, only hurts me in the long run. Trying to force my spouse to see life through my perfect opinion isn’t loving, it’s manipulating. When I finally come to the place where I realize that just because my husband has a different way of showing me love (by giving me helpful tips) doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It just means he is looking at life through his handyman glasses, and is trying to prevent future unnecessary blunders.
My job isn’t to change him. It’s to understand his rationale, and love him just the way God created him: the perfect balance to my sometimes flighty ways, where I do things without thinking.
I now know not to plug in a handheld blender and press the two ends together. It turns out it really does hurt when you mince the inside of your palm. The pain that lingered over the next couple of weeks helped me to remember that listening more and ignoring him less benefited my well-being and my marriage.