Why a Man Needs a Wife (Why This Man Does, at Any Rate)
“Some people leave a hole when they depart. A good wife leaves a crater.”
My friend Dr. Fred Luter, pastor of New Orleans’ Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, has an interesting way of introducing his beloved Elizabeth from the pulpit. He calls her “the love of my life, the apple of my eye, my prime rib, my good thing!”
Elizabeth has heard all that only a few thousand times, but she beams each time, as the congregation laughs and applauds.
My dad, Carl J. McKeever, who loved mom, Lois Kilgore McKeever, every day of his life, would say, “My rib is the best bone in my body.”
When the great C.S. Lewis married Joy Davidman, she moved into his house near Oxford and looked around. His home, called “The Kilns,” hadn’t been redecorated in decades. “The walls and carpets are full of holes,” Joy wrote. “The carpets are tattered rags.” She feared that moving the bookcases might cause the walls to cave in.
Joy was soon bringing in decorators and workmen and turning that pile of rubble into a home worthy of its distinguished resident.
Who can calculate the worth of a good wife?
I was thinking this week about this.
My friend Randy is burying his wonderful wife of 53 years today. I participated in Charlene’s funeral on Monday, and they were transporting her body to Florida for burial. My heart goes out to Randy and his family. This distraught husband has some lonely and tearful days and nights ahead, and there is nothing to do but to go through them.
His big house will have never seemed so huge. And so empty.
Yesterday, I saw a dermatologist. I told him, “I don’t have any particular reason for coming except I no longer have anyone to spot something on my back or neck and tell me I should see a doctor about that.” I said, “Would you mind looking me over?”
Two years ago, I had skin cancer and surgery, so I’m vulnerable. The doctor spotted a pink area above one eyebrow. “We’ll keep an eye on that.” I’m to return in six months.
They say widowers and other single men live shorter lives than married men. If that’s the case, I think I know why. A wife will see that a man eats right, and that he sees his doctors as necessary.
I’m still working on eating right. Today, among other things, I’ve eaten a banana, a peach, blueberries, strawberries and an apple; how’s that? I’m taking my vitamins and such, but I’ve done that for years on my own.
And, in the five months-plus since Margaret left, I’ve had a colonoscopy and made appointments with the dermatologist and the optometrist, whose appointment is next week.
In addition to all the intimate and emotional needs a wife fills, a good wife is a counselor, a sounding board, an advisor, another brain and someone to stand on the other side of the bed so that making it up is easier.
A good wife will not necessarily pick up after her husband, but she will not allow him to adopt slovenly habits. “Hey, do you really want to leave those old shoes on my carpet?” That sort of thing.
Next week, my three local grandchildren, who are young adults in their own right, will be sleeping in my house while Neil and Julie participate in a church mission to Washington State. The girls will sleep in the king-bed in our guest room. So, today I went to the store and bought a new set of linens, and washed them, then put them on the bed. It’s not that there aren’t other sheets around here, but some are for twin beds, some for standard, some for queen and, presumably, some for king. I just couldn’t find the ones for the king bed. (Well, OK. I didn’t look real hard.)
The sheets and pillow cases I bought are wine-colored, sort of a royal purple or maroon. No one will ever wonder which ones fit the king.
I would not have had to do this if Margaret were still here. She would know exactly where everything is and would have that guest room ready in five minutes. With me, it’s a process. I imagine it’ll be easier next time.
I miss Margaret telling me what she thinks of a blog I’m working on. She would not hesitate to say, “That’s too long,” or, “Boring.” Or, “Why do you think anyone will want to read this?”
You can’t pay someone to do that for you. Only a life-partner of many years knows you well enough to know what she can get by with saying.
I miss having someone to say those socks do not work with that outfit, that tie with that shirt or that coat with those slacks.
So, if you see me looking mismatched, you’ll know why.
A wife seems to come into the world knowing about kitchens and menus and nutrition labels. I’m so ignorant of these things, it’s pitiful.
I bought a counter-top toaster oven the other day. In order to make space for it, I cleared off some of the things Margaret left there—the tea pot, the electric can opener, that sort of thing.
Looking at the title of this piece, I wonder if anyone reading it thought I was going to announce either a search for a wife (a funny thought) or that I’d found a new one. Not hardly.
Even if I thought the Lord wanted that for me down the road, I’m miles away from anything like that. As I told Randy earlier this week, I’m not crying every day now. Just every other day.
Some people leave a hole when they depart. A good wife leaves a crater.
After five years as Director of Missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner where he's working on three books, and he's trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way. He loves to do revivals, prayer conferences, deacon training, leadership banquets, and such. Usually, he's working on some cartooning project for the denomination or some agency. More from Joe McKeever or visit Joe at http://www.joemckeever.com/mt/