No. 688



Several years ago, before most of our manufacturing jobs went overseas, there was a word that conjured up fear in the minds and hearts of thousands of people in our nation. That word is “strike,” and according to the dictionary it means, along with 18 other definitions, “To refuse to continue to work, until certain demands are met; go on strike.” It has not been that long ago that I can remember at least once a year, that a major union was going on strike. This was especially true in the automotive industry. Now with U.S. automakers losing billions of dollars each year and talk of mergers, you don’t hear the word “strike” much anymore.
Our home is thousands of miles from Detroit, but there is another kind of strike that is much more serious, at least to me. It’s when your wife goes on strike. Over the years my wife Viola and I have gotten along remarkably well, but there have been a few times when we were at odds over some issue that, in hindsight, was very petty. However, after a few days of not having my meals prepared, the bed made, clothes washed and dried, her expertise at grocery shopping and the hundreds of other things she does around our home, we settled the issue on her terms.
If you are a married man, young or old, may I ask you this question: has this ever happened to you? If it has, what I am going to pass along may be helpful in dealing with future episodes. At least I hope so, because a wife on strike is no fun. I might add, this is one of those things you can laugh about later, but while it’s going on it’s a very serious matter, one that can go either way, like those hitchhikers back in the days of the depression.
In our case, and maybe yours too, over a period of time, Viola gets the feeling that she is not really appreciated. In most cases, I will confess that it was my fault because I would get so locked-in and focused on my own projects that I did not take the time to make her feel like the princess she really is.
There is also the issue of a wife just needing some help around the house from time to time, even in those cases when she is not gainfully employed outside the home. In a case where both husband and wife work outside the home, this is a given, especially when there are children involved. What I am saying here that will help us men avoid those “strike” situations, just show her and tell her often that she is appreciated and then pull your share of the load and a little extra for good measure.
Here is a vivid illustration of what I am saying. During the past football season I was watching one of those game half-time reports that featured Coach Lou Holtz. Lou is a master of the one-liners, quips and short stories that illustrate a point. We were blessed to have him as coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks several years ago. Lou told the story of this man driving down a muddy road and his car slid off in the ditch. After several unsuccessful attempts to get it out, he walked to a nearby farm house to ask for help.
When the farmer came out and learned this man’s predicament he said, “All I have here is just one old mule and he is totally blind, but I will hitch him up and we will do our best to help you.” After he attached a rope to this man’s car he said, “Pull Bill” and nothing happened. Then he said, “Pull Sam” and nothing happened. Then he said, “Pull Joe” and nothing happened. Then he said, “Pull Jesse” and out came the car. The man said, “Why didn’t you just say “Pull Jesse” to start with? The farmer said, “My mule is blind. If he thought he was going to have to pull it all by himself, he would have never done it.” The truth is, we all need to help others, and sometimes it may be our wife.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)