Divorce is not an option, but murder may be-

 by Rhonda Schrock

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a pointy-headed professor to know that wherever human paths cross, there lies the potential for conflict.  Nowhere is this truer than in the family unit.  With different personalities and temperaments, different likes and dislikes, the delicate balance of relationships can be a minefield – a powder keg waiting to blow.

We have been married now for nearly 21 years.  As strong as our marriage is and as committed as we are to sticking together, there have been days.  Oh, there have been days. As Ruth Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, said when she was asked if she’d ever considered divorce, “No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but I did think of murder a few times.”

It’s funny.  On most issues, we see eye to eye.  I honestly don’t know of anyone else with whom I have so much in common.  Our politics jibe.  Our theology matches.  Our hopes and dreams for the future are the same.  On the thorny issue of which way the toilet tissue should hang, our hearts beat as one (it should roll down over the top, of course).  It’s the little quirks and foibles, then, that can occasionally derail the happy train.

If you were to ask my husband what I do that irritates him the most, I can tell you without blinking what that would be.  You see, I have a strong desire for neatness in my world.  Clutter bothers me.  With six people in a small house, some clutter is inevitable.  However, every so often the girl has had enough, and then it’s “Katie, bar the door,” ‘cause the clutter’s gotta go.  My family knows by now that when Mama’s in that mood, they’d better keep moving or else they, too, will be stacked, sorted, pitched, or recycled.

What happens, then, is that once in a while in my straightening-up frenzy, I will move an object to a different spot and promptly forget where I put it.  This makes my orderly, everything-in-its-place husband absolutely crazy.  As entertaining as it is to watch him swing from the rafters by his fingernails, it doesn’t seem to have an overall beneficial effect on our marriage.  And when I point out that while he may be tied in knots, seeing red, or sprouting an ulcer, at least he’s not bored, he only begins praying for that very thing. “Dear Lord, I’d like to be bored for once…”

There is another thing I do once in a blue moon that makes him nuts.  This is something that can only be chalked up to my femininity and, thus, is beyond my control.  When I am startled, I do a very girlish thing.  I scream.  While some men think it’s a hoot to scare their wives, this is not true for Mr. Schrock.  Having inherited the narrow Brubacher ear canals, a high-pitched scream is actually painful for him.

Once, after we were first married, I was working in the kitchen when he appeared out of nowhere, scaring the daylights out of me.  When I cut loose with a blood-curdling shriek, he was so startled himself that he did his own little dance of fear, which loosely resembled an Irish jig.  As I dissolved into helpless laughter, my poor husband stood there, eardrums shattered, shocked that his mere appearance could set off such a chain reaction.

On his part, he comes from a tradition that believes that, “If you’re not early, you’re late.”  Put one of those with a serial procrastinator and it’s a kaboom just waiting for the match.  While I’m calculating how late we can leave for church and still make it, he’s issuing an itinerary to the troops that involves arriving the day before.  Well, almost.

Even he had to admit he erred on the side of caution the time we were slated to fly out of O’Hare airport.  After compiling a list of everything that could possibly happen to delay us, including traffic jams, a blown tire, construction, detours, and carjackings, he hauled us out of bed in the dark of night.  Given that no one in Chicago is moving a muscle at 2 a.m., we sailed up in record time, arriving four hours before departure, sleep deprived and haggard.  Men have been drug out in the street and shot for less than this.

As for the boys, they have their own pet peeves.  One of them, for instance, is a hugger and a kisser.  He has no qualms about kissing grandmothers, aunts, or brothers.  His older brother, however, would rather dip his lips in boiling oil than to use them to kiss anyone but his parents.  He would certainly rather dip his brother’s lips in boiling oil than to let them pucker in his direction.

When said kisser tried to lay one on his brother before he left for Mexico, we had about three minutes of spontaneous combustion in the living room.  It took their father donning his fireman suit to extinguish the blaze.  I would’ve jumped in with the fire extinguisher, but I was straightening up the other day and I can’t remember where I put it.

At least, thank God, we’re not bored.

There's more - far more - wit and wisdom on Rhonda's blog, The Natives are Getting Restless. Pop in and see for yourself.


  1. LOL! I have two girls. One is a cuddly hugger and the other sees affection as a sign of weakness or something she has to do to appease her mother. But I can always tell when she hasn't had enough affection. She gets grouchy, horribly grouchy and angry all. the. time. Thats when I swoop in and hold her close, call her my sweet baby and soak in the rare cuddle moment. Then she is fine once again.

    Marriage is a hoot when you are married to your best friend. The same 'quirks' rear their ugly heads and as marriage lasts longer and longer, the quirks become living jokes. He expects the toilet paper NOT to make it on the roll and I expect to find dish towels drying in the garage. He expects me to rush around to make sure we arrive somewhere early, and I expect him to make darn sure we still arrive late. But both of us know that things could be a lot worse. We could be married to someone else, and that would suck.

    Thanks for posting this. It was fun to read. :)

  2. You sound like a wise mama. You really do have to know the people you're living with, don't you? And I know how you feel...my husband truly is my best friend. The ability to laugh together has made so much difference for us, that's for sure. I should've added a postscript that now, we've been married for 23 years. And still happy about it, too! :) Thanks, JLC.

  3. I truly laughed out loud at the airport story. Sounds so familiar! :)

  4. You ALWAYS make me laugh, Rhonda!!! And I'm so glad to hear you are a normal couple--I was a little intimidated when we met, and you guys got along better than a tree and its newest bark.

    My husband lays awake nights thinking of ways to annoy me. He loves to see me jump, hoot, and do that Irish jig thingie.

    Excellent post!

  5. Lol! Another great article! I can so relate to this! Opposites attract for a reason! The airport story could be us, except I am the one who will be there a day early, just in case!! Thanks for the laugh! :)

  6. Luceeta, are you the neurotic planner, or is it your hubby? I have a hunch...

    Jeanette, next time we get together, just go ahead and plan to demo that jig for me, okay? And so I guess that YOU'RE the one who's not bored and won't get Alzheimer's, hmm? He's only helping, you know.

    Marilyn, I'm thrilled that someone else married an Opposite and can identify with me. Wanna share some Xanax for all the anxiety this can cause? :)!

  7. It doesn't ever sound boring at your house, Rhonda! Like Jen, you always make me laugh. And I appreciate it!
    Hugs and blessings to you,

  8. Hi Rhonda -

    When Beloved was alive, we had our little quirks and drove each other nuts. While he was a neat freak about his desk, I wasn't. While I wanted a reasonably orderly house, he was a packrat. With that kind of incendiary combination, it's a wonder the house didn't go up in flames!

    Susan :)

  9. That was great! I too am lucky enough to be married to my best friend, and for the MOST part we see eye to eye; totally with you on the toilet paper! But, oh yes, the little quirks we BOTH have...sigh!! You nailed it; at least we're not bored!!

  10. LOL I loved the lips boiling in oil!!! It is so nice that you are documenting times like these through your writing. Someday, the boys will love reading them and remembering.

  11. You ladies are so wonderfully affirming! My theory is that every prince has an occasional frog moment, and every princess has a witch-on-a-broom one just once in awhile. When those blow over, it's delightful to realize that you're still best friends. Even though.


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