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  • Dr. Andy and Renie Bowman

A Story From 50 Years of Marriage

Some friends of ours tell this story from the earlier years of their marriage this way: 

We were living in South Texas temporarily, several hundred miles from our family and dear friends. While Doug worked long hours at a construction job there and had to be gone most of the time, Joan was trapped in a small dark rented house. She had not made very many friends in the remote area where they were renting, which resulted in a lonely and homesick young wife. Being so many miles away for so long had taken its toll; he was tired from working seven days a week, she was sick of those four walls, and both of them were feeling the pull to see home again. 

One early Thursday afternoon, Doug appeared in the doorway with an idea. He had been given the rest of the day and that whole weekend off, and had come up with a brilliant plan. Wanting to take advantage of their holiday, he asked her if she would like to throw some clothes in the truck and go home for a few days. The idea appealed to his wife, and she excitedly agreed to the sudden trip, but then brought up a problem in leaving so quickly. 

“What about Goldie, (her tiny goldfish pet and dear friend) what do we do about her? How can we take her on the trip? How can we do that? Will she be okay traveling such a long way?”  

After some conversation on the subject of the plausibility and ease of taking the small fish on such a trip, versus leaving her there, the tone of the discussion took on a decidedly warmer tone. Husband saw no need to take Goldie and felt that she would certainly survive their absence with no problem. Wife viewed the situation with quite a bit more compassion for her goldfish, (and by that time I am certain, quite a bit less for Husband.)  

The hearty ‘discussion’ ended with Husband picking up the goldfish bowl and rapidly walking into the bathroom. As she followed him, Wife realized his intentions – to deposit Goldie in the toilet bowl. Thinking Doug was inventing a creative solution she asked, “You really think she’ll be okay in there while we’re gone?” 

“You ain’t a woofin’! There! Now Goldie won’t have no more problems!” was his curt answer as he hit the handle and flushed Goldie down the toilet, sending her on a one-way trip to Watery Never-Never Land. 

Needless to say, very few words were used in the vehicle on that trip back to their home town. 

Funny as this true story is to us, there are some real truths lurking deep under its façade of humor. First of all; if we are not watchful, we can allow what is good and a blessing in our life to sidetrack us from what would be better.  Goldie was undoubtedly a needed friend to a homesick wife, but even better was the chance to take some quality time with her husband. On the other hand, you can solve an issue quickly and completely…but you probably will discover the price just might be a little too high. Lastly, a major key to a successful marriage is learning to forgive one another. 

Relationships are tricky, sticky, and volatile sometimes. And they take careful communication and negotiation to keep them healthy. If you are part of a relationship, personally, socially, or professionally, please do not expect to win each and every time an issue surfaces. After all, that means the other person has to lose every time, and that is something your partner will find a bitter pill to swallow. Remember the Golden Rule? It is not “Do unto others whatever it takes to get what you want.”  

Oh yes, I can hear the question many of you have on your minds. Doug and Joan have successfully remained in their marriage for over fifty years, making it together thru thick and thin. 


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