This may sound strange coming from a guy, but I love weddings. I learn something from every single wedding I go to. It’s a great chance to watch and talk with people with so many views on marriage, it’s like a living laboratory. My wife and I went to a family wedding yesterday. It was a cousin’s daughter that I had not seen in years. The venue was outdoors at a downtown museum, the weather was perfect and it was great to see some people that we had not seen in a long time. Between the ceremony and the reception was a cocktail hour, with an open bar and served appetizers. At one point the two of us were talking when one of the servers came up offering a tasty bite. She noticed that my wife’s glass was nearly empty. She looked directly at me and said “Mmmm, mmmm… You need to keep your ladies glass full if you know what’s good for you”. We all laughed as she walked away. But I couldn’t get those words out of my mind for the rest of the evening.
As a husband, there are so many positive ways that a comment like that can be taken, and there are so many implications. It could be in a literal, emotional, spiritual or even physical sense. No matter how it plays out, it requires first that I notice that her glass is empty (or nearing emptiness). To do that, I have to be paying close attention to her and to be able to see or even anticipate her needs before they become too great. In the most literal sense, it would be great to offer her refreshment before she becomes thirsty. But it’s not different in any of the other scenarios either. If I’m paying attention, I can see that she is getting nervous before she panics. She is upset before she’s enraged, or that she needs some intimacy (by her definition) before she grows cold.
Noticing it is the crucial first step, but then it is important to proactively do something about it. In our 30+ years of marriage there have been times when I have noticed needs (an emptying glass), but have been too self-focused or busy to do anything about it. You get no points for diagnosis if you don’t follow up with a remedy. It doesn’t mean you have to reorganize your entire day or drop whatever you are doing to pay hours of attention to your wife. But it is important to stop, notice the emptying glass and take the time to refill it. I’ll never know if that waitress was simply suggesting that I get my wife another drink, or if she was pointing me toward a far more profound learning. In either case, it was a great reminder.