One of My Greatest Teachers


I hear my spouse’s words play repeatedly in my head. “That’s okay,” he says.  “He needs to win. I need to give.”


We have just taken our place in what appears obvious to us to be the end of a block-long queue for a taxi stand at one of the world’s busiest airports. We are startled by the voice of an annoyed traveler who appears on one side of us.  The man declares that he was ahead of us.  Without hesitation, my partner steps to one side and invites the man to move ahead of us.  Not a trace of judgment in his voice.

I’m not feeling quite as generous in my thinking. A childish word pops into my head. Jerk. It’s then I hear my husband’s gentle message. “That’s okay, he needs to win.  I need to give.”

About five days later I find myself standing in snaking line with about fifty other hopefuls attempting to get in and out of the restrooms before the Broadway musical we are attending resumes its second act.  A woman moves beside me and grumbles that she she was there first. I quickly invite her to step ahead. Her attitude transforms.  “No,” she responds. “That’s alright. One more spot won’t make that much difference.”  I ask her again to move ahead.  She declines.  Seconds later she makes a comment designed to make connection. We chat amiably until our turns come up simultaneously. That long line turns out to be much shorter than it first appeared.

My spouse is often one of my greatest teachers by examples of kind and wise behaviors and responses to life.  However, his not-so-noble behaviors and words can also be teaching tools.  They present opportunities for me to examine my own responses to life, thus reaping a greater depth of understanding that can lead to a happier life for both of us.

Let me listen carefully to what my spouse and others have to teach me today.


 Written September 20, 2013, The Committed Relationship

1 comment to One of My Greatest Teachers

  • Marilyn

    “He needs to win and I need to give.” When that man is sweet, he is really sweet! I think I will write that on a sticky note and stick it on my mirror to read every day!

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