Man Yells at God in Hotel Shower About His WifeThen He Lays in Bed Inches AwayFrom Her & He Knows What He Has to Do
“As much as I hated the idea of divorce, the pain of being together was just too much…”
(Dedicated to my sweetheart.)
My oldest daughter, Jenna, recently said to me, My greatest fear as a child was that you and mom would get divorced. Then, when I was 12, I decided that you fought so much that maybe it would be better if you did. Then she added with a smile. Im glad you guys figured things out.
For years, my wife, Keri, and I struggled. Looking back, Im not exactly sure what initially drew us together, but our personalities didnt quite match up. And the longer we were married the more extreme the differences seemed. Encountering fame and fortune didnt make our marriage any easier. In fact, it exacerbated our problems. The tension between us got so bad that going out on book tour became a relief, though it seems we always paid for it on re-entry. Our fighting became so constant that it was difficult to even imagine a peaceful relationship. We became perpetually defensive, building emotional fortresses around our hearts. We were on the edge of divorce and more than once we discussed it.
I was on book tour when things came to a head. We had just had another big fight on the phone and Keri had hung up on me. I was alone and lonely, frustrated and angry. I had reached my limit.
Thats when I turned to God. Or turned on God. I dont know if you could call it prayermaybe shouting at God isnt prayer, maybe it isbut whatever I was engaged in Ill never forget it. I was standing in the shower of the Buckhead, Atlanta, Ritz-Carlton yelling at God that marriage was wrong and I couldnt do it anymore. As much as I hated the idea of divorce, the pain of being together was just too much. I was also confused. I couldnt figure out why marriage with Keri was so hard. Deep down I knew that Keri was a good person. And I was a good person. So why couldnt we get along? Why had I married someone so different than me? Why wouldnt she change?
Finally, hoarse and broken, I sat down in the shower and began to cry. In the depths of my despair powerful inspiration came to me. You cant change her, Rick. You can only change yourself. At that moment I began to pray. If I cant change her, God, then change me. I prayed late into the night. I prayed the next day on the flight home. I prayed as I walked in the door to a cold wife who barely even acknowledged me. That night, as we lay in our bed, inches from each other yet miles apart, the inspiration came. I knew what I had to do.
The next morning I rolled over in bed next to Keri and asked, How can I make your day better?
Keri looked at me angrily. What?
How can I make your day better?
You cant, she said. Why are you asking that?
Because I mean it, I said. I just want to know what I can do to make your day better.
She looked at me cynically.
You want to do something? Go clean the kitchen.
She likely expected me to get mad. Instead I just nodded. Okay.
I got up and cleaned the kitchen.
The next day I asked the same thing. What can I do to make your day better?
Her eyes narrowed. Clean the garage.
I took a deep breath. I already had a busy day and I knew she had made the request in spite. I was tempted to blow up at her.
Instead I said, Okay. I got up and for the next two hours cleaned the garage. Keri wasnt sure what to think. The next morning came.
What can I do to make your day better?
Nothing! she said. You cant do anything. Please stop saying that.Im sorry, I said. But I cant.
I made a commitment to myself. What can I do to make your day better? Why are you doing this? Because I care about you, I said.
And our marriage. The next morning I asked again. And the next. And the next. Then, during the second week, a miracle occurred. As I asked the question Keris eyes welled up with tears. Then she broke down crying. When she could speak she said, Please stop asking me that. Youre not the problem. I am. Im hard to live with. I dont know why you stay with me.
I gently lifted her chin until she was looking in my eyes. Its because I love you, I said. What can I do to make your day better? I should be asking you that. You should, I said. But not now. Right now, I need to be the change. You need to know how much you mean to me. She put her head against my chest. Im sorry Ive been so mean. I love you, I said. I love you, she replied. What can I do to make your day better? She looked at me sweetly. Can we maybe just spend some time together? I smiled. Id like that. I continued asking for more than a month. And things did change. The fighting stopped. Then Keri began asking, What do you need from me? How can I be a better wife?
The walls between us fell. We began having meaningful discussions on what we wanted from life and how we could make each other happier. No, we didnt solve all our problems. I cant even say that we never fought again. But the nature of our fights changed. Not only were they becoming more and more rare, they lacked the energy theyd once had. Wed deprived them of oxygen. We just didnt have it in us to hurt each other anymore.
Keri and I have now been married for more than 30years. I not only love my wife, I like her. I like being with her. I crave her. I need her. Many of our differences have become strengths and the others dont really matter. Weve learned how to take care of each other, and, more importantly, weve gained the desire to do so. Marriage is hard. But so is parenthood and keeping fit and writing books and everything else important and worthwhile in my life. To have a partner in life is a remarkable gift. Ive also learned that the institution of marriage can help heal us of our most unlovable parts. And we all have unlovable parts.
Through time Ive learned that our experience was an illustration of a much larger lesson about marriage. The question everyone in a committed relationship should ask their significant other is, What can I do to make your life better? That is love. Romance novels (and Ive written a few) are all about desire and happily-ever-after, but happily-ever-after doesnt come from desireat least not the kind portrayed in most pulp romances. Real love is not to desire a person, but to truly desire their happinesssometimes, even, at the expense of our own happiness. Real love is not to make another person a carbon copy of ones self. It is to expand our own capabilities of tolerance and caring, to actively seek anothers well being. All else is simply a charade of self-interest.
Im not saying that what happened to Keri and me will work for everyone. Im not even claiming that all marriages should be saved. But for me, I am incredibly grateful for the inspiration that came to me that day so long ago. Im grateful that my family is still intact and that I still have my wife, my best friend, in bed next to me when I wake in the morning. And Im grateful that even now, decades later, every now and then, one of us will still roll over and say, What can I do to make your day better. Being on either side of that question is something worth waking up for.
This blog post originally appeared on Richard Paul Evans website.
About the Author: Richard Paul Evans is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25novels. There are currently more than 20 million copies of his books in print worldwide. Richard has won the American Mothers Book Award, two first place Storytelling World Awards, The Romantic Times Best Womens Novel of the Year Award, the German leserpreis Gold Award for Romance and three RCC Wilbur Awards. Four of Richards books have been produced as television movies. Richard is the founder and Chairman of the Christmas Box International, an organization that provides shelter and care for abused and neglected children. For his humanitarian work, Richard has received the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award. Richard lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Keri, and their five children.
Hotels have always given me a bit of a creepy vibe.
It’s bad enough that I can never get a good night’s sleep in any hotel bed, but every time I travel, i get this eerie sense that something’s just not right. Maybe I’ve watched “Psycho” a few too many times, but I get this weird feeling like someone is watching me sleep. Don’t even get me started on the fact that I have zero faith in hotel cleaning staff, and I’m probably sleeping on top of someone else’s dead skin, blood, and other unhygienic bodily fluids.
Gross, I know.
While my stays in some of the world’s finest hotels have left me with quite a lasting impression, I’ve never experienced the horrors that these hotel guests did when traveling through Mexico City.
For days, guests were completely oblivious to a rancid smell coming from one of the rooms at the Hotel El Senador in Mexico City.
Finally, though, housekeepers at the hotel decided that enough was enough. After the latest guests checked out of the room, they decided to get to the heart of the problem. They suspected the scent was coming from underneath the queen-sized bed.
Expecting to find moldy food left behind by a former guest, or a dead rat, they were in for quite a gruesome discovery.
On the steamy S&M track, the 27-year-old sings all about handcuffs and whips — a la Rihanna circa 2010! The hottie even croons about safe words!
Damn! It sure sounds like his romps can get intense! LOLz!
The new number’s sexy groove might even get you in the mood for some fierce foreplay, as Joe quite literally asks his lover to “be mean” to him!
If this sultry song is a taste of the band’s upcoming, self-titled debut album, we’re sure the music world is going to get a whole lot hotter when it drops on November 18!
[Image via DNCE/Instagram.]
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