13 Jun 2009
This coming August the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly will celebrate 38 years of marital bliss. Personally, I have no idea what "marital bliss" is exactly, only that I have it. I know I have it, because my wife told me, and she would never lie to me. Unless of course... but let's not go into that.
During my almost 4 decades of "marital bliss," I have learned a thing or two. Not as much as I would like to have learned but a few things have come in handy. One has to do with talking. I have discovered that most people really do not mean exactly what they say. There has come into our language something called "doubletalk." Simply put, doubletalk is when you mean something exactly the opposite of what you actually say.
Politicians are connoisseur of doubletalk language. And, for the most part, we expect it from them. Nobody really expects a politician to say exactly what he means or mean what he says.
If you take some people at face value, you will find that value terribly inflated. Then there are others whose value is in a terrible recession, with no stimulus package in view. Of course, the phrase "stimulus package," is a victim of this doubletalk. All it stimulates is anger and it is hard to package that, unless of course you are going to send it to China.
But, getting back to the doubletalk associated with marital bliss. Starting out as a young husband, I did not understand the dynamics of doubletalk. It started rather innocently enough when someone told me after hearing I was engaged to get married, "Two can live cheaper than one."
I have yet to find someone who can define for me the word "cheaper."
This is simply doubletalk to ensnare a young man for a lifetime of marital bliss. The fact that a man could be talked into believing that two can live cheaper than a single person is a tribute to the doubletalk dexterity of young ladies. By the time a young man realizes that two cannot live cheaper than one, it is cheaper to stay together than getting a divorce.
After a few years of marriage, I discovered another little bit of doubletalk. My wife came home from shopping and excitedly told me that she had saved a lot of money shopping that day. I was excited, to say the least. I am always in for saving money somewhere. Then I discovered that is simply doubletalk for saying, "I spent your entire paycheck on groceries today."
My idea of saving money and my wife's idea of saving money are the exact opposite. I save money by not spending money whereas she saves money by spending it. I will never unwind this bit of doubletalk. In order to save five dollars, she has to spend $100. Talk about accenting the positive.
Whenever my wife says, "Guess how much money I saved today?" I know that our checking account took a major hit. All this saving will send me the poor house.
There is another little bit of doubletalk. Whenever my wife says, "My relatives are coming to visit for a spell," I know I have at least one week of visitors and will have to entertain them and listen to endless stories I've heard a hundred times before. For some people "a spell," means a short visit. However, when your wife uses the phrase "a spell," it can mean anything up to a year.
Then there are these little bits of doubletalk.
"I put a little dent in the car," is doubletalk for, "I demolished the family car." How anybody can confuse "a little dent," with "demolished," is above the pay scale of every husband.
Looking out the window pensively, my wife will say, "If I had the energy I would take the trash out." Meaning of course, if I know what is good for me I will take it out immediately, if not sooner.
And, "That grass looks like it grew up overnight," is doubletalk for, "You better get to mowing the grass right now."
Now comes some of the dangerous ones.
"Does this new dress make me look fat?" Every seasoned husband knows what this actually means is, "I saved a lot of money on this dress and I think it fits me perfectly." Any husband who deviates from this is in serious trouble.
One bit of doubletalk took a long time for me to understand. It goes something like this, "I’m too tired to cook supper tonight." After a few failed interpretations of this bit of doubletalk, I discovered it really means, "I want to go out for supper tonight."
After 38 years of marital bliss, I have learned that understanding doubletalk is the key to the "bliss."
When it comes to God, there is no doubletalk. The Bible is plain; it says what it means and means what it says. For example, Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV).
You can be sure that God will not give you any doubletalk.
Rev. James L. Snyder