My husband and I started the New Year off on the wrong foot.
It all began with a temperature tantrum.
Dean likes the bedroom cool at night. Growing up in a two-story farmhouse with no central heat, he got used to sleeping in a cold bedroom. The upstairs was so cold, in fact, that one of the rooms was used to store meat. A wood stove in the middle of the first floor heated the entire house. Winter mornings were so frigid, water left in a basin on the kitchen counter was often frozen.
I, on the other hand, suffered no such hardship. I grew up in a steel mill town where coal furnaces heated most of the houses, including ours. While our second-story bedroom was cool towards morning, by the time I got up, Mom or Dad had the fire going pretty good. It wasn’t unusual for the thermometer on the thermostat to register 80 degrees!
But when city girl married country boy, city girl was happy to sleep in a cooler bedroom than she was used to. By then, three years of college and a year in my own apartment had helped me adjust to cooler temperatures at night. And, of course, I was so crazy in love with the guy, I would have followed him to the Arctic Circle.
Don’t get me wrong—I still love the guy. But when the bedroom is so chilly my nose gets cold, I take steps to warm it up. Which is all I did on January 1. Pulling the portable electric heater into the bedroom a couple of hours before bedtime, I turned it up just enough to take the chill out of the air, but not enough to have Mr. Cold Bedroom wrestling with the covers because he was too warm. But when Dean took one look at the heater, he griped.
“Look, if the bedroom is too warm for you, sleep on the couch,” I griped right back, not expecting him to take my not so friendly suggestion. But he did.
For the next few days the temperature in the house was cool—if you know what I mean. Neither one of us would apologize. Until one morning I dropped a small jar of salve, which rolled under the bed. Down on my knees I went to retrieve it. This is the way I should start every day, I thought—on my knees. But I hadn’t. Because when I’m out of sorts with husband, I’m out of sorts with God, too.
“As far as it depends on you,” Scripture tells us, “live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). By giving my husband the cool treatment, I wasn’t obeying Scripture. And it was all over something silly. It was time to get back on the right foot.
“Getting off on the right foot” doesn’t have anything to do with our feet—but everything to do with our knees.
When I get off on the wrong foot again, Lord, remind me the best way to get on the right foot is to get on my knees. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 139:23–24