My husband and I have been wanting to purchase a second vehicle for over a year. We had made our one-car-situation work for the first 4 years of our marriage, but my husband’s recent change in profession made it impossible for me to continue my volunteer activities without inconveniencing somebody else to give me a ride or let me borrow their car.
So this fall/winter we buckled down on our budget and started faithfully saving as much as we could. Our hard work (okay, mostly his long hours of hard earned money and my diligence in pinching pennies) paid off. We were delighted to find out our taxes were going to cost us thousands of dollars less than we had anticipated, which meant we’d have plenty in savings to purchase a used second vehicle. (Note: due to the nature of my husband’s previous job, taxes weren’t taken out of his paychecks throughout the year, so we knew we’d be paying in when tax season rolled around).
Thus, we began our search for a decent used vehicle within our price range. The first night of our search started out okay, but half-way through, my husband threw up his hands and said, “Here, you do it if you’re going to be so picky.” In my mind I had simply requested it be a reliable vehicle with good gas mileage, less than 130K miles, preferably a Saturn or VW Jetta, recently inspected, not any older than 2004, and not in need of any repairs… all this in a vehicle costing under $3000.
Okay, maybe I was a bit picky…
A little while before John had resigned himself from our car search and buried his nose in a business magazine, he had narrowed our search down to two vehicles costing $1500 or less. I looked up at him incredulously and proclaimed, “You’re willing to drop two grand on a computer at the drop of a hat, but cringe at the thought of spending more than $1500 for a car!” I said it in jest, but with a hint of exasperation. He smiled widely and lightheartedly responded, “Yes! Now you’re getting it!” Of course I couldn’t hold back my own smile, yet I was also secretly irritated about his reluctance to spend much on vehicles.
Personally, I didn’t believe three grand was too much to put into a vehicle, especially if it meant it’d be more reliable than our current car. We paid $1400 in cash for our 2001 Saturn Station Wagon and within the first few months had to dish out an additional $600 or so in repairs. Every time a wheel barring would go awry or something else needing fixing I was very vocal in my complaints. Soon I was pointing fingers accusingly at the auto repair shop we’d faithfully brought our cars to through the years. Without even realizing it, I was wearing down my husband like a constant dripping of a faucet (see Proverbs 27:15).
Then, one night as we were getting ready for bed and discussing our current car search, his feelings of exasperation were unfurled. “You can choose whatever car you want, because I don’t want to hear you complain when this new one needs repairing, too.” Ouch. I was silent for a long moment as I took in his words. I then gently asked if he was upset with me. Slowly, as he spoke the truth about my wrong attitudes, my eyes were opened to just how much I had drained my husband through my constant negativity.
All the verses from Proverbs about vexing and complaining wives came flooding into my mind… “It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman” (Proverbs 21:19)… “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife” (Proverbs 25:24)…. “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike” (Proverbs 27:15)… “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (Proverbs 14:1)…
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… I AM THAT WOMAN. I prayed right then and there that God would help me to change and to never again complain about the state of our vehicles. With my words I was tearing down my husband and my marriage. I knew only God could intervene.
After praying together that night and before drifting off to sleep, I sincerely apologized to John for all the times I had complained about our Saturn.
By the grace of God, He did change me. Low and behold, only a week after purchasing our 2005 Dodge it overheated on the interstate. I was silent. Then, a few months later (due to me rear-ending a car), we had to have our radiator replaced. Again, I did not complain (how could I when it was my own fault?). Then, another few months later when our Saturn did not pass inspection, I held back all negative thoughts.
I’m learning to thank God more often when things are going right with our vehicles. I’m learning to show appreciation to John when he takes care of them so I don’t have to deal with them. And I’m learning to remain silent and pray instead when something does need repairing.
Has God ever given you an experience like my own? Has He used your husband to show you your shortcomings and gently discipline you? I’d love to hear about it.