— By JOHN P. CARTER
One summer as we relaxed with two other couples on the front porch of a cabin in Ruidoso, N.M., my friend Harold presented us with his theory about male/female relationships.
Over the years, I’ve tested his hypothesis and found it to be uncomfortably close to the mark. Since he’s elected not to write a book about it, I share it here. It’s too keen an observation to be forgotten – especially on Valentine’s Day.
Like most of us, Harold (who by profession ponders theological questions) has spent many hours musing about the mysteries of the opposite sex. His theory is based not only on his observations but also on more than 50 years of marriage. Simply put, his theory is this: “Where?” is most often a male question. And “Why?” is usually a female query.
True to the theory, my most frequent question to Carole usually begins with “Where?” I am forever asking her the location of a book I was reading last week, day-before-yesterday’s newspaper, the TV remote, or the cordless phone. Or I may begin, “Have you seen ...” that letter I got a week ago or the note I left by the telephone?
With great frustration, she claims that I keep asking, “Where?” because I’m not organized and don’t put things back where they belong. Defensively I retort that if she hadn’t moved my stuff, I wouldn’t have to ask. She has yet to understand that my retrieval system is indexed by where I left something last.
On the other hand, the question Carole most often asks me is “Why?” She wants to know the reason I’m taking I 20 instead of I 30 or leaving the extension cord on the porch. She frequently asks, “Why do you wait so late to write your column?” And her favorite is, “Why didn’t you start getting ready earlier?”
Being an inwardly-reasoning only-child, I usually have an answer that fits my logic. But sometimes what I see as obvious is not so clear to her. And then she asks the most irritating question of all: “Why would you think that?”
The wheres and whys of love and marriage are more than academic questions. They sometimes create more heat than light in both the questioner and the questioned. Carole often throws up her hands and asks, “Am I my husband’s keeper?” And sometimes I feel like she’s questioning my intelligence.
Of course, my questions don’t mean that I hold her responsible for everything I can’t find. And her questions to me are mostly for information – even though my answers sometimes don’t make sense to her. Honestly, after I get her input, my logic sometimes isn’t as good as it seemed.
I mention these matters on Valentine’s Day to remind us that: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
When I ask, “Where?” and she asks, “Why?” I’m especially glad that love IS patient!
John P. Carter’s “Notes From the Journey” is a regular feature of Viewpoints.