On Saturday I went strawberry picking north of Lancaster at Shenk's Berry Farm. For Nigel and Jacari this meant both the accomplishment of picking a few pounds of strawberries and the added bonus of eating all you want as you go along the rows. The boys went first up parallel rows. My wife and I followed behind the boys to pick the hundreds of strawberries they miss.
In the rows next to us were two young women. My wife talked to them for a while about canning, then they returned to their main topic of discussion. They were talking about the upcoming marriage of one of them. The soon-to-be bride was telling her friend how much her fiance would have to change when they were married. He spends too much time with his friends, etc.
One of the things I did as a father of three girls was to convince them that the silliest fantasy American girls have is that they can change a boy or a man. My daughters seem convinced that they have to find a guy they like as is, and enjoy the relationship, or move on. One of the more painful passages to read in CS Lewis's The Four Loves concerns a wife whose life program is to change her husband to suit her, and what sort of man he becomes.
Of course, many woman also end up in bad relationships because they use their maternal instinct to pick a guy. Relationships in which a smart, competent woman has a grown, male dependent begin with a woman who says "No one understands him but me." The truth is, everyone understands the creep except her.
When I was in Iraq, there were guys who were happy to be baking in the desert sun rather than listen to their wives "bitch about everything." I know very well that I am not perfect and I do not know any perfect men. But a wife who's complaints can make Iraq look good has her reward.
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