For the love of toliet paper

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2004

Have you ever walked through the supermarket or gone out to the mall or out to eat and heard a couple arguing?

If you have, you have probably noticed that nine times out of 10 the woman is right. Now, before I lose my male readers, I am not saying that women are always right. In fact, they are often times very wrong.

Many times, women have expectations of men that are simply unrealistic or foreign to his composition and in their frustration deem him a lost cause or a useless piece of work, destined to forever be a thorn in her side.

But, what these women fail to realize is that men are not the inferior imbeciles they are commonly stereotyped as being, they are just plain different. They think differently, communicate and behave differently, and sometimes to the dismay of the women going behind them in the bathroom, they pee differently!

When my husband and I were first getting to know one another, I distinctly recall a particular experience illustrating that exact point.

The scenario played out like this. I was visiting him and some of our friends at his place, and we were in the process of preparing dinner. Everyone was laughing and having a great time, including myself, so much so that I neglected to take a moment out use the bathroom.

About to bust open the floodgates, I excused myself and made a B-line down the hall.

Now, typically, as is common with single guys, the seat was in its upright position so I, being the neurotic germ-fearing female that I am, hastily reached for a handful of toilet paper to wipe down the commode and put the seat back down.

However, much to my surprise and now, frustration I noticed the roll was dangerously close to being done. Frantically, I flung open the cabinet doors thinking I would find deliverance in a spare roll stowed away with some towels and other bathroom supplies, but my hopes were quickly dashed.

Yelling out in an urgent voice, I asked where he kept the spare rolls, and looking back on his reply I am still baffled. &uot;I forgot to buy it,&uot; he said nonchalantly. Now, ladies, we all know the importance of having a stock full of toilet paper, right?

So, I’d be lying if I said that I responded with anything other than both barrels. The way I responded would have made you think he had committed a cardinal sin and my response to his remark has been a standing joke in our household to this day.

&uot;You forgot to buy toilet paper,&uot; I retorted sarcastically. &uot;How could you forget to buy toilet paper?&uot; After gathering together a makeshift wad of paper towels from the kitchen, so I could finish what I started, I whisked back down the hall and re-entered the room to pick up my dissertation of rebuke.

Needless to say, the poor guy has never forgotten to purchase the precious paper since, but that experience taught us both a valuable lesson. Guys and gals are wired differently. Even though the above story is a menial example of the dynamics of communication between the sexes, it points to the sometimes not so obvious truth that women and men operate off a different set of expectations.

Since that time, my husband and I have worked to bridge that communication gap by trying to understand where the other is coming from. Were it not for patience, love, forgiveness and grace I don’t think we’d make it and the same is true for all couples.

As a wife, I am continually learning to appreciate and respect my husband for his differences even when those differences challenge my patience and push the limits of my ability to understand his motivations for doing some of the things he does.

I have learned to be more conscious of how and when I approach him and have sought ways to minister to his needs without demanding he meet mine first and I have found a deeper level of contentment in our relationship than I ever imagined possible in doing that.

My husband is a wonderful husband to me and a loving father and role model for his children and I grow in respect for him the more time goes by. The more I seek to understand him, the more I am able to embrace our differences and be a helpmate to him and in all honestly, I think more men would be the kind of husbands and fathers their women wanted them to be if women would quit worrying about how to change them and concentrate on accepting them for who God made them to be.

In an article entitled, &uot;Eight points that show, Christian or not, he’s still a guy,&uot; by Nancy Kennedy, the author describes men as being primarily goal and task oriented and competitive, something I always knew to be true, but neglected to embrace. By nature, women have a tendency to be critical of what they don’t understand and often times end up taking it out on unsuspecting male bystanders.

As women, we have a hard time understanding why a guy would not have a back up roll of toilet paper in his bathroom, why he leaves the seat up, why he yells at the television when his team scores a goal or even why he feels the need to retreat away from conversation to recharge his mental and emotional batteries, but that’s just the way they’re made.

It didn’t make sense to me why guys would want to &uot;veg&uot; by playing video games at the end of a hard day when I couldn’t rest until I talked about it, but as I continued reading about their characteristics, how they retreat when problems arise, fear being thought of as inadequate or hypocritical or fear losing control and how, just like women, they have a need to be needed, I grew increasingly aware of my own shortcomings.

It occurred to me that part of the reason we have so many guys who are shirking responsibility and behaving immaturely is because women have not taken the time to be the helpers they were designed to be to them. Not to say it’s an excuse for the behavior, but it certainly sheds light on the reason why. Besides, if women were relentlessly criticized for the characteristics that were unique to them, they’d become bitter and rebellious too.

Men are human and they make mistakes just like women, but they still desire the same love, acceptance and approval that women do, they just express things differently. It is my hope that women reading this article, who are struggling with the differences in their relationships with their husbands that they will set aside their own expectations and spend some time thinking of the things you love about him. Find ways to bless him without placing demands on him. Iron his shirts, make him dinner, and allow him the freedom to unwind without complaining.

Chances are, your selflessness in ministering to his needs will uncover a beautiful work of art you never dreamed possible and you will witness the awesome beauty of a blooming flower that despite the thorns will be a fragrant blessing.

To read the article referenced above, go to, click on &uot;Husbands and Wives&uot; and &uot;More on Relationships&uot;.