Chapter 21 – Kumamatata

Being happily married is possible for a life time, but that does not mean you are happy all the time!  We have shared many secrets of our success, after divorcing and then reconciling.  We have now been married a total of 38 years.   This chapter is about the most important struggle we face and is the most important lesson I can learn…and I have struggled with this for 38 years in fact!

First, a little recap about our greatest secret to success, the BEST principle:  Whenever one of us felt the other stepping out of line (said something negative about each other in front of others) the “wronged” person would whisper “BEST” to point out, “that hurt!”  And immediately, the bad behavior would stop!  Wow, it was exhilarating to be able to fix what was wrong and in time, we hope others who are around us, see that we are very careful to protect each other’s feelings and to build up and edify each other!

So you want to know what the biggest issue is we have?  It is our need for Kumamatata, or “no worries”!  A few years ago, we spent a day at Animal Kingdom in Disney World.  We learned about Kumamatata on the Safari and it was reinforced when we watched the Lion King.

WOW – it hit us that we needed Kumamatata in our lives!  We tend to live a pretty regimented lifestyle with more obligations than we care to admit, so we do get a bit tense in certain situations.  Sadly, we have been a very poor witness to others, usually strangers, when we are put on the spot or can’t agree on something.

For about a year after we learned about it, we began to incorporate it like BEST.  If we were in a tense situation, we would just say, Kumamatata and then let it go!  But slowly, we fell off the wagon.   We have had some tense moments, usually when Bill feels he is right about something, I challenge him and we forget our Kumamatata!  It is never pretty, but usually we are alone….

The first time we really embarrassed ourselves in public was when we went on our first “mountain” vacation in the Colorado Rockies.  It was a pretty big travel day there from Florida and we had a full day planned as soon as we arrived.  So everything was going smoothly until we got to the counter at the car rental place.  (If you have seen the Sienfield show, it was a similar experience!)  Needless to say, it turned into a huge confrontation!

After losing our tempers and making a scene in essence, we found our Kumamatata and left in our rental.  We talked about how bad we were, let it ruin an otherwise easy but long trip…and said we would never do that again!!!   Until the other day!  Once again, on vacation, we went back down that same type of road – but I think we got at the root of the REAL problem!  Oh no, here comes some real transparency….as much as we hate to admit it, we have another problem and I don’t think we have every brought it out in the open!

So here we are, on vacation, which should always be stress free, right?  For the most part, it has been.  We stopped by the grocery store one morning to pick up a few things.  We had a few items, including fruit that had to be weighed.  When we were trying to pick the best checkout line (all were full), even the 10 items or less lines …except the self-serve!  I said let’s go there, because they had a cashier overseeing the check out.  Bill said no, it is never good to take items that need to be weighed into the self-serve.

I insisted, so you know what is going to happen, right?  It turned into a disaster!   We lost our patience with each other and with the poor cashier, who seemed helpless to help us!  We asked for the manager and then somehow, figured out what we needed and got out of there.   And so embarrassed and mad at ourselves we forgot our Kumamatata!

We had to get at the root of the problem!  So I flashed back to well-known verses, the most important for ME is verse 33:   Ephesians, Chapter 5, verses 25-33:

25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.   He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

I knew immediately the problem was that Bill did not feel I respected him!  There is no doubt Bill loves me, but I have struggled with being respectful!  He is so concerned that if I am about to walk in front of an out of control truck and he says “run,” I’ll stop and say, “Why?”  It is that simple.  I seem to question his authority.  Did it really matter that I pushed for the self-serve?  I wanted to hurry to our next destination, but as Bill pointed out, my haste caused us to waste at least 10 minutes!!!

So this blog is my public confession to Bill:  Please forgive me for constantly challenging you and not respecting you as you deserve!  Thank you for loving me as much or really more than yourself!   You always put me first, think of the little things for me and have been the best husband I could ever have imagined I would have!  This is my promise to you, FINALLY, I get it!!!