After Cathy and I had been married for a few years, we went on a little retreat. I can't really remember where we went, but it was some kind of Christian camp and it was off-season. That means we were about the only ones there. We took a walk and noticed a tether ball just hanging there begging for a game.
Now I'm a reasonably good-hearted guy and I wanted to make sure I didn't do anything to spoil the great time we were having. Therefore, I decided to "take it easy" on her. She immediate took advantage of the situation and demolished me! Certain that I had made it too simple for her to win, I amped it up a bit. She stomped me again! After several games and total humiliation of my male ego, we (blessedly) quit.
It turns out that Cathy is quite a competitor and she LOVES games. We play some sort of table game at mealtime almost every day and sometimes we play at both lunch and supper. It only takes 10 or 15 minutes and it's an important part of our marriage. Our current game is a fast-paced double solitaire we call Pounce. Some of you call it Nerts. We both have winning streaks from time to time and she is currently heaping me with daily doses of humility.
Still, I hate to lose! It's as if a volcano erupts within me when I can't seem to get ahead. Why is that? Am I really so fragile that a meaningless table game can spoil my meal? How does that fit in with love, joy, peace, gentleness and all those other "fruity" things Paul wrote about in Galatians 5?
What are you learning about yourself when your spouse makes you tense?