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Sharon Randall: Stop, look back … and listen

Someone once told me that the real issues in any relationship rarely surface until after about the first three years.
And then they never go away.
But sometimes the issues rise quickly to the top ó like chunks of soured cream in a big glass of buttermilk ó especially when the relationship is marriage.
My husband and I were married six years ago. We dated for five years before that and worked together (he was my editor) for a decade before it occurred to him to ask me out.
I donít recall the initial issues in our relationship. Thatís not to say there werenít any. Far be it from me to say that. But for some reason, I canít remember what they were. Or maybe I donít care to put them in a column. Either way, I will say this: The man has a tendency to leave me in the dust.
I first noticed it when we were dating ó not so much when it was just the two of us, mostly when we were in a crowd. He would take off like the lead husky on a dog-sled team and leave me in back to bring up the rear.
Have you ever brought up the rear on a dog sled? It is not the most pleasant of tracks to trot.
The world is comprised, it seems, of two kinds of people: Those who are born to lead, and those who are born dumb enough to follow. My husband is of the former. I am of the latter.
That, in itself, is not a bad thing. Leaders need followers and followers need leaders. It takes both to get where you want to go ó a reciprocal arrangement like so many others in marriage.
All I am saying is this: If leaders want followers to keep trotting after them, is it too much to ask that they at least glance back over their shoulders on occasion to make sure the followers are still alive?
I donít mind following. I am good at it. I just donít like the feeling that Iím being ditched. We have discussed at length my feelings on the matter, and he tries, I think, to be sensitive.
Once, soon after we moved to Las Vegas, we went shopping on a day that was dangerously close to what my grandmother would call slightly hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell.
As we started across a parking lot, trying not to mire up in a sea of melting asphalt, my husband bolted ahead of me. Twenty yards later, he looked back.
ěRun!î I shouted, pretending to swoon. ěForget you ever knew me! Run on! Save yourself!î
After that, he hardly ever ditched me anymore. Dr. Phil, I was sure, would be proud.
But recently, it happened again. We went to Loweís to look at appliances. Maybe most Loweís are big, but this one was like ěBig Mommaî Loweís. I have lived in smaller states. We had to walk 20 miles to get to the appliances. Pretty soon he was walking ahead of me.
So I hid behind a shelf of light bulbs and waited to see how far heíd go before he missed me.
He went a long way. I ran after him and hid again. He kept walking. I kept running and hiding. Finally, he looked back.
ěYou didnít even miss me!î I said. ěI couldíve been dead under a pile of light bulbs!î
He rolled his eyes. ěI knew you werenít dead.î
ěHow could you know that?î I said. ěYou never looked back!î
ěI didnít have to look. I could hear you.î
ěYou could hear me?î
He pointed to my flip-flops. ěYeah,î he said, grinning. ěI could hear your feet.î
Then he took my hand and led me off to the appliances.
Itís easy to feel unappreciated, invisible and forgotten, when no one seems to notice all the little things you do.
But the next time you think no one is watching, stop and think again. Maybe theyíre just listening for the sound of your feet.

Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.

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