“A Successful Collection of Failures”

Sample Stories

A Tale of Two Ties

One significant part of my life has not been discussed in this book: relationships with young women before I met my wife. This isn’t because I want to hide anything from her (she already knows) but rather that these relationships aren’t worth discussing. Any relationship I had prior to meeting Annette was one of great frustration and internal stress.

The young women I was involved with in the past did not possess the qualities Annette does. Annette is logical, decisive, determined, and beautiful. To put this in strictly guy terms—she has both beauty and brains. However, this phrase alone still does not do Annette justice since the benefits of her love go far beyond this. It’s difficult to put into perspective, but I feel Annette maintains a perfect balance of her gifts. She’s logical, but open minded enough to listen and even try strategies of unconventional thinking. She can make a decision yet is not stubborn. She is strong-willed but at the same time willing to compromise. Annette is a devout woman, whose love for her family is demonstrated in her daily sacrifices for each of us.

Annette does, however, possess an attribute common to all women I have met. My somewhat limited personal experience has led me to believe that women are subtle when it comes to the signals they send to men. It was only a short time after we were married when I realized this. I was putting on a suit that I had worn a few times when we were dating. I laid out two neckties at the foot of the bed. They were both gifts from Annette given to me during our engagement. I felt that either one would match well with my suit.

I asked Annette for her opinion. I wanted her to recognize that I was only considering her two gifts and that I valued her opinion. Her response was, “Both of them look fine, pick one.” I rephrased my question. She replied the same way. I feared picking the ‘wrong’ one so I asked a third time. I clarified that I was seeking her input because I wanted to wear whatever one she wanted me to. I walked over to the bed and pushed my knee out towards them, indicating my need for greater attention.

Her answer was the same. I walked around the room deep in thought trying to understand what she was thinking. I didn’t want our first argument to be about such a frivolous thing as choosing a tie. I could only justify arguments over important issues—like what sport is the most fun to watch on TV. I purposefully walked back to the bed and grabbed the thin end of one tie. Picking it up seemed to create more interest from Annette than anything I had done up to this point. Before the fat part of the tie had left the bed Annette asked, “What’s wrong with the other one?”

I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. I don’t think I even answered her. In a confused state, I returned the tie in my hand to the closet, and chose to wear the “other one” that evening.

It's never too late to change.

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