The Rabbit That Saved a Marriage
She and her husband had become strangers. Would God answer her prayers for a reconciliation?
There was a time when I would greet my husband at the door when he got home from work. Today I just stayed at the kitchen table. I’d had a long day teaching, and Doug and I had less and less to say to each other.
“Gotta get my bike ride in before dark,” he announced by way of hello. In a flash he was gone again. Seemed like that’s all Doug cared about anymore: work and riding his bike.
It hadn’t always been this way. For 35 years Doug and I had shared everything. We’d raised two children together, went out on Friday nights. We skied, took long walks and played a mean game of doubles. But somehow, without us noticing, we’d grown apart.
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When our youngest daughter, Kris, left for college I felt like I was living with a stranger. We’d gone to counseling and tried to work out our differences, but the fun and friendship that had once joined us together was gone. Maybe forever.
With no one at home to talk to, I called Kris at school. Hearing her voice brought back memories of happier times. As a young girl, she bred rabbits. Doug and I had spent hours setting up hutches in the yard for all her rabbit families. I remembered one of them cuddling in her lap while she watched TV.
I could use a cuddly friend myself these days, I thought. “Kris,” I said, “what would you think of me getting a rabbit?”
“Rabbits are easy to care for,” Kris said. “It’s a great idea.”
That next day I told Doug about my plans. He looked at me like I was crazy. Guess this will be one more thing I’ll be doing alone, I thought. I went to get dressed for the 4-H show. When I was ready, Doug surprised me by offering to drive. “Won’t you miss your bike ride?” I snapped.
He shrugged. “I can help you carry the cage home.”
At the fair, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of rabbits on display. So many different breeds, each with its own personality. Doug favored the Checkered Giants. “Fifteen pounds?” I said. “Too big. What about one of the dwarves?”
“They look more like guinea pigs,” Doug said. We couldn’t even agree on a rabbit! I was ready to disregard his opinion completely when he pointed to a black-and-white fellow nearby.
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“It’s a Mini Rex,” I said. “It looks just like Cotton.”
Cotton was one of Kris’s childhood pets, one of our favorites. I stroked the Mini Rex through his wire cage. His fur was like velvet, soft as a cloud. We took him home.
I named my new pet Buck Bandito—Bucky for short, and set to work making space for him in the laundry room. Although Doug approved of Bucky, I had no illusions about him sharing the responsibility.
Bucky hopped around the laundry room, getting to know his new home, rubbing his chin on everything, marking the space as his own.
We worked on litter training for the first couple of weeks. Bucky learned fast. “You’re a smart rabbit,” Doug said on his way out for a bike ride. I was surprised he’d noticed.
The next day, shortly after I’d gotten home from school Doug called from work. “What’s wrong?” I said. Doug never called during the day unless it was an emergency.
“I was just calling to check up on our new addition,” he said.
“Bucky?” I said. “He’s fine. In fact, he’s on his second lap around the laundry room.” I told Doug about all the things Bucky had done since I got home. Just little things, like how cute he looked nibbling on my shoe, but Doug seemed happy to listen.
The following afternoon he called home again for an update. I got to expect his call at the same time each evening.