Wednesday, 12 May 2010

English Muffins Can Lead to Divorce

Elizabeth Bernstein’s column in the April 20th edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled “Honey, Do You Have to…” told of a wife who asked her husband for a divorce. Among her list of grievances was that her husband “never buttered the English muffins to the edges.”

The column went on to say that “Aggravation over the little characteristics we would like to change about our mate can build up over time and become much more than the sum of their parts.” Research professor Terri Orbuch, director of the Early Years of Marriage Project at the University of Michigan, suggests that “it’s the seemingly small things that pull (couples) apart.” Dr. Orbuch, also known as the Love Doctor, contends that It is the dirty socks left on the floor, the dirty dishes that are left inches from the dishwasher, various issues in the bathroom (let’s not go there), and the “smacking of lips” when chewing that eventually send one spouse or the other the proverbial edge. While it appears that Dr. Orbuch’s book Five Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great offers some good advice, her theology may be questionable as she recommends, “ If all else fails, go to bed mad.” I proffer that the Apostle Paul might take exception with this advice. ( Ephesians 4:26)

Sadly I suspect there is more truth to this article than most of us would be willing to acknowledge. Several thoughts come racing to my head – hey at my age that is not easy for me. One comes from a very astute friend who wisely asks, “Is what you are irritated about something that is important to God?” The Peacemaker principle would be to overlook the offense. Carolyn Mahaney would suggest that if you are feeling less than loving toward your spouse it is time for self-examination, most likely there is a sin issue with which you need to deal. Elisabeth Elliot would suggest that you decide to enjoy and appreciate the 80% of what your spouse does that meets your expectations because you can work on the other 20% for a life time and see little or no change. Andy Stanley would say – lose the expectations; you are only creating a debtor relationship. This is a zero sum game where meeting expectations gets me to zero but failing to meet the expectations creates a deficit. The Apostle Paul who in writing to the Colossians said, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Well I’ve run out of names to drop. Suffice it to say when we try people in the “court of Me” the verdict will never be impartial and the punishment I dole out won’t always fit the crime.

I prefer orange marmalade on my English muffins anyway.

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