Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Why Didn’t I Just Give Him Jell-O?

33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[a]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [b]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].  Ephesians 5:33 Amplified Bible

In their latest book, The Marriage App, unlocking the irony of intimacy, authors Paul and Virginia Friesen tell the story of John and Wendy.  They had been married for 38 years before John lost his battle to cancer.  By most accounts they had a good marriage.  Shortly after John’s death Paul and Virginia were ministering to Wendy when she started to cry.  The Friesens assumed that Wendy was recalling a special time with John.  When asked she blurted out, “I wish I’d made him more Jell-O.”

Wendy went on to acknowledge that she did not like Jell-O and declined to make it most of the time, claiming it was all empty calories.  She continued “the real reason was not all the nutritional stuff, but just that I plain didn’t want to make him Jell-O.  I didn’t like it…I wish I had made him more Jell-O”

If your spouse were to pass away unexpectedly, would you have a “Jell-O moment”?

After the home going of my first wife I remarried.  Kathleen is considerably younger and perhaps since it was her first marriage she was quite concerned that I would die prematurely.  Consequently since day one of our marriage she has catered to me as though I were royalty.  She has given new definition to the respect part of Ephesians 5:33.   On the day the Lord decides to call me home, Kathleen will have nothing to regret – no Jell-O moments.

So why don’t we buy our wife flowers more often when we know how much she loves them?   Why don’t we save the last chocolate chip cookie for him since they are his favorites?  Why don’t we shut off the football game and go for a walk when we know how much quality time means to her?  What stops us from giving him words of affirmation when we know he thrives on them?  What is preventing us from giving her a big hug every time we walk in the door because we know that touch is her love language.  I could go on but I think you get the point.

One thing of which I am reasonably sure, none of us wants to have a Jell-O moment when we look upon the passing of someone we love.

Monday, 20 May 2013

“Operator’s Manual – The Bible”

In their newly released book The Marriage App, the Friesens tell two stories having to do with automobiles.  In the first story a friend of Paul’s loaned him his Lexus Hybrid SUV which Paul graciously filled with regular gas on route to returning the car.  The owner of the car was equally as gracious offering to pay for the premium gas the next time Paul borrowed it.  Apparently the manufacturer suggests the higher octane gas will improve the performance of the car. In the second case another friend bought a sports car.  After 35000 miles the engine froze.  It was discovered that he had never changed the oil, let alone followed the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance plan.

Paul’s point, which is unmistakable, is that manufacturers provide manuals for a reason. “Unless you maintain cars properly, you will be disappointed in their performance.  Similarly,, many of us put  only  “regular gas” into our marriages and neglect to “change the oil” and then are dumbfounded when the marriage functions poorly or seems to stop working at all.  Nothing is wrong with marriage, but many of us have not heeded the “manufacturer’s guidelines.”  That would be the Bible.

Most States in the United States require annual automobile inspections.  Often the maintenance person checks for emission problems, checks the amount of tread on the tires, checks the brake pads, etc.  IF the car passes the inspection the car gets a sticker that is good for one year.  Perhaps we should encourage our law makers to require an annual marriage inspection, nothing elaborate, just a few check points from the Book of Ephesians, chapter 5, verses 21 through 33.

Not unlike automobiles there is already a system in place for trading in your used marriage. There are other similarities.  Marriage is expensive to maintain but far more costly emotionally and financially to trade in.   The same can be said of cars. A car looks great the day you drive it out of the showroom but after a while it begins to show wear and tear.  Just as a bride and groom look great coming down the aisle, marriage too can show signs of wear and tear.  Regardless of its appearance, a car that is highly reliable is worth its weight in gold.  The same can be said for a married couple who has weathered the storms of life together and become stronger.