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When it comes to marriage, just follow the instructions

When it comes to marriage, just follow the instructions

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 11:18 am
By: By CHRIS MENEES Messenger Staff Reporter

Men.
You have to roll your eyes and make a huffing sound while saying the word to get the full effect. Let’s try again.
Men.
See? Doesn’t that feel better?
There are a lot of things I don’t understand about the opposite sex. And I’m not alone. Many a book has been written on the subject.
For example, I don’t understand how big burly manly-men can be afraid of showing emotion or hugging one another, yet consider it perfectly fine to pat other men on the behind and chest-bump each other on the baseball field or in the locker room.
And why is it a man is perfectly fine sitting through a three-hour football game but can’t last two hours through the latest chick flick?
It’s a mystery to me.
In all fairness to men everywhere, though, I know there are many things about women that are a complete mystery to them. They, too, are rolling their eyes, gritting their teeth and muttering, “Women …”
For instance, men who think of “shopping” as going straight for the one item on their list and racing for the check-out will never understand how women can turn shopping into a day-long event that can actually become a full-contact sport if anyone dares cross our path during a good clearance sale.
And let’s not even talk about why it’s necessary for a woman to speak so many more words in a day than a man does. Even our 7-year-old granddaughter has noticed this phenomenon and recently asked her mother, “Why do girls talk so much?” (Personally, I think it’s because we have to repeat everything at least twice so our husbands will actually be listening the second time around.)
Still, despite their quirky little habits, there are a lot of great qualities to love and admire about men.
I love a man who’s willing to protect me and care for me and serve as the spiritual leader of his home, who’s secure enough in his manhood that he’s not afraid to cry or gush over a baby or help with everyday household chores.
In fact, in our home, forget the flowers or the candy. There’s nothing that sweeps me off my feet more than coming home to find the floors freshly vacuumed or the laundry neatly folded. (But if my husband ever learns to cook, I fear it may threaten my job security.)
I’ll admit, though, sometimes I’ll hear about a couple who have been married for 65 or 75 years and I’ll wonder how they’ve done it without killing one another or going crazy. It’s truly a remarkable accomplishment, especially in today’s fast-paced throw-away society.
I’ve always thought that marriage should come with an instruction book. And, actually, it does. It’s called the Bible.
I love what God has to say about marriage (which, by the way, is only meant to be between a man and a woman) and how He designed it.
It’s easy to be reminded of the obligations of a husband to his wife and of a wife to her husband when you listen to someone exchange wedding vows, but it’s not necessarily something you think about on a daily basis. After all, the honeymoon’s over once you realize you’ve married this less-than-perfect person who leaves the toilet seat up or tosses dirty socks on the floor or snores like a freight train.
But I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot in recent days — 19 of them, to be exact. That’s what day I’m on while working my way through “The Love Dare,” the wonderful book from the brothers who wrote, directed and produced the Christian film “Fireproof.”
Believe me, it’s been a real eye-opener so far. And I still have 21 more days to go on my 40-day “Love Dare.”
I’ve been reminded about the importance of communication and compromise, of patience and respect, of kindness and forgiveness, and — most important — of praying for your spouse.
I’ve been reminded that I’m not perfect either, and that God is honored when I treat my husband the same way I want to be treated.
I’m also reminded that the challenge of marriage doesn’t end when my beloved and I finish “The Love Dare” and that it’s a lifelong commitment that continues far beyond the book’s end on Day 40.
There will still be days when I feel like throwing in the towel and there will still be crises that will challenge me to consult God’s instruction book.
But I feel like I’m up to the challenge.
After all, I’ve been dared.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.07.08

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