Today marks our sixth anniversary, and between the two of us we have a lot of experience in marriage despite the low number that represents. The wisest piece of advice that I can offer in looking towards our success and the continuing success down the road in marriage is to know where your story stick is.
What is a story stick? Well, in woodworking it’s a way of making a repeatable thing by referencing something known. If you picture cutting a board, if you make a mistake like I did once (or twice) and reference the next board from the one you just cut . . . you’ll progressive error and have boards that are too short. This is because you are not allowing for the saw kerf . . . a fancy word for what is chewed out of the wood. You can also use a story stick to repeat where something goes – like a shelf or board in a project. It’s a known entity that you can reference back to – like a cornerstone on a building. You don’t reference the wall from the stones beside it, you reference them back to the beginning stone. Each stone can vary just a bit with the cement, but if your rows aren’t referenced from that beginning stone you get off.
So how does this reference back to marriage? Well, my story stick . . . my source of joy or well being . . . being sad, angry, or glad – all of it has to come from with something other than my spouse. Now don’t get me wrong, my wife Peggy is awesome, but she’s also human. Likewise I’m human and we both miss and mess things up. My story stick has to reference back to something else that will not fail in how it measures up or how it measures me. For me and Peggy, we both let God be that story stick. Our fulfillment doesn’t come through the other – I am not Peggy’s soul mate, and she is not mine. Our soul mate is our creator and his Son.
We don’t compare ourselves to anyone else, or anyone else’s marriage – because this is ours and we know what it should be based on Biblical truths. Yesterday our reading (and our subsequent video . . . which we are still working on) was the 1 Corinthians 13 verse. It probably decorates a lot of walls and gets spoken at marriages. If you back up to the 12:27 you might see a little more insight into that story stick.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV)
If I consider myself a part of that body, and if I know that my wife does the same . . . how can we reject or act in a way that isn’t consistent with that? When we both operate from that perspective we see our failings and shortcomings as well as the things we do right – from our individual story stick. Time will tell, but if you look back at other successful marriages I think we are on the right track. Not saying that you can’t stay married for a long time to someone – but wouldn’t you like to enjoy the experience? We do.