The Most Offensive Post



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.



Learning To Fly

The other day I was driving down the road with my wife and as usual some woodland creatures were scurrying along in front of our vehicle.  This time it was a bird and with the menacing approach (as menacing as a 1999 Toyota Rav4 can be) this little chap started from a slow gait to a bobbing furry of little feet.  My wife screamed out to the bird (since he can obviously hear from the air tight cabin confines over the muscular roar of a the four cylinder engine) that he should get out of the way.  At some point a neuron or two must have connected with a synapse or two and the bird stopped running and thought “oh wait, I have wings and can fly” which he did rapidly out of the precarious position of becoming a Rav4 hood ornament.  We laughed quite a bit about that little bird and how he had simply forgotten his natural inclination of flight to instead attempt to run out of harms way.

The aviary world can actually teach us quite a bit on things of life.  I believe that God created the heavens and the Earth, and all the creatures so sometimes studying how they work is beneficial for our own lives.  Consider Solomon as he observed the simple ant:

Proverbs 6:6-9 - New International Version (NIV)

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?

This morning we sat eating and my wife observed a bird out on a branch.  I spied the bird’s mate nearby.  The males are more brightly colored than the females by design.  They take the role of distractor if the female is threatened.  The females are able to blend in with their environment a bit better.  I can only imagine what kind of courage it takes a little bird to flutter and fiercely defend it’s nest, it’s offspring and it’s mate against predators of far greater size and with larger appetites.   A bird was designed to do what birds do, which seems pretty simple to say but thinking of us humans we have way more opportunities to mess that up.

My wife shared a story a particular bird that makes it’s nest in the side of hills.  The two birds make the nest together and then the female is sealed up inside the hillside dwelling alone with just a small hole that the male comes to feed her and the subsequent offspring through.  Each of those birds and their example is very powerful in it’s own right.  That started my own synapses to fire and thing about how we live out our lives on a day to day basis.  Where do we walk instead of run?  Where do we run when we can actually fly?  How do we defend and serve our families?

Let me challenge you men today to ask your wife about what would make her feel secure.  Chances are it will not be the bass boat, the house, or the figure in your bank account.  Knowing you are there for her and your children will (I’m guessing here) be her deepest concern.  If it’s not that then you might need to dig a little bit further because there might be something terribly amiss already in your relationship.  I can speak boldly on that topic because I know how I have missed those important points.   I was easily distracted by the title attached to my name and the number of dollars on my pay check.  I consider a blessing and a curse at times to be in technology as in the world of development that can mean today’s bleeding knowledge is tomorrow’s forgotten obsolescence.  I’ve worked for many companies that are no longer in business, but I have a family that suffered silently for them.   Relationships matter much more than stock offerings in vaporware.

If you take that challenge today, know that I have already prayed that your wife will be honest with you and that you can accept what she offers you.   It could be a very sobering conversation.  It could be that conversation brings you or her to the close to the final straw, or it could be that one that finally opens a door that really needed opening before it gets that far.  Our wives don’t need  what Oprah says, or what some commercial says they are lacking.   They need us to be fully present and willing to listen to their hearts of what they need.  You might think that you’ll be getting by a little easier but chances are there are a lot of things that you might need to give up to fulfill that calling.  Just like God gave birds wings to fly, he gave men the tools to protect and nurture a family.  Sometimes we are too busy running along the ground pursuing other things thinking that is the ultimate goal.   If this hits home for you today, contact me privately or share your feelings below.