(HOW TO STAY MARRIED AND LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!)
The world operates on principles and laws. The principle is the core, the source, the unchanging catalyst. The law adapts and applies the principles to life itself. That’s reality. The basic principle always stands and we judge the law or rules to be good or bad.
When the apostle Paul wrote, “SOW AND YOU SHALL REAP“, He is expressing one of the great power principles of life. He doesn’t tell you how to sow or what to sow or when, or why, or even how the principle works. It assumes itself to be true and dares all to believe and practice it.
T.C. is the first of four I want to mention. T.C. stands for THINGS CHANGE! This timeless concept is necessary to cope with life. A fuller concept is “T. C. I. T.“, or Things Change In Time. Add a “P” and drop the “I” and you have “PEOPLE CHANGE IN TIME“. Your author is 80, his wife is 79. We married 60 years ago. Add all the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and you have 60 years of CHANGE. Divorce is simply a dissolution of the marriage contract between two people who cannot/or will not change.
We were before television, polio shots, antibiotics, and Frisbees. We lived before frozen foods, nylon, Dacron, Xerox and Kinsey. We were before radar, fluorescent lights, credit cards, and ballpoint pens. For us “time sharing” meant togetherness and a chip was a piece of wood off the old block and hardware meant hardware and software wasn’t even a word. In our time closets were for clothes, not for “coming out of” and “gay” meant someone happy and bunnies were small rabbits and rabbits were not Volkswagens. You could buy a Chevy coupe for $659 dollars and gasoline was 11 cents a gallon”. “T.C.!”
The second POWER PRINCIPLE IS “T. L. E.”. The concepts expressed in these letters spell “TEMPORARILY LOWER EXPECTATIONS“. Marriage is just the beginning of another KIND OF CHANGE. I found out very quickly, “what you sow you will reap.” Romance is heady and the saying, “I love you, baby”, “I need you baby”, “I can’t live without you, baby” and “I would die without you, baby” soon turn to “How in the world are we going to live together?” The honeymoon passed – that’s the short period of time between “I do” and “You’d better”. Sometimes, sowing the good seed is not all that easy. T.C. and T.L.E. fit together like hand in glove.
THEN CONSIDER THE INITIALS “Y.D.D.M.N.” When two people live together, legally as husband and wife tend to concentrate on the faults and not our own. In beholding the “Mote” in our spouse, we tend to overlook the “beam” in our own eye (Matthew 7: 1). What would you think if someone asked you to “pick their nose”? We would be insulted, repulsed, sickened. Yet we pick our own sometimes with joy and endeavor.
If we could just “T.C.” it and “T. L.E.” it, and concentrate on our own faults and weaknesses, we could cut the divorce rate to a mere trickle – it takes time to build lasting relationships. Remember the story of the kids who melted some Limburger cheese (the kind that smells like the out-house), and painted it on grandpa’s mustache while he slept. Grandpa woke, stretched his long boney frame and took a deep breath and sniffed again. Then checked the front door, back door and even the barn and declared, “It’s no use, the whole world’s rotten”. Sometimes it’s just something under your nose. When you put married folks together you just magnify faults two fold.
When you are given time, and you temporarily lower expectations and you find that Y.D.D.M.N. is mainly on your side of the fence, take a look at one more redeeming POWER PRINCIPLE, R.L. THESE TWO LETTERS STAND FOR “RELEASE LIFE”.
The Sea of Galilee is beautiful. We were eating “Peter’s fish” at one of the open seaside hotels and casting bits of bread over the retaining walls into the crystal water. Fish were plentiful and birds were everywhere. Flowers surrounded the sea with varied colors and the evergreen trees gave a beautiful back drop to the scene.
The continuous overflow of its waters formed the headwater of the Jordan. The sea simply RELEASED LIFE IT COULD NOT HOLD. We followed the Jordan for a long time and then suddenly another scene came into view. It was the bottom of the world. Nothing grew there. No plants, no trees, no life of any kind. Just large grotesque salt like figures pushing their way up from the shores around the lake. No fish lived and no birds flew and no flowers grew. The sea was 82 percent content salt. It is rightly called THE DEAD SEA.
Life is reflected in these two seas. One living and one dead. One receives and freely gives. The other only grasps and holds. Show me a husband and wife who receive and freely give and I will show you a marriage that is never threatened by divorce. One must release life – let go of it, and see it from a distance to understand it. Principles are simple yet complex. Laws and rules are the result of them, never the cause of them.