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If laundry is taken down to a certain basement, watch your step. Be especially careful because a very large log is in the bowels of this house. This tree trunk, well it’s a marriage counselor.
When visiting a long time friend in Massachusetts, he gave us a tour of Cape Ann. As we drove past landscapes, seascapes and landmarks, our host Chris Larsen, told us tidbits of information about locales and locals.
As we passed one home, Chris said his grandmother and step-grandfather had lived there. Then Chris told us about the earlier marriage advice his granddad gave him. He invited Chris into the basement, and on the way said, “Always let the wife win.”
In the basement, to Chris’ surprise, sat a heavy log with spikes protruding. His granddad said whenever he felt marriage related frustrations, he retreated to pound a heavy-duty piece of metal into the log. “By the time you’re finished hammering in the spike your frustration is gone.”
It doesn’t take too long after wedding vows before irritants surface. For married couples who draw battle lines, things as small as a muddied kitchen floor or an over budget purchase can cause words and worse to be hurled.
A wise wife knows words can wound like arrows, and that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). An astute man teaches his family forgiveness—he leads in charity.
When both parties yield to God’s love, it doesn’t matter if the couple met in Kindergarten or through a marriage broker. God’s lived-out love always trumps backgrounds and personalities. One man said he’d just like to go to sleep and let God create a wife for him. Yep, he knew it would cost him a rib.
With nearly 41 marriage years under the same roof, I recommend two loving habits to those who long to strengthen marriages: respect and common courtesies. Respect the contributions that each person brings to the relationship. No spousal belittling allowed in private, in public or behind backs.
Also, work common courtesies into every day: Thank you. You’re welcome. May I get you anything? Sure, I’ll scratch your back.
All problems have solutions, as a novice husband learned when he asked his new bride, “Now that we are married, do you think you will be able to live on my small income?"
"Of course, dearest, no trouble," she said. "But what will you live on?"
Maybe a trip to the hardware store is a good idea. Pick up the large bag of spikes.