But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelation 2:4
The theme is familiar to the newspaper advice columnist who presides over the ills of the Average Wife. Her letter reads perennially the same: My husband is a decent, hard-working man. We have a nice home and financial security. He is good to the kids and treats me well. My friends think I’m so lucky. So what’s my gripe? I’m not sure, but lately all I want to do is cry. I want to be touched and held without having sex. I want my mate to share his thoughts with me, go for a walk with me, read a book or gaze at the stars with me. Isn’t that what we used to do when we were young and poor and much in love?
Grow up, lady, snaps back the columnist – just bristling with finely honed common sense! Wake up and thank your lucky stars. Kisses and fancy words are cheap. Learn to appreciate your decent, hard-working man who brings home the bread and the bacon. Become a sports fan. Join a ladies’ reading circle. Write poetry. Volunteer time in a nursing home and put your empty arms around the needy elderly. Get a new hairdo. Have you had a medical checkup lately? You sound depressed. (Part 1 of 2)
Comment: To many an average marriage comes the day of reckoning when a dumbfounded mate finds himself groping through the rubble of the predictable life that just crashed in on him. To the husband served with walking papers by his high school sweetheart, this comes as a jolt of seismic significance. Why would she jeopardize the fruit of long years of labor – children, assets, reputation – just because he failed to recognize her emotional and spiritual needs? Did he not attend church and buy candy on their anniversary? “I thought we had a good thing going,” he mutters in a tone of genuine perplexity. “You never asked – you never listened!” sobs the spouse who has become a disturbing stranger seemingly overnight. Brace for the aftershocks of complex consequences.
Paul warns of deeds done at the expense of fundamental relationship. “If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). The hell of fiery regrets? Ask the fellow whose life went up in smoke through an unexpected divorce. One day he was Joe Cool with a home and all creature comforts. The next, he was a statistic in a motel room – so broken he wanted to sob on his dog’s neck, only the pet went with the house. He can laugh about it later, having picked up the pieces and learned to appreciate the more perceptive person living in his skin. Outwardly the wound will heal where the amputation of the past took place, but the burning phantom pain of regret will create its own haunting reality nonetheless.