Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romancing the Bone

“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.Genesis 2:18, 21-24 NKJV


I really wanted to do a clever, witty take on the title of the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner film, “Romancing the Stone”, but I couldn’t find a legitimate word for wife that rhymes with ‘stone’.  So, in the end I went with ‘bone’, hoping that with the addition of the Bible passage in which God himself proclaims that He took one of Adam’s ribs (i.e., a bone) and from that bone, created a woman/wife/spouse/helper/partner suitable for him.
I want you to note that all of those words (woman/wife/spouse/helper/partner suitable for him) are implied in the original text, very specific, and rich with theological, cultural, practical, and anthropological meaning.  From the very beginning of humankind on this planet it has always been God’s intention that the partnership we call marriage consist of a man and a woman, and that neither is superior to the other.  They are partners of equal standing in the relationship.  The phrase “ comparable to him” (êzer neged in the original Hebrew) literally means ‘equal counterpart.  That this equal counterpart is of the female gender is undeniably precise in any language.
That, however, is not the particular rabbit I want to chase this morning. 
I’m a child of the 50’s.  That means the television in my formative years showed families in which ‘father knew best,’ children obeyed and respected their parents, and husbands romanced their wives.  They bought them flowers and chocolates.  They opened doors for them and helped them put their coats on.  They held chairs, said please and thank you, and while Rob and Laura Petry slept in separate beds, they did show their affection for each other.
We used pen and paper to send ‘text messages’ even if our handwriting was undecipherable.  Typing a ‘love letter’ was impersonal.
The men of ‘my day’ (my father, grandfathers, uncles, etcetera) for the best part married their special someone, stayed married to her, and treated her respectfully.  Yes, I know there were exceptions.  As someone once said, “I’m crazy but I’m not stupid.”  My role models told their wives face to face that they love her.  They didn’t post an impersonal ‘hey love u babe – ur the gr8test’ status update on facebook, that looks more like they’re trying to convince themselves than the object of their badly spelled, grammatically incorrect affection.
On the other hand, given that these 21st century Casanovas only have individuals the likes of Bart and Homer Simpson, Roseann Barr, Charlie Sheen, Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Karsashian and the glitter encrusted vampires of Twilight fame to emulate, perhaps such impersonal dribble is 21st century romance.
Perhaps to these children of the 80’s and 90’s, telling your 694 ‘friends’ that you love your wife is enough.  I don’t know.
What I DO know is that I tell MY WIFE how I feel.  I make it a point to communicate my affection to and for her, face to face as many times in a day – every day –  that circumstances allow.  If the circumstances don’t fall in line naturally, I try to create them so I can both show her by my actions and tell her with my words that I love her more than any human being alive on this planet or any other.
The writer of Proverbs said in chapter thirty one that the man who finds a virtuous wife has found someone whose worth is more valuable than  that of precious stones.  It says of this woman, that :
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31: 28-30 NKJV

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul instructs husbands that they should cherish and nurture their wife and, should the circumstance arise, be willing to lay down his life for her.
Guys, here’s my point.  Your wife is special.  She is a precious gem.  A friend once said “if you’ve been married five years or more and you’re not happy with your wife, you’re doing something wrong.  You’re not following the Biblical precepts.”  Every human being is responsible for their own individual choices, but I think this idea has merit.  Good marriages don’t just happen – you have to work at them.  Both of you.
A wise man once asked me what I thought about this whole marriage thing.  I answered “It’s a 50-50 proposition.”  He told me in return, “If you really believe that, I don’t give it 6 months.  If you’re serious about making it last, you both have to give 100% percent to your wife/husband 100% of the time and expect nothing in return.  If you do that – you’ll be getting so much you won’t notice how much you’re giving.”
I met my wife 9 years ago this month.  We’ll be married eight years come October.  I’m getting so much I’m really not aware of what I’m giving, other than that for nine years now I’ve made every effort to romance my wife – to tell her as often as possible how much I love, respect, and appreciate her.
I know how precious my special jewel is, and I know how fortunate I am to have found her.  This week, she will celebrate a birthday.  She’ll be twenty years older than she actually looks.  Yeah, I know – it’s tough to bear that cross.
I don’t know what she sees in me or why she’s sticking it out, but I’m sure glad she is, and furthermore, I’m not going to post a status update to tell her.  It’s far more effective to whisper it in her ear while slipping her a chocolate chip cookie.

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