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A gift sweeter than the rain of heaven

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13 NASB)

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken heart spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 NASB)

Several years ago, my good friend Kenny put me onto The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin. I enjoyed the book so much that I’ve read a number of things from Wangerin’s pen since. One of his better essays, found in his book Ragman, is entitled "Fights Unfought, Forgiveness Forgone”. In it, Wangerin describes the passive/aggressive tactics used by him and his wife against each other in the early years of their marriage. When disagreements came up, she would invariably cry, and he would respond by storming out the door and walking the streets for 2 or 3 hours. On one memorable fight, they had gone through the usual cycle of begging, tears, pressure, stomping's, undeserved accusations, and pouting. To cap it off, Wangerin put on his overcoat, ran down the stairs, bolted out the door, and slammed it shut behind him… leaving his coat tail caught in the door. He reached into his pocket for the key, but there was no key. He was caught. At that point he had 2 options: slip out of the coat and go on his two-hour pout in freezing weather or ring the doorbell and humiliatingly wait for his wife to open the door. After about 10 minutes he rang the doorbell, and his wife came down the stairs. When she opened the door and saw what had happened, she started laughing. She laughed so hard that tears ran down her face, and she put her hand on her husband’s shoulder to steady herself. Wrote Wangerin, “This was the gift of God, arranging armistice, staging reconciliation between a wife and the husband, a gift more sweet than all the rain of heaven.” But instead of laughing with her, which would have defused the tension immediately, Wangerin went on his pouty walk in his blind, sophomoric pride. Laughter is not only the best medicine, it may be the best marriage counsel you’ll ever get.

Husbands/wives, never allow your pride to prevent you from defusing your own stupidity.

When in the company of young couples or young people in general, one of the things I like to recommend are traits in people that are either flags or appeals. The last one I list, but often the easiest to identify and emulate is having a sense of humor. In short, don’t take yourself so seriously. Allow others to sport and have fun at your expense. This real quality can save a marriage at times. Most of the time, humor is appreciated and causes others to relax, trust and enjoy.

Dana Emery


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