Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wife Rule #49: We're Always Better Together

My wife and I recently attended a home show. You know, the kind of excess-on-parade spectacle that always manages to convince me that if I ever want to be happy, I've just got to have a waterfall in our yard. Preferably as part of the swimming pool complex. And an indoor bowling lane.

Anyway, the master bedroom in one of the homes we visited had not one, but two giant flat-panel TVs. I stood there, pondering why in the world one room could possibly need two high-end, luxury model, flat-panel TVs, when my wife and I still seemed to get by just fine with only one old-fashioned bubble-screen television in the house. (Okay, actually, we have two, but one is in the exercise room and seldom gets used, and is so old that it only shows three different colors and only picks up three different channels. So that one doesn't really count as a TV, any more than our microwave does. Come to think of it, I think the microwave gets better reception.)

While processing all these very important thoughts, I must have looked incredibly unenlightened, because suddenly I found us being approached by the male half of an older couple who happened to be in the room at the same time as us. With a knowing tone in his voice, he offered, "I'll tell you young folks the secret to forty years of happy marriage."

This ought to be interesting, I thought, sizing him up. Obviously looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't the secret. That came as a huge relief. I look more like Mr. Potato Head.

He continued: "The secret to a happy marriage is two TVs with headphones in the master bedroom. That way she can watch her show, and I can watch my show, and no one has to hear the other's show!"

That was it. The golden key. Why didn't I think of that? Why isn't that the standard first step in marriage counselling?

While retreating into headphones and shutting out the sound of one's spouse's existence for a couple of hours every night might prevent arguing over which show to watch, maybe--I know I'm going out on a limb here--there's more to a healthy marriage than two TV shows at a time?

When God created Adam and Eve in the garden, I don't recall anything about issuing them each a set of head phones (although as an aside, I'm quite certain that the serpent listened to a lot of rap music). In fact, besides the clothes they were given, I think God mostly just gave them knowledge and commandments to work together and be a family. Fighting over who was in charge wasn't to be a part of their union, and neither was shutting each other out. What was the secret then?

Perhaps the answer lies in Adam's realization after God first brought Eve to him:

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 shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24)

Adam realized that symbolically he and Eve started out as one flesh, and as a couple, they were to cleave together and act as one, always.

They did this so very well. Even when Eve at the forbidden fruit, Adam chose to eat with her, and they left the garden together, side by side (Genesis 3:6,23). They knew that each depended on the other for more than just procreation; they depended on each other for work, for companionship, for conversation, for growth and learning, for life. They were each fully invested in the other's happiness. Even if sticking together meant a change of address, hard work, challenges, sickness, and eventual death, they knew it was better to go through it together than alone.

My wife and I fell in love with Jack Johnson's song Better Together while on our trip to Hawaii together. There's a few lines in this song that describe just how I feel about my wife:

Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? and where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing: its always better when we're together

I think these few lines tell it all: the story of Adam and Eve, and the story of all happy couples. Life is full of questions, many of which we don't know all the answers to, but some things are certain: Love is the overriding purpose for life, and we're always better together.

With or without twin flat-panel TVs.

1 comment:

chelse said...

amen! thanks for using Jack as inspiration! BOMB DOT COM!