THE DUET

by David Sisler

Rebecca was looking through the family photo album. She was fascinated with the old sepia-style pictures and the old fashioned clothing. As she leafed through the pages, her grandmother identified various family members and friends. There were no photographs of her grandparents standing together. They were always seated.

When Rebecca asked the reason for the curious arrangement, her grandmother explained, "I was six inches taller than your Grandfather, and he was often sensitive about the difference in our heights.

"Grandma," Rebecca asked, "how could you have fallen in love with a man six inches shorter than you?"

"Honey," she said, "we fell in love sitting down, and when I stood up, it was too late."

A little girl was attending a wedding for the first time. She whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?"

Her mother explained, "White is the color of happiness and today is the happiest day of her life."

A few minutes later, the little girl asked, "So why is the groom wearing black?"

Rebecca's grandmother instinctively pointed out a fact about romance and marriage and the two are not mutually exclusive we really do fall in love sitting down. In other words, early in a relationship, it is easy to overlook our partner's shortcomings. But like the little girl at the wedding, we too often discover we have divided our differences into black and white. We make no room for compromise. And that is where the problems begin.

If, in your relationship right now, you and your partner are standing up, you probably don't remember the things about each other you learned when you first fell in love. The black and white have become so obvious that your marriage no longer sizzles, it just sputters. Why don't you just sit back down?

A good question to ask each other is, "What was our most romantic experience together?" Chances are your answers will surprise you both of you. Was it a long walk, just holding hands? Maybe the two of you got away for a week-end to no place special? Perhaps it was the time you talked into the early hours of the morning?

Now, another question. When was the last time you did that? If you can't remember, make personal, private plans, cancel other appointments, and do the thing that most says, "I love you."

Do it now. If you are smart enough to recognize a problem, you are smart enough to know that more time won't solve the problem.

You never meant to drift apart, it just happened. Boat travelers on the Niagara River, far above the famous honeymoon falls, are warned there is a point of no return. There is a point on the river, beyond which, you will be swept over the falls. You will not be able to recover your course. In your marriage, the same is true. You've drifted too long. What are you waiting for? Waiting will only bring calamity.

Be honest with each other. Don't allow yourself to be placed into any situation that you can't immediately share with your mate. The chances are, something your spouse has said or done has caused you great pain. Maybe the slight was deliberate. Perhaps it was honestly unintentional. While you are letting it fester, that hurt will never heal. With the same tenderness you once said, "I love you," say, "I hurt." Your partner may have been waiting for an opening.

If you and your partner are standing up and the things that divide you are more apparent than the things that bring you together, sit down and start with the basics. Look past your own demands of black and white.

Remember, marriage should be a duet. When one sings, the other claps. Like all musicals, you need a conductor. Allow God to direct the most important performance of your lives together.

-30-

Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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