Joey Heatherton and me
I’m not a real marriage counselor, but I occasionally play one in my column. I don’t know that I’ve helped any marriages, but I’m fairly sure I haven’t messed any of them up.
That’s been my goal in life: “Don’t mess stuff up.” That was originally the 11th commandment, but was omitted with the second carving of the stone tablets. Remember Moses dropped the first set? Pretended that he did it on purpose. – I got that from the series “Mysteries of the Bible.” Next week, they’re going to reveal the site where they recently discovered the remains of Lot’s wife. Rumor has it that it’s in Canada.
But, forget that if you can. Let’s get back to me playing a marriage counselor. While I’ve already established that I can’t save your marriage, I will do everything I can to keep it from getting worse.
To start off, let me ask you a question. If you could go back to a year or two before your marriage, and if you were given free rein to marry anyone you wanted, would you pick your current spouse?
I got the idea for this question from the February 25th offering from “Our Dairly Bread.” It’s a booklet of short morning devotionals.* In the lesson of the 25th, the author mentioned once telling his daughter, “If I could line up all the four-year-old girls in the world, I would keep walking down the line till I found you.” Can it get any sweeter than that?
The story gave me an idea to help you determine if you think you picked the right marriage partner. If you could go back and choose from the entire gamut of prospective spouses, who would you select to spend your life with? I can see your spouse stepping out of line and walking toward you in anticipation. What are you going to do?
Let me tell you what I’d do. Back in the day, Kay was the sweetest, the shyest, and one of the loveliest girls on the planet. But not knowing her all that well back then, I’d have to choose Joey Heatherton. Most of you are too young to remember Joey Heatherton. She was a dancer, singer and actor from the 60s. Oh, and she was the most beautiful girl in the world. Just slightly ahead of Bridget Bardot on the ooga ooga meter.
Speaking of lust, do you remember reading anything in the Bible about the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus was making people view the ten commandments in a different light. He said that you don’t have to murder a person to be guilty of murder. He said that if you hate your brother, it’s the same as murdering him. I have only the slightest problem with that.
However, He also said that you don’t have to have carnal knowledge with someone to commit adultery. All you have to do is to dwell on the thought. Well, I must confess to you that, by that definition, I carried on an affair with Joey Heatherton during most of the 60s. I shared that information with Kay only after she confessed to having a crush on Roy Rogers. For some strange reason she saw a big difference in the fondness level of the two.
Now, if you decided to choose your current spouse all over again, quit reading this thing. I can only mess you up. If you went for someone else, then I have little time to give you hints to help improve your current situation. For one thing you’ve got watch your tone of voice. Would you like to hear your wife say in a drill sergeant’s voice, “Darling, you need to mow the lawn!” Ladies, don’t ever say that. You need to pretend you’re caregiver at an old folks’ home. What you need to say is, “Sweetheart, it’s about time for us to mow the lawn?”
See how much better that is? He knows you’re not going to help him mow the lawn, but you’ve deposited the notion that you will be struggling with him in spirit.
Along those lines, Kay always does our income tax. I could do it, but I’m not nearly as concerned about the picky stuff. That’s why last week I calmly told Kay, “Sugar Pie, we need to do our income tax.” Then I sat down and watched a rerun of “Wanted Dead or Alive.” And, our marriage is still moving in greased grooves.
Stuff like that is common sense. One thing that’s not all that commonly sensical is something a smart person wrote. – “A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t. A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, but she does.”
That’s just the way it is. It’s in our chromosomes. So, prospective wives please know that the guy you’re getting ready to marry is as good as he’s gonna ever be. If you’re sure you can put up with his worst, than go ahead and send out the invitations.
And, men, find comfort in the fact that if your marriage starts out bad, it will certainly change over time. My marriage has continually changed for the better. Granted, Kay has managed to surprise me now and again, but except for some of her odd behavior that I occasionally include in my column, there is nothing about her that really bothers me. Love will really blind you to stuff. Did I mention that she does our taxes?
*Visit www.odb.org to receive each month’s copy of “Our Dainly Bread.” You’ll get ‘em mailed to your house for free. Or you can read each day’s devotional on line.