Captain Johnny Ferrier, a pilot for the famed Blue Angles, shreds across the blue sky. Onlookers at the national air show notice smoke billowing from the back of his Navy jet. On the radio, his superior pleads for Johnny to save his life. "Bail out, Johnny, Bail out! You've still got time!" His superior shouts through the receiver. But Johnny doesn't make his move. He knows that if he bails, thousands of innocent bystanders will lose their lives in the crash.

"Bail out!" his superior tries again. Nothing. The stress of the G-force only allows Johnny to answer his superior by blowing three puffs of smoke, just to let him know that he was alright -- that he was under control. The crowd watches in amazement as Johnny courageously steers his plane to the only place not occupied by people. A small meadow is where Johnny makes his final statement to the world.

Captain Johnny Ferrier's statement was one of ultimate honor for the people down below him. His courage to take his own life, for the lives of others, might be hard for people to understand, especially in light of Johnny's beautiful young wife and children he left behind. However, the card his wife found tucked away in his wallet the day of his death explains why he gave his own life. It simply read, "God first, others second, and myself third." This is the "I'm Third" principle Johnny learned as a child. It means that you put others before yourself. This is the model we must follow for our marriages.

We must learn to place high value upon our mates. We call this concept Honor. Johnny honored the people below; he placed immeasurable value on their lives when he crashed into the vacant meadow. We might never have to literally die for our mate, but we must practice the example Johnny left us on a daily level.

What does honor look like in the daily life of a couple? For starters, it means waking up in the morning and deciding that our mate is the most valuable person on earth to us. It is deciding that we will look after our mate's needs before we worry about ours. Honoring our mate on a daily basis is all about priority.

Imagine you are meeting the president of the United States. What might be going through your mind? How might you be acting? You would probably be smiling, and maybe slightly shaking, from the excitement the President encompasses. Your mouth might even be open in awe of meeting such an important person. This is what we need to have for our mate. That feeling we are in the presence of greatness. When was the last time we looked at our mate, mouths open in awe of his or her presence?

So how do we honor our mate? The following are the four faces of honor:

• Gives Meaningful Touch

• Pictures a Special Future Together

• Has an Active Commitment

• Expresses High Value

These four elements are what make honor possible for a couple. They are the driving force to healthier, more exciting marriages. In fact, Dr. Scott Stanley, a well known marital researcher, said that honor is what drives a couple to take the necessary steps toward marital satisfaction. If we do not have honor, then we can not have a satisfying marriage.

© Copyright 2003 Smalley Relationship Center