I Need a Teammate, Not a Cell Mate
- Monday, June 07, 2010
J.J. Jasper, a friend in Mississippi, called one day and with a tone of distress in his voice, said, "Steve and Annie, please pray for my uncle up in Kentucky. He manages the circus and a couple of years ago he married the woman who does the human cannonball stunt. Well, she up and left him for the lion tamer. He was all tore up when he called and said, ‘I'll never find another woman of her caliber!' " (All the hunters will get this one right away.)
Now, there's a picture of a fellow who had come to an important resolve. He was willing to admit that in order for the "show to go on" he needed his wife. As stated in the previous chapter, it is a smart thing for any "Adam" to agree with God that he is made better by the company of his "Eve." However, the reverse can also be true. A woman's life can be enriched and more productive when she is joined to her man.
For the purposes of planting this seed of truth in the hearts of couples who come to our concerts, we perform a love song entitled, "I Need You." In nearly every setting, we ask the husbands and wives to sing the words of the title to one another. As they do, the view of the audience from our perspective is quite interesting. Most women are quick to respond and with little trouble they look toward their husbands and sing. Many of those men, however, will look straight ahead and tentatively mouth the words. If they turn their faces at all toward their wives, they do so in such a way that it makes it look as though their necks are in braces. We can't help but feel a bit of sorrow for the wives.
To be fair, we also observe women who struggle to publicly proclaim "I need you" to their husbands. We see excited expressions on the men's faces. It's a look that seems to come from the anticipation that he will hear her serenade him with her angelic voice of desire for his company. Sadly, their smiles are too often turned upside down by her obvious lack of enthusiasm.
While we suspect, of course, that their hesitance to sing is a product of shyness or stage fright (or, in some cases, "pew fright"), there are a significant number of spouses whose openly hostile body language reveals a more serious cause for their choice to not join the choir. Folded arms, jaws that are set, and lips that flatly refuse to move are disconcerting sights to look at while we sing. We fear that their lack of participation represents a hot topic that some of these husbands and wives are avoiding:
"I know that in order for our marriage to be a success, we need to work at it together. But it's hard to feel like your teammate when there are times you make me feel more like a cell mate. To sing ‘I need you' is not so easy when I feel hopelessly locked behind the bars of matrimony."
The silent singers, it seems, have resigned themselves to the idea that marriage is indeed an institution, and they feel like they have received a "life sentence." Why are we concerned this may be true for far too many couples? The following statements show the reason we make this disturbing assessment. We asked, "What does your spouse do that makes you feel miserable?"
• When I ask a question, he often makes me feel dumb.
• When there's a problem he usually shuts down and won't discuss it.
• He sits and watches TV and never asks if I need help and never offers.
• Sometimes he cuts me with sarcasm, and then says, "I'm only kidding."
• He brings his pressure at work home with him.
• He sits at his computer and plays games and surfs the Internet when he should be helping me.
• When he jokes about my homemaking and says it's not a "real" job.
• When he hugs other women in a suggestive manner.
• He neglects his physical health.
• Very often he leaves a mess and expects me to clean up after him.
• When he talks about my weight to other people and calls me "fat."
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