Let Milo Open the Door
By Ed Uszynski
Back in college, I constantly overheard a roommate singing to himself, “Let Milo open the door.”
He sang loud and bold, the way someone does in the shower when they are confident and completely give themselves over to the lyrics.
Finally, someone asked him, “Who the heck is Milo?”
Turns out, he was mis-singing Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door” and just assumed for years someone had been freezing our boy Milo out. Who knew?
Facing the embarrassment that always accompanies those moments, he needed to decide whether to go on with his version of the classic or let the humility of the correction get him on the right track.
He could stubbornly keep singing his own take or get aligned with the author’s actual words and intention.
Decades later, I find every day of our marriage my wife, Amy, is teaching me songs from her life. Songs about conflict. Sex. Good vacations. About fear, longing, hope.
Frequently, especially in the first few years, I had the lyrics entirely wrong.
I thought I was right. Thought I’d read her accurately, thought I had the right notes and words to go with her message.
Then some crash-and-burn moment revealed that I was belting out “Milo” while the entire time she had been talking “My love.” Total mess.
Cue humility. Embarrassment. Frustration. Stubborn pride.
And now a choice.
Stick to my version or study the original lyrics? Ask more about what they mean, or plow ahead with what I think they should mean, how I think they should be sung?
It goes both ways. I’m introducing her to a completely different genre of music with my own songs.
She’s got work to do, too.
Turns out, one kind of work in marriage is studying each other’s lyrics and the meaning behind them. Who knew?
The good stuff: If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
Action points: Take the initiative to ask your spouse: What’s one way I don’t often “get” you? Restrain yourself from defensiveness—and start asking good questions to start understanding.
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