Monday, February 14, 2011

Watch the Eyes

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

To add to the richness of the day, here are some thoughts about marriages that make it over the long haul. Thoughts on humor, the eyes, on respect. Rob Bell's got more great stuff in Sex God, and this was good for today.

The creator of the universe has a vested interest in this. God is for marriages.

And it must be protected at all costs, especially in the everyday, subtle sorts of ways. I've been around lots of couples who cut each other down in public, but it's all done in the name of humor.

"The ball and chain..."

"My old lady..."

"He isn't good for much, but I keep him anyway."

Whenever people talk like this, I always watch their eyes. Is this really all in good fun, or does it carry some truth? Most humor has truth in it.

You can tell when the marriage is in trouble. The jokes have an edge to them. The comments linger a bit too long on the negative.

And the eyes. Watch the eyes.

A friend of mine is a doctor who specializes in marriage and relational issues. He says that he can tell in a couple of seconds whether a marriage will last. Seriously, a couple of seconds. This is a science called thin slicing, and he's incredibly accurate in his predictions. He says it's all about respect. How he looks at her. How she looks at him. He insists that a few seconds of observing how a couple looks at each other is all he needs to know if the marriage will make it.

Maybe there's another reason why wedding ceremonies are so moving. Watch their eyes. They respect each other.

And then often something happens over time. The ground becomes less holy. And they begin to look at each other differently.

Instead of the initial, "Out of all the people in the world, I chose you!" it becomes, "Out of all the people in the world, I chose you?"

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