The First Shirt
A certain man was wearing a white-as-snow dress shirt for a date with his wife. He worked quite hard all day on the job, and though his job was boring, he worked with a smile, knowing that his effort was bringing in money to support his family. His home life was stressful, but pleasant, and he was so excited, because tonight was a long-overdue date night with his wife.
The sitter was actually a few minutes early, and the couple left for their date in the cold weather of winter. When they arrived at the restaurant, the man–being a gentleman–helped his wife take off her coat and get in her seat. Then, he walked around to the other side of the table and removed his coat.
As he did, he realized that his pen from work had been slowly leaking ink, and his shirt had a stain right at the base of the pocket. He was ashamed, because he wanted to look nice for his wife, who always was beautiful. Though the stain was small, he knew that her eye would be on it, because…well…that’s what people do.
Of course, she saw the stain. It was hard to miss on this crisp white shirt. And it was especially difficult for her to miss, since she had gotten up early that morning to iron this shirt, because she thought he looked especially handsome in it. Now, all that hard work seemed to be tossed aside by the ink that probably ruined the shirt.
But, the wife, bringing honor and respect to her husband, smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it, honey. When we get time, I’ll do everything I can to clean it up. We can save the shirt, but it will take some work. You just need to get rid of that pen!”
The Second Shirt
Another man, who worked at the same office, was also going home that night. He didn’t know what he was going to see, because his life at home was chaotic. He had “checked out” long ago, and it was obvious that his wife was more interested in raising the kids than in falling in love with him again.
Still, he dressed well for work. Just by coincidence he also donned a crisp white shirt that day that he had ironed the night before while watching the game. He also worked hard all day, because they had to pay for all the cell phone bills, car payments, and cable packages that seemed to bring some entertainment and smiles to the house. They were the only things that seemed to any more.
As he got home, he saw his wife and went to the closet to take off his coat. Wouldn’t you know it? His shirt also had a stain from a company ink pen! Just as with the first man, it was small, but noticeable.
Just as he saw it, his wife came around the corner. As you would expect, her eye went straight to the stain. Her face dropped and she said, “Just throw that thing out. It’s not worth the effort.”
Every husband or wife, just like the shirts, has stains. We will notice the stains, because that is human nature. The only question for each husband and wife to ask is, Am I willing to do all I can to help and work through the stains, or will I take the “easy” way out and throw my marriage away?
The choice is yours. Your marriage is essential, but are you treating it as dispensable?
Background photo credit: Robert Sheie on Creative Commons
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