Does your Marriage Stink?
Jody, my husband, and I recently attended an LSU football game. The team was undefeated and was hosting its rival, “Ole Miss,” in Tiger Stadium. We were pumped and ready for a great day together cheering on our team! The game was scheduled to start at 8:15pm. We arrived early, found a FREE parking spot and ate lunch at the Walk On Bistreaux. We ate all our favorite foods, visited all the cool campus spots, met up with good friends, and were having a truly great day … until the rain started. It poured. Rain had not been in the forecast and it was coming down hard. For once, my Boy Scout of a husband was not prepared. He is always ready for anything, but not this time. We found ourselves without a raincoat and getting wetter by the moment ☹. We quickly went to the campus book store to look for rain gear to purchase. All we found was empty shelving. I went to the cashier and explained that I was desperate and would even buy a trash bag or two for us to wear in the stadium! The rain and game were both projected to last until midnight, and the thought of a long wet, miserable night loomed in my mind. The cashier was contemplating my question when we were interrupted. A lady near us and wearing a rain poncho said to me, “You can have my poncho, sweetie; I’m not serious enough of an LSU fan to watch a game in the rain – I’m going home!” She then slipped off the poncho and handed it to me! I thanked her profusely. I may have even hugged her – I can’t remember! One slightly worn poncho was better than no poncho. As Jody and I are relatively small people, I said to her, “My husband and I will share it!” Joy returned to my soul 😊.
I found Jody and we climbed into the warm and generous gift. He put his head through one arm hole and I put my head through the other arm hole. The neck hole was used for ventilation, I guess, and to introduce a steady stream of rain down our backs! It was tight, but totally do-able! Crisis averted. Within seconds of putting on the poncho I realized that the lady who gave me this beautiful gift had great taste in perfume – Chanel. The poncho smelled marvelous! Even my husband noticed it and said, “LSU has never smelled better!” Our attitude immediately improved. Our grateful hearts gushed! I’m not sure if it was the smell of the expensive fragrance, the rush of sitting in the rain snuggled close to my favorite man or the thrill of victory. Regardless, it was a perfect night and one that I will never forget! I’m sure that every time I’m around that scent again I will think of my poncho buddy, LSU and the generosity of a kind stranger with very good taste.
The very thought of this gift has filled my head and heart for days. It reminds me of a couple of verses in Ephesians 5, the marriage chapter, that I frequently find myself reading. In the beginning of the chapter the verses say, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).” The act of that stranger in the LSU stadium was a great example of this verse – she shared her poncho, sacrificing the primo luxury of the rainy day, and the aroma of her good deed stuck around with us for hours. My generous new friend walked back to her car in the rain so that we could stay “dry-ish.” Pretty kind, huh? When we walk in love through sacrifice, the act becomes a fragrant aroma. And it pleases God. The same thing happens in our marriages when we are Christ-like and walk in love with our spouses. Our sacrificial actions make our whole home smell amazing!
When I become an imitator of God, loving people like Jesus does, my husband benefits. When I recognize my selfishness for what it is and deny myself so that I can make Jody’s day better, Jody revels in the sweetness of the act. The fragrance lingers in our home. Everything is warm and cozy … just like when I pop a homemade apple pie into the oven – the smell of cinnamon and apple wafts through the house! So do unselfish acts of love. I have heard people say, “Your house smells homey!” They may be referring to my apple-cinnamon glade wall plug in, but I chose to believe its love they smell as Jody and I both attempt to love like Christ!
The opposite can also be true. When we behave selfishly and seek our own way, our spouse is the one who is hurt the most. The fragrance of selfishness is more pungent – it is STINKY! Things begin to sour in our marriage relationship and everyone near us can tell. We think we can hide our self-centeredness, but the nose knows! Examine your heart and ask God to point out all your selfish, smelly bits. Confess them and allow Him to cleanse your heart. Then love your spouse well every day until it smells like Chanel, or maybe apple pie 😊!
SIDEBAR: On Columbus Day, Jody and I went on an early morning bike ride. About 10 miles into the ride we realized that we are wearing each other’s biking shorts. Things were uncomfortable with padding in the wrong places and Jody’s shorts were beginning to wear a blister on my inner thigh. Realizing our mistake, Jody looked at me and with sweat dripping down his nose sweetly asked, “Want to stop and change shorts?” A kind offer, but I immediately thought of the kind lady’s poncho and its nice aroma and knew that this would not be the same case 😊. I replied, sweetly of course, “No thanks.” So in marriage, not all kindness smells like perfume, some comes in the form of sweaty bike shorts! Just keeping it real.
Keep reading, friends!
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).”