Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Who Needs a Seminar?

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Digging Deep Special for the month of June!!! Memorize the entire book of James by listening to the James jingles on the Hannah’s Hundred IV CD. If you listen several times a week in your car during the month of June, you will know the whole book before you know it. (Well, you won’t really know it BEFORE you know it. You will know it WHEN you know it!) Regular price is $11.95. This month, take advantage of the Digging Deep special and get Hannah’s Hundred IV for only $7.00 plus shipping, when you purchase online at Available to all, but really timely this month for ladies in the Digging Deep study!

Who Needs a Seminar?

It was a four-plus hour drive back to Huntsville from Batesville, Mississippi where my husband and I spoke in a marriage seminar this weekend. But it was a fun drive because, for the first time ever, our daughter, Hannah, and our son-in-law, Ben, made the trip with us. Everything is more fun with them.  But our restroom stop on the return trip, somewhere on Mississippi-Alabama line was the highlight of the whole marriage enrichment theme of the weekend.

Hannah REALLY had to go the bathroom. It was one of those long stretches of nowhere and nothingness. She kept squirming and complaining and Ben, who was driving, kept saying, “Dear, you just tell me which one of these large patches of pines you pick and I will pull right over.”

“Take the next exit,” Hannah very nearly screamed… I saw a little picture of a gas pump hanging below the exit sign. Surely that means there’s a restroom somewhere on this exit.” Ben exited as he mumbled a few words about how this did not look promising. It looked promising if you were a photographer looking for wheat fields in which to photograph newly engaged couples… or if you were a cyclist hoping for open roads and little traffic… or even if you were an ornithologist looking for prospective preserve sites. But it did not look promising if you were Hannah, looking for facilities.

About two miles and a couple of ‘iffy” turns later, we arrived at the establishment that claimed the gas-pump-post on the Interstate. It was one of about three buildings I saw in this metropolis. There was a Baptist church building, a sign pointing to the high school, a post office and this little concrete block gas station. Ben said, “What do you think, Dear?” Looking out the window at us was a large man with a sort of salt-and-pepper scraggly beard wearing a green t-shirt with a large fish on it and a blue baseball cap. He was scratching his large round belly and staring out at us as if we were interplanetary travelers come to the little store. But Hannah was already in the door and headed to the little bathroom in the back before Ben could get the question out. The bathroom, by the way, was declared to be clean and I smiled when I entered it because, on its door, it had the regular nondescript man and woman symbols and an additional little blue boy symbol and a little pink girl symbol and someone had drawn big smiley faces on these signs. The little restroom was truly one-size-fits-most.

As I exited the restroom I could hear the slow Mississippi drawl and the deep laughter of the man in the green t-shirt interspersed with conversation from Glenn and the kids. I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, But as I approached I got in on the last part of the conversation:

Man in the green shirt (MIGS): Yeah, you get over them three humps and you got it made.

Me: What humps have you got to get over?

Hannah: Mom, Ben and I don’t even know why we spent all that time at the marriage seminar. This man here could have really saved us a lot of time.

Me: What do you mean?

MIGS: Well, I was just tellin’ em that all you really do need in a marriage is three things: The first two is just GIVE and TAKE. You got to learn to give and take. The third hump is you just GOT to have trust.

Me: Trust, you say?

MIGS: Aw, yeah. If you don’t trust, you ain’t got nothin’.

Glenn: You’re right about that. Who needed a marriage seminar when we could have  just stopped in here and skipped the whole thing?

MIGS: Yeah, I know what a good marriage takes.Just them three humps you gotta git over and you’re good to go.

Glenn: I guess your married, then?

MIGS: Awww NAW!!! I’m a truck driver. (Spoken as if those two things are necessarily mutually exclusive )…And, I did forget one more hump you gotta get over. It’s space.

Me: Space, huh? Now what do you mean by that?

MIGS: Well, both people has got to give each other some space ever now an’ ‘nen to just go off by theirselves and do somethin’ they want to do. See, you can’t be together ever minute. But ‘tas all. You do all ‘at an you’ll have a real good marriage.”

Now, our marriage seminar is a little more comprehensive perhaps, and we talk about the extreme importance of building our marriages on our love for Christ, but, still, this man really does have the general idea. You have to give…a lot. In fact, you need to be willing to give your all to make your marriage one that pleases God. If it pleases him, it will bring you the greatest pleasure, too.

You have to take. Yes, you GET to take. If your marriage is good you take security and warmth and support and pleasure and traditions and spiritual growth and protection and sex and love. But you HAVE to take, too. You take messes and stresses and burdens to bear and errands to run and exposure of vulnerabilities and you take some heartaches and sorrows, too. It’s all of this kind of taking that draws you closer and fits you for the greatest glory for the Lord through your union with that man.

You have to trust. Like he said…”If you ain’t got trust, you ain’t got nothing.” He’s right on target about that, too.

You have to have space. Even the apostle Paul, through the Holy Spirit, allowed for a time apart for prayer and fasting (I Cor.7:5). We read a lot about Peter’s fishing, but we never read about his wife in the boat. Abraham took a little trip with his son Isaac (Genesis 22) and left Sarah behind. Perhaps it would have been good for Job to have had a while away from Mrs. Job when she was advising him to curse God and die (Job 2:9). Abigail surely had to go on a mission separate from her husband (I Sam. 25) in an effort to save her marriage and her husband’s life. Sometimes, a little space is a good thing.

We got our sunflower seeds and peanuts and soft drinks and “left the seminar,” our second of the weekend, with just a few lingering questions:

  1. How did so much wisdom get inside this truck driver?
  2. Just how does it emanate so freely from one stranger to another in that little cinder-block building?
  3. Is Mississippi drawl really one of the five love languages?
  4. …And are we going to see ourselves on the “Marriage Advice at the Gas Station” episode of “Candid Camera”?
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