I fold the socks into a ball, in-side out, just as I washed them. It’s my passive aggressive way of telling him to turn the things right-side out when he puts them in the dirty clothes, for Pete’s sake. I have better things to do with my time than stick my hands into these socks one-by-one and turn the stinky things right-side out.
It’s one of my pet peeves. Can you tell?
In his new book: Love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Commitment, Pastor Adam Hamilton says,
I wonder if Adam Hamilton turns his socks right-side out before he puts them in the dirty clothes hamper. Probably not. After twenty years of marriage, I’ve learned that some things just aren’t that big of a deal."…one of the most important things about love, marriage, and sexual intimacy is that it’s hard work. When we fall in love, it seems so easy. But maintaining love over decades—that’s another story."
But they still annoy me once in a while.
Sometimes I need reminded of what really matters. Sometimes I need reminded of the bigger picture. That’s what Love to Stay did for me when I read it this week—it gave me the bigger picture.
Throughout the book the author discusses the results of a Love, Sex, and Marriage survey his church conducted in 2011. The survey was completed by 5,184 people—mostly members of his church in Kansas but also by folks around the country with no religious affiliation. The sample group consisted of both married and single people and was designed to give “a glimpse of broad trends in marriage and dating relationships.” It tells things like the top qualities that single men and women are looking for in a mate, the things our spouses do that make us feel closest to us (sex was much higher on the list for the men), the frequency of sexual intimacy, frequency of conflict, impact of children on marriage, etc. All of these variables are broken down into age ranges. All that data helped give me perspective on a few things in my own marriage.
Hamilton says that marriage has a mission.
“The mission of marriage is for both husband and wife to be helpers, partners, and companions for one another … To be a helper is to seek the best for the person you’re helping—in the way they can best receive it…the help we can bring is to come alongside them, encourage and bless them, and build them up…”
As marriage partners, we are to bless each other, to encourage each other, and to incarnate (“put flesh on”) the love of God for one another.
Even though I love my husband and try to do nice things for him, I think a lot of things might change around here if I thought of my marriage as a way to bless him.
I continue to fold, sitting on the steps as I always do and stacking in individual piles. But those socks keep staring at me. As I begin to think about ways I can bless my husband, those socks seem like such a silly thing. Tenderly, I unfold the couplets, turn them right-side out, and couple them back up again. And the way the soft threads hug each other close makes me smile.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for sending me a complimentary copy of Love to Stay for review. Our Sunday School class has done several of Adam Hamilton’s video series over the years and I always appreciate the way he teaches with compassion and deep faith. Love to Stay also has an accompanying DVD series that would make an excellent study for couples.