SBC Life Articles

Bath Fizzies, Loofahs, and Candles

Legend has it that during the 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy gave a great speech to a large and excited crowd assembled in front of the Alamo, where a handful of Texans held off a large army from Mexico. Kennedy wanted to make a quick exit after his speech. He told a local politician that he wanted to get out of there and asked for the back door. The politician replied, "Senator, if there had been a back door to the Alamo, there wouldn't have been any heroes."

I believe that modern-day heroes are the ones who close the exit doors and commit to one mate and one family for life. By the time some reach the age of 40 in our society, they have had more spouses than children.

I'm not saying that marriage is easy. A couple came upon a wishing well, and the wife leaned over the well, made a wish, and threw a dime into the well. Then the husband, of course not to be outdone, stood on the side of the well, tossed in a quarter, lost his balance, fell in, and drowned. His wife was stunned for a minute, then smiled and said, "It really works."

In fact, I have heard many preachers say they have never considered divorce — but murder … well. One man's tombstone read, "I was married fifty years and was prepared to die." I suspect sometimes Penny thinks that if I really loved her, I would have married someone else!

Why is marriage so difficult? Let's look at a small slice of married life.

The other day, my wife said she was going to take a bath. That means I won't see her for about an hour because women take long baths. At least the women in my life do — not only my wife but also my daughters. They turn on the hot water and have a routine, you know, filling the water with all kinds of stuff. They have bath fizzies, bubble bath, body oil, and this thing called a loofah that comes from the ocean. It's supposed to make their skin soft and smooth. They shop at a store called Bath and Body Works that carries all of these things. My daughters even light candles beside the tub and smell the aroma and move the TV closer so they can watch it while they soak. I don't get it but that's what they do.

They stay in there for a long time soaking, listening to music, and relaxing. My wife even reads in the tub. We have many books that are expanded way beyond their normal size because of one small slip and the book is floating in the water. They have this long procedure that is called a bath.

Now men and women both have the same problem — dirt. Our dirt is just the same, but my solution is to get the dirt off as quickly as I can. I have a routine, too. I run into the bathroom, turn on the hot water, and by the time I've found clean clothes, the water is hot. I jump in, remove as much dirt as I can, jump out, and get dressed all in about three to four minutes. I have solved the problem and removed the dirt.

Now why would you want to take an hour to remove the dirt, and then soak in the dirt you just removed? I just don't get it.

Another difference between men and women is that women like to build intimacy. Women share their feelings; the details of their lives. They share their day with you because they want you to know about them; they want their lives interwoven with yours. Remember, we leave and cleave, and then we weave our lives together.

Men on the other hand are taught to be strong and self-sufficient. They don't like to share information about themselves. When women ask men what they're going to do that day, men feel threatened. They see it as a threat to their independence, that she is trying to control him by wanting to know what is he is doing. Women don't really want to know everything. They just want to be a part of his life. They are building intimacy.

Women, let me help you improve communication with your husband. When you are talking to your husband, he needs visuals to connect what you are saying with what he is feeling. If not, he will react with his head and try to figure out how to fix a problem, or he will react with his body and hit something (golfing) or shoot something (hunting). The clearer the visual, the more he will remember and not be like Abraham who took the same dumb trip over and over. A good technique is to compare what you are saying to athletics. Notice I said athletics and not homiletics. You are telling a story, not preaching a sermon. One man said his wife had been preaching without a license for years.

Try something like this: "Do you remember when you were a junior in high school and had to sit on the bench during the football game? You knew you could contribute to the game, but you didn't get the chance. That's how I feel when you don't include me in your decisions." This is a visual he understands and doesn't make him feel threatened.

The process of becoming "one" means that communication moves from information to interaction. In my marriage, our "we" decisions have been better than my "me" decisions. Women, remember when you do have his focused attention, you are his lover not his mother — which is another article!

    About the Author

  • Charles Lowery