Ken drove fast, paying little heed to the traffic around him. He was seething with anger. All he wanted was to get out of the city to a place where he could think about what to do next. This was the fifth quarrel he’d had with Kelly since they brought the baby home three weeks ago. Who would have thought a little baby could be so much trouble? Before the baby came, everything was just fine between them. She’d have dinner ready on the table when he got home or they’d go out to eat at that little Italian restaurant they liked so much.
Now she was serving him hamburger helper when there was steak in the freezer. And of all the lame-brained excuses, she was tired after nursing the baby all night and all day. Man, all she had to do was rock him and put him to sleep so she could take a nap. How’d she like to deal with some of his tiresome clients? Like old Mr. Babblepuss! What a crank!
Ken knew where he was going. He needed time to cool off and grandpa’s farm was just a few miles away. Grandpa Joe always seemed to know just the right words to say when he was hurting.
Soon he was turning his car onto the gravel road that led to the farm. A stately row of elm trees lined the drive to the old weather-beaten farmhouse where his dad had grown up nearly fifty years ago. He found Grandpa Joe in a wicker rocker on the wide front porch of the old frame house watching the sun set. His time-worn face bore a look of sadness but he brightened immediately at the sight of Ken. They went inside to the kitchen where Grandpa produced hot coffee, made the old-fashioned way, and a bag of store-bought cookies. Ken grabbed a handful and Grandpa raised his brows. ”Ain’t had supper yet? Where’s that cute little wife tonight?”
With a grimace that said it all, Ken took a long swig of coffee before saying, “We had a fight, Grandpa. Everything’s different since the baby came. We can’t seem to get along anymore.”
“Ah, well, that’s too bad.” Grandpa stroked his bewhiskered chin with a sidelong glance at Ken. He thought awhile before asking, “Been helping with that little one, I hope.”
“Naw, that’s her job. I’m the breadwinner. I had a rough day dealing with clients.”
“Is that so? Your grandma and I raised four kids together and we always helped one another. When there was a new babe, I walked the floor with him at night so’s she could have her rest. And when I was short of help at harvest she was out there in the fields picking crops. Always we supported one another and never did I let anyone say a word against her. She was a great gal and we had a good marriage.” He wiped a tear from his eye. “Lord knows, I miss her somethin’ terrible.”
After a short pause, he said, “Oh, we had a fight now and then but whenever we disagreed we took it to the Lord and He helped us put things right. There’s a verse from the Bible says it all, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken."*
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means you make God a partner in your marriage and seek Him for advice when you need it, son. And it means you treat your wife exactly the way God is treating us: with love and respect for her feelings. You admit there are differences between you but you don’t let them interfere with your love for one another. You give her freedom to be herself and love her for who she is. It’s a selfless kind of love and a strong commitment. That’s what makes a marriage last, not the fun you have together.”
Ken looked sheepish. “Well, maybe I haven’t been exactly fair with her. What do I do now? Take her some flowers?”
“You can do better than that. Bring home the dinner tonight and keep doing it ‘til she asks you to quit. Ask how you can help with the baby.”
“Thanks, Grandpa. I’ll do just that. Right now I’m thinking maybe you are that threefold cord you’ve been talking about.”
“Just helping God out a bit, that’s all,” said Grandpa with a twinkle in his eye.
(*Ecclesiastes 4:12 KJV)
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