Occasionally, I will have to spend careful time choosing the subject of my Sunday post. This is not one of those times. In fact, the subject of this post was “suggested” to me from no less than four different sources – three within mere minutes of each other. I’ve learned that it is not wise to ignore such shoves…er…promptings.
1) Friday night I took my EC to the ballet for her birthday. Romeo & Juliet, the story of a pair of star-crossed morons. While not a regular ballet attendee, I did appreciate the beauty and the extreme amount of strength, grace, beauty and skill presented. (The music, sets, costuming and lighting were remarkable, too.)
During one of the scenes where Romeo and Juliet were dancing around together, there was a series of lifts that would make Patrick Swayze hide in the corner. Romeo would pick up Juliet and spin her around in the air as if she were weightless. My interior dialogue went something like this:
“Man, that dude is strong.”
“Yeah, but she probably weighs like 80lbs.”
“True. Do you think his tights are tight enough?”
“I can’t imagine how much trust she must have in him to let him to do those lifts.”
Within seconds of making that observation – seconds – there was a stumble, a bobble, and then a graceful recovery. I’ll bet some people didn’t even notice. I was stunned because of the timing, but it reinforced my point. She almost came crashing down from high above her partner’s head. This reminded me that…
2) Earlier that day I saw a video clip of a UCLA cheerleader named Sophie take a scary fall off the top of a pyramid o’ cheerleaders during a time out.
One of the trainers immediately picked her up and rushed her off the court to have her checked out. To add insult to injury, the trainer tripped over a duffle bag and proceeded to full-out body slam the poor girl into the floor. (I’ll drop the video in at the bottom of the post.)
Fortunately, Sophie was fine, and returned to the game.
3) During the first intermission at the ballet – yes there were two – I was checking my social media and saw a post on Facebook from a friend that said this:
“You know that feeling you get when you think you’ve done something really awesome for someone, and it turns out that it’s actually 100 times worse than terribly wrong?”
Uh-oh. Somebody messed up. (I would tell you who it was, but some of you might be friends with Nick Newman, so I’ll keep it our secret.)
It turns out that this friend was being a super-great husband and getting the broken glass on his wife’s phone repaired. Little did he know that the thousands of photos on the phone would be lost forever when he told the repairman to go ahead and wipe the phone before he repaired it. (Yes, you may gasp.)
I’m sure the trainer and the ballet dude were doing their best to be careful. Thankfully, in both cases the girls shook it off and were willing to continue. Can you imagine if the ballerina stomped off the stage because she felt she could no longer trust her partner?
The thought also crossed my mind that the ballerina had probably been dropped by ballet dudes countless times in her life – yet here she was – trusting her physical well-being and her career to some guy in tights.
I’ve been married over thirty years now, and one thing I have learned is that marriage is a constant parade of stumbles. bobbles, drops and the occasional (metaphorical) body slam. Which leads me to….
4) During the second intermission, I checked my Twitter feed and saw a quote by Elder Lynn G. Robbins making the rounds:
“A happy and successful marriage depends on two good forgivers.”
This is true. That simple sentence carries more weight than all the marriage self-help books ever written.
Add to it this: “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh” (Matt. 19:5–6.) It is far more difficult to be of one heart and mind than to be physically one. This unity of heart and mind is manifest in sincere expressions of “I appreciate you” and “I am proud of you.” Such domestic harmony results from forgiving and forgetting, essential elements of a maturing marriage relationship.” (President James E. Faust)
What we often forget is that a happy, healthy marriage is not merely an affair of the heart, it takes more that that. I’ll let Elder Robbins explain it:
“Too many believe that love is a condition, a feeling that involves 100 percent of the heart, something that happens to you. They disassociate love from the mind and, therefore, from agency. In commanding us to love, the Lord refers to something much deeper than romance—a love that is the most profound form of loyalty. He is teaching us that love is something more than feelings of the heart; it is also a covenant we keep with soul and mind.” (link)
Love is a choice.It is not a mystical thing that comes at us from the outside. If not, the principle of agency would be rendered worthless. We choose to love, just as we choose to hate. With love comes that mandatory and inevitable parade of stumbles. bobbles, drops and the occasional body slam.
Forgiveness is also a choice. A choice that enlightens, restore, purifies and binds.
Lack of forgiveness is a choice as well. A damning choice – not just for our relationships, but for our eternal outlook.
Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:9-10)
I have learned through successes and failures that the best things that I can do to maintain the wonderful relationship I share with my EC are,
- Repent fast.
- Apologize first.
Why? Because having my EC upset at me, or me being upset at her for even an hour is far too long. Because I am utterly incapable of walking through this life without messing something up. I am happy to say that I have never erased my wife’s phone, but I have had plenty of my own “body slam” moments. (I am also happy to report that my friend did not have to sleep on the couch – thankfully his wife understands these truths.)
I love President Hinckley’s way of making the profound sound so simple:
“The cure for most marital troubles does not lie in divorce. It lies in repentance and forgiveness, in expressions of kindness and concern. It is to be found in application of the Golden Rule.” (link)
Tuesday is Valentines Day. Can you think of a better gift that you can give your sweetheart than forgiveness? Complete, voluntary, purifying, healing forgiveness?
PS: Nick gave me permission to tell his story and reveal his identity.
“It’s Quiet Uptown.” Hamilton fans know this song well. It takes place when Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza are struggling with the aftermath of their son’s death, and Alexander’s part in it.
Also, the video of that tough little cheerleader.