June 17, 2001
In a pensive mood, reflecting on their long marriage, Ralph asked Henrietta the dreaded “If I die first” question:
Etta, dear, if I die first, would you remarry?
Henrietta replied, Probably, dear...our marriage has been so wonderful, and you’re so thoughtful I know you would want me to find happiness again.
Would you live here, in our house with your new husband? Probably, dear.
Would he sleep in our bed? Probably, dear.
Would you let your new husband use my custom-made Jack Nicklaus special Ping golf clubs?
Oh, no, dear, he’s left-handed.
There is something about the foundation of Henrietta and Ralph’s marriage that needs attention!
Many of you are aware that Carrie and Shannon have recently bought a house. The house they thought they would buy turned out to have major problems - besides a bank that wanted them to sign all those papers!
That first house had a foundation problem. The foundation was built improperly. Fifty years ago the code allowed 2” x 8” floor joists, spaced 24" apart. Today that is considered substandard. In addition, the basement leaks like a sieve. It leans in several directions! The construction was not exactly professional, having concrete blocks below the ground level, and only one row of bricks stacked four-high above.
In addition, due to the floor problems, previous owners had put poles in the basement to support the sagging floor. That added to the problem, rather than helping to solve it. As explained to me by the house inspector, when the poles took the weight off the sagging floor, it also took the load off the walls of the basement. That load is part of the strength of a basement wall.
Without the load from the covering floor, years of pressure from the outside dirt and water that won’t drain-off, have pushed-in the weakened walls to the point where collapse of the walls (and the fall of any Humpty Dumptys above) is imminent!
Now, that house is a picture of what has happened to marriage and the family in our society today. Divorce, like the basement poles, has become so simple, and prevalent in dealing with marital pressures, less than a third of marriages survive a dozen years any more. There are weakened walls in marriage everywhere.
Now, God knew those pressures (financial, relational, emotional) would be in marriage. In fact those pressures help a married couple become one flesh, which is God’s design. Like the pressure from above, those troubles drive us together to work out our marriage vows. Take away that weight, and the weakened walls of marriage cave-in to the weight of the dirt and stagnant-water-thinking society that says:
Give it up -- you don’t need him...
Pack it in, she’s not worth it!
Our society today suffers from crumbling walls of marriage and the home. Much of it is due to foundational problems.
This week’s THE DISPATCH carried Lynn Johnson’s cartoon strip, For Better or For Worse. The young girl, Elizabeth has grown up. She is considering moving in with her boyfriend. She says, …I was just thinking about what a serious step this is. Her boyfriend questions, A serious step? Elizabeth answers, Moving in with you! It’s a major commitment. I just want it to work out.