Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stuck Like Glue

"Dot, dot, dot - don't use a lot." Our son’s preschool teacher repeated her gluing mantra over and over, but to no avail. Pink and red construction paper hearts and white doilies swam in a sea of sloppy gloppy stickiness. With that age group less is never more.

Do you remember discovering the amazing properties of school glue? It goes on white but dries clear. It practically disappears! David remembers letting glue dry on his fingers and then peeling it off tip by tip. Glue can take two separate items and make them one. It is a fascinating substance.

Jesus mentioned glue in the context of marriage. He said “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife.” The original Greek word for cleave is “kollao” which literally means “to glue”. Husbands and wives are to bond, adhere, and be glued to one another.

As our boys have grown into adolescence, David has taken each of them away for a special weekend they call their “Journey to Manhood.” David used material from FamilyLife Publishing by Dennis & Barbara Rainey called Passport2Purity. Together they listened to messages, answered discussion questions and worked on object lessons. One of the lessons involves glue. Although the focus with our preteens was to discourage exclusive relationships, we see a slightly different lesson for marriages.

No mess for me

If we take two paper hearts and stack them up or rub them together, neither is changed. They are still two pieces of paper. In the same way, it’s relatively easy for two people to cohabitate without connection. Do you know couples like this? They go through the motions without sharing much. They exist in the same space but occupy separate lives. Life is neat and tidy when all you have to think about is yourself.

A little dab won’t do ya

Dot some glue on those paper hearts and they’ll stick for a good long while, but over the years glue gets dry and brittle. Like my mom’s high school scrapbook - years later when we found it in the storage room, pictures and papers slipped right off the pages. You’ve heard that silly story about a husband saying “I told my wife I loved her on our wedding day and that hasn’t changed, why would I keep saying it?” That attitude doesn’t work! The principle of “leave and cleave” is not a one time occurrence. It is an ongoing process.

Less is never more

Invite a preschooler to glue your paper hearts and it’s a completely different story. They’ll smear glue all over the paper, take the lid off the bottle and pour it on until the tacky white stuff oozes out from under the paper. Then they’ll want to do it all over again the next day…..and the next day. What a great model for bonding as husband and wife. We can’t be stingy when we think about connecting our hearts, even if things get a little messy. We have to keep gluing, keep cleaving, and keep joining together. We have to pursue intimacy.

In counseling, we learned that intimacy causes short term instability. It’s tempting to avoid that temporary shakiness by holding back or pretending and not sharing your true feelings. David and I both have moments when we know that being open and honest is a risk and could make life uncomfortable for a while. We are learning to press through that fear, knowing the instability won’t last long. When we chose vulnerability, we strengthen the bond between us. We are stuck like glue.

Try This:

Gather some paper, scissors, and pens and make a hand-made valentine for your sweetheart this year. Don’t forget the glue! Write your own special version of “Roses Are Red….”

If you need to have “the talk” with your pre-teen, we recommend Passport2Purity. Find out more at FamilyLife.com

Deut 13:4 says “Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (KJV) What would it look like to glue yourself to God?

This was our article for the February edition of Austin Faith & Family magazine. Unfortunately the magazine is closing. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our thoughts on marriage with the Austin community.

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