I could hardly believe my eyes. The antique car right in front of me zipped along with its charming older passengers sitting closely side by side. I sure hope there was a padded bench seat in that dark Dodge because the white-haired woman was snuggled right next to her man. (If you look at their license plate, you see the auto classification as “horseless carriage.” Clever.)
Back in the day, I’m sure horse-drawn buggies and later automobiles with bench seats surely saved many a marriage. I remember when a dual-control electric blanket saved my parent’s marriage. Dad was always chilly and mom a balmy 98.7. (Thanks, Dad, for your cool-bloodied genes . . . well, honestly, not so much.)
So in our day of glamorized love stories, how do elderly couples end up nestled next to each other while taking a spin around town? Growing up, I relished reading “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” in my mom’s monthly issue of Ladies Home Journal. I found myself fascinated by the professional counselor telling each marriage partner’s story and then giving pointed advice for each partner to work at issues to revive love and commitment in their relationship. The article concluded with a fast-forward review of how the husband and wife turned around their marriage. (I don’t recall any breakups recorded by LHJ in print.)
As a young girl, I always believed the marriages I read about in LHJ could and would be saved. After all, this was the era of dual-control electric blankets. But today, even with dual-control heated car seats and dual-control mattress firmness settings, I realize that not every marriage will survive when the heat is on the relationship or a major cool-down sets in.
So what’s a couple to do when their marriage is weary from life’s thick and thin or they are stuck in bucket seats driving around town? Here’s a well-tested answer from “the love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13: “Love. . . isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. . . always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end” (v. 5, 7, The Message).
This doesn’t just apply to a married people. Maybe all of us, marrieds and singles both, could strengthen all of our relationships if we simply put the other person first and looked for the best in them. Maybe we’d benefit by not looking back on how our loved one messed up by saying hurtful words or how he or she adjusted the wrong dual control.
May I suggest that the next time this happens, just hop in the car with your honey, add a thick, folded blanket over the center console and create your own bench seat. Then tool around town like you’re seniors out for a little joy ride.