As I sit typing this column, I am not the least bit distracted by my two finger, hunt-and-peck style of typing. No, I got that from my genius grandfather, and I can type as fast this way as most people can who use the “accepted and appropriate” style of typing. But what I am distracted by is my ring finger on my left hand, the finger that has for more than twenty-five years been home to the simple gold band that my wife put on my finger at our marriage altar.
That finger is swollen and misshapen, and there is a white ring of skin where the sun has not shined for all of those many years. Somehow I jammed my finger a couple of days ago, and when the swelling got too bad, I had to put lotion on the finger and wrestle the ring off, as it was cutting off circulation by that point.
That simple thing has made this an amazingly awkward day. I realized just how awkward when I was at the post office mailing packages and realized I was actually hiding that hand so my ringless finger would not be seen. I quickly began to analyze that in my head, and came to the conclusion that I was embarrassed to have anyone think I was somehow now “available.”
Please understand that I understand that some people have physical/occupational reasons why they cannot and do not wear wedding bands. My point is not to infer that such people are being sinful, or that I am better than they are. But for me that wedding band has always served as a combination shield/billboard protecting me from temptation, and advertising my complete fidelity to my bride. Being without it makes me very uncomfortable. And the fact that it makes me uncomfortable is, I believe, a very good thing.
I am on Twitter (@PreacherBo, if you care to follow me) and saw something recently that gave me a great laugh. From time to time some pervert masquerading as a nubile foreign female will follow me, and send me the requisite “hey!” tweet. I always just immediately block them. But I saw a rather clever politician from Georgia recently who posted one of those tweets along with the terse response “My wife will throat punch you.”
Please do not bother to send me emails condemning my “promotion of violence;” I promise, whatever creepy man behind that fake profile is sending that garbage deserves the light hearted threat. But the Georgia pol with the snappy comeback deserves credit for flying a very visible flag that says “I am faithful to my spouse.”
When God made humanity, He made an Adam and an Eve, a husband and a wife. And the instruction he gave them in Genesis 2:24 was “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
That one man one woman, leaving and cleaving model sets God’s standard for all marriages. And the more visible we make that commitment each and every day, the less at risk our marriages will be. It is when we do not send very clear signals on that commitment that we are either opening ourselves up for trouble, or perhaps even actively seeking it.
On my Twitter account you will see two people in my profile picture: Dana and me. Ditto on the Facebook page. If you call the church and speak to my very hot secretary, you will be speaking to my wife. I told my church early on “If I am going to be tempted to chase my secretary around the desk, I may as well be allowed to catch her!”
More than two decades ago, when we set up Dana as my secretary, it was regarded as an odd thing, and even generated a few complaints. But after years of our folks hearing about other pastors running away with their secretary, now I look like a genius for that decision.
Pastor, member, factory worker, doctor, lawyer, husband, wife, whoever you are, whatever you do, if you value your marriage, do not ever send mixed signals concerning it. Fly the fidelity flag very high, all day every day. Talk positively about your spouse to everyone. Wear the ring and keep it shiny.
This has been a message from a happily married man typing with two fingers and embarrassed at a third.
(Feature Photo by Bo Wagner)