Artist's Lane: When the heart speaks


By Betty Slade

PREVIEW Columnist

Would you pick your child’s spouse if you could? It sounds like a fun idea, until you rationalize reality. Would you really want to be responsible for their marital bliss, or lack thereof? For their lifetime of ups and downs? Or, should they grow to not love each other in the end? 

We have three grandsons who are thinking about marriage. Our family has given them advice, asked for or not. From our experience, we think we have a lot to tell them about choosing a good mate. Bottom line, we won’t be the ones to live with them, but give our opinion anyway.

Oscar Wilde said, “You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”

Maybe that is why a parent’s (or grandparent’s) best advice falls on deaf ears. We don’t hear the melodic strain that delights their ears. 

Heard or not, I told one of my grandsons that I wanted him to “marry up.” It’s the only intelligent thing to do. You want a wife who has more on the ball than you do, so you have someone to motivate you to be a better version of yourself. I don’t know how he processed what I said, but I thought it was good advice. 

What does God say about relationships? No doubt he put the heart first when he said not to choose a mate who has wandering feet or a roving eye. How many times have we seen marriages break up where that was the case? 

We are told in the Book of Proverbs that it is better for a man to have a little room in the corner than a complaining wife who is like a dripping faucet. It also says that it is better to live in a rickety shack than share a castle with a crabby spouse. 

I’ve known a few “drips” who lived in castles whose Camelot is no more. Now things make perfect sense. 

I hear young people say, “Doesn’t cute count?” I guess so, for the first few years. But, even that wears off. When I look at the wedding picture of my Sweet Al and me, I would be the first to tell you, we were cute. Then, my hair turned gray and his turned loose. It certainly isn’t cute that kept us together all of these years. 

It is hard to imagine what people thought back in the day. A 1940’s magazine ad said, “Keep Young and Attractive, use Dr. Campbell’s Arsenic Complexion Wafers.” Another advertisement for Kellogg’s Pep Vitamins states, “The harder a wife works, the cuter she looks.”

“Ah, no, and no.”

As with our children, it is best that we stick to the original game plan for our grandsons. Prayer. We have always said, “We will love whoever you bring home.” Of course, that didn’t stop us from praying a few away. 

When my children were younger, I would ask their date if they were the one I had been praying for. Needless to say, that seemed to clear the room more effectively than locking the front door. 

When two of our daughters brought home young men who they wanted to marry, I had my doubts. Admittedly, I had someone else in mind for each of them. Fortunately, God’s voice was music that struck a chord in their hearts. 

Our sons-in-law are perfect for our daughters. Two men that I have thanked repeatedly for being good husbands and fathers, also good to my Sweet Al and me. 

Final brushstroke: To our grandsons, choosing the right woman to live a lifetime with takes more than our expectations. It’s takes holy matrimony, a bond of love. And, although love may be blind, you will know who is right when your heart hears hers. 

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