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I was at a mandatory training class at work. When my boss came in and asked me to step outside, I knew it was serious. Nothing short of a major work accident, or a family emergency interrupted mandatory training. When he took me to the lobby and my six-month pregnant wife was there, I was worried.  Especially because she looked shaken.

“What is wrong?” I asked her.  

“The car was wrecked in an accident,” she stated.

I then blurted out. “Are you all right? What about the baby?”

Not “How badly was the car damaged?” Not “How much will it cost?” Not even “Who was at fault?”

Afterward when I thought about it, I realized it was the exact right thing to say, on many levels. At the most basic, it was the right thing to say because it asked the most important question. Things are replaceable. People are not. Ten years into our marriage, she was the most important person in my life. (Twenty-five years later she still is.) My relief after she assured me that she and the baby were unhurt was unbounded.

Would I Be Angry?

On reflection I realized that it was also the thing she wanted to hear most. She later told me “I was so worried about what you would think.” What would I think of her for wrecking the car? Would I be angry? Did I care? My words were as much an affirmation of my love for her as a question about her health.

Finally, I realized I had been given (and passed) a snap test on basic human decency. What type of person was I? One whose first thoughts were about replaceable material things I owned or about the people in my life? What type of person would I be if my first question was not about her? Not a very pleasant one I realized when I thought about it.

It is part of what Paul meant in Ephesians 5:28 when he stated “. . . husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” When I was rear-ended driving last year, my first thought was “Am I uninjured?” (I was.)  Just as I worried about my body when I was in that position, so too, should I worry about my wife’s well being.

What had happened? Two blocks from where I worked, someone ran a red light and broadsided her car. She was unhurt. The other driver was at fault. Our car was barely drivable, and my wife had been on her way to see her obstetrician. She had limped her car over to my workplace. She needed my car to make her appointment.

She took my car, I arranged to fix her car, and we went on with life. Our marriage became a little stronger because I said the right thing. We were indeed becoming one.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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