Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bricks, Mortar and The Three Little Pigs

My granddaughter’s favorite story is The Three Little Pigs. We all know the story. The pigs that built their houses out of straw and sticks saw them blown away by the big bad wolf. Fortunately, the third pig had the wisdom to build a sturdy house out of bricks, one that could not be blown away when the big bad wolf came.

The third pig took more time to build his house. He put mortar between each brick to bind them together for a strong and impenetrable house. He could have just stacked the bricks, maybe putting a little mortar here and there, and then gone off to play with his brothers. But then his house would have been blown away too and none of them would have had a safe refuge.

As we build our marriages (and yes, that is what we’re doing – building – marriages don’t come ready-made), we can learn a lot from The Three Little Pigs. It may seem more fun to be haphazard about things and not put thoughtful effort into our marriages. However, if we choose to do things that way, like the little pigs who built their houses out of straw and sticks, we may find that we don't have the strength we need when the threatening “winds” come (and they will come!)

We really can’t afford to just stack our bricks either. And we do this a lot. We have communication (the bricks) but we don’t really listen and acknowledge what the other person says. Instead, we try to “one-up” each other. “You think you had a bad day. You should have seen mine.” We have a lot of “conversations” but we don’t really connect.

We can put mortar between our bricks by listening and acknowledging what the other person says, whether or not we agree or whether or not we think it’s important. “Wow! It sounds like you really had a hard time.” This simple act of listening and acknowledging binds us together. It connects us and strengthens our relationship. It makes us feel safe and secure.

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