Peter and Paula had been married for less than a year. Blazing rows had become a constant problem to them. The quarrels had just grown and grown in both number and intensity.
The morning started badly. Paula accidentally elbowed her hubby in the face when getting out of bed.
Later, when dressing for work he was grumpier than normal. Standing there in just his shirt and underpants, he exaggerated a horrified look as he examined the condition of his shirt in the mirror. He snarled, “You stupid idiot! Am I expected to wear this rubbish shirt? I think I’ll get mum to iron them in future.”
Paula saw red and stormed down stairs. She picked up Peter’s much prized model airplane, which he’d built as a young teenager, and smashed it against the wall. It had taken Peter months to craft this model and now it lay in hundreds of pieces on the kitchen floor. Some had even landed in the dog’s food bowl and Sandy was chewing one of the wings as though it might be a bone.
When Peter saw the damage his face became contorted with rage. He felt he wanted to retaliate and smash Paula against the wall. His eyes bulged and the veins in his neck looked ready to burst. It appeared that at any second pressured steam would blow out of his ears and nostrils.
“That’s it! – I’ve had enough this time - I’m leaving!” Peter rushed up stairs, and then stormed back down and out through the door carrying a weekend bag. His parting words were, “You’ll not see me again.”
Paula shouted, “GOOD RIDDANCE TO STUPID RUBBISH!” Then, full of anger, fear and frustration she sobbed her heart out.
“Agnes, there’s a problem with Paula and Peter. They’ve split and have been apart now for the best part of a week. Would you make it a prayer priority? I’ve got meetings arranged to see them, would you pray for a good outcome, please?”
“Yes Pastor of course I will. Have you any direction for me – how you’re going to advise them?”
“Yes Agnes, I’m going to suggest they attend the marriage course that’s due to start a week on Monday. I think they would really benefit from it.”
“Will you keep me informed so I can pray as things arise?”
Peter and Paula said they would give the marriage enhancement course a try. They learnt a lot from it: how to communicate with each other; the importance of good listening as well as speaking; how to respect each other’s differences; how to deal with conflict; the importance of forgiveness and saying sorry to each other and a whole lot of other good stuff that would help their relationship.
They also learnt that marriages are mostly made up of couples who are opposites in temperament i.e. Rhinos and Hedgehogs. In conflict, Rhinos blindly charge in with their heads down whilst Hedgehogs curl up and become stand-offish and prickly.
Paula and Peter discovered they were both Rhinos – a recipe for full-blooded disagreements.
Things got better until Paula scratched the big car which Peter had claimed as his own personal possession.
A verbal ding dong came about after Peter’s full inspection had found that there was a series of scratches and dents down the full length of HIS car. Things got so heated that Paula spat in his face and stormed out.
Peter heard, ‘BEEP – BEEP – BEEP –BEEEEEEEEEP,’ as she sped off in to the distance in HIS CAR!!
Peter was getting worried. Paula had been gone for what seemed hours when the doorbell rang.
“There’s been a car accident and your wife has been taken to Highfields’ Medical Centre.”
“Is she badly hurt?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know the extent of her injuries but the car’s a write-off.”
“Thank you officer.”
Later as Peter sat down by her bedside Paula stirred and mumbled, “Peter I’m sorry I smashed up the car.”
He leaned over, kissed her ear and whispered, “Darling I’m so sorry. People are more important than things and you are the most precious person in the whole world to me.”
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