When marriage needs a rectal thermometer!


Taking temperatures.  Sounds easy doesn’t it.  I’ve seen it done in the ear, armpit, mouth, and yes, taking, in babies, in their rear end.  I did a quick search on this. According to Dr. Samuel D. Clark, Pediatrician at the Waco Pediatric Clinic, “The gold standard for accuracy is still the rectal thermometer.”  Why? It’s considered the most accurate because it “best represents your body’s core temperature and is less influenced by external factors, such as air conditioning or wind.”

I know…you’re wondering:

1. Why is he talking about rectal thermometers?
2. What in the world does it have to do with marriage?

I’ll clarify that in a minute.

I came across a quote early last month from someone I follow on twitter (@1FleshMarriage) that said:

“The temperature of the average marriage is so low that loving couples are accused of having a fever.”

Their response to it was so simple and yet so profound: “turn it up!”  I’ll admit, it took me a few reads to catch what the quote was really saying.  Even reading to to Anne, like me, it had to be read slow to catch what it’s really saying.  The bar has been set so low for marriage that “loving couples” are not the norm.  If fact, these couples are the oddballs.  They are the seen as different.  Sometimes they are despised.  I’ve listened to couples complain about “loving couples” as if to say, “give them time, they’ll get back to reality.

So sad.

What’s sad, is couples will not give themselves the proper marriage temperature check.  Why did I use the rectal thermometer metaphor? Rectal Thermometer:

  • more effort
  • not always clean
  • uncomfortable/awkward
  • most importantly, it’s accurate (less influenced by external factors)

I’ve seen some pretty ornery couples. They refuse to approach the subject as if to check, is the admission that someone is failing…OR…they don’t want any bad news so they keep pushing on.   Taking a temperature of the marriage isn’t easy. It’s putting James 1:19 (as we preached on last Sunday) to practice. “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Like using a rectal thermometer, taking our marriage temperature:

Takes more effort than you think.  It’s looking for the right timing, with the right tone, with the right mannerisms (non-verbal communication speaks louder than the words we use).  Obviously, bringing up the frequency of your sex-life is not dinner table talk in front of your kids. Your kids will thank you and so will your spouse. Look for opportunities.  Husbands, make the opportunities. Create a place where your wife can be heard. Wives, be vulnerable enough to hear what he thinks.  Take it personal to the point it challenges and not devastates you. To the both of you, take that extra step, and the extra effort.  Why? Your marriage is worth it!
It’s not always clean. It takes a lot of humility to allow your spouse to speak to things you won’t want to hear.  It’s hard to keep from being defensive to hear where I might be lacking. I have to admit that my way of doing things ISN’T the right way all the time.  In my mind, I’m the most romantic man. I’m the most thoughtful man.  I’m the best lover.  I’m the greatest dad.  Taking my marriage temp takes my rose-colored glasses off and releases my idealism from Wonderland.  I may be a pretty great husband (in my mind) but I have to come to grips with the fact that I don’t have it all figured out and I don’t have it all together.
It’s uncomfortable/awkward to communicate growth areas (I like the term “growth areas” over “weaknesses”).  For me, I can’t say I’ve paved the way for criticism.  Like I said, I’m very defensive.  I can make the atmosphere uncomfortable. I take criticism personal.  BUT…when you work hard on opening the communication paths, you and your spouse put the defenses down and see yourselves as iron sharpening iron.  I’m coming up on 15 years being married.  If there’s anything I’ve understood, growth isn’t always comfortable.  Growing pains are tough to deal with.  But those that endure pain will see something great birthed in their marriage.
– But, when it’s done in compassion, humility, and honesty…IT’S ACCURATE. Like a car engine, accurate diagnoses of issues leads to proper upkeep and maintenance.  I had a friend in college to saw a light come on her dashboard and her response was put a quart of oil in her engine.  I still laugh at that.  After filling her engine with quite a bit of oil, she realized that wasn’t even the issue.  Your compassion, humility, and honesty won’t break down your marriage.  It will show you where you need the most work. It will strengthen it to a fever pitch when compared to the “norm.”  I think of these three as the logs in fire that Doc Brown used in Back to the Future III.  Each log boosted the locomotive faster and faster propelling it into the future.   Taking the temp of your marriage isn’t easy. But fostering compassion, humility, and honesty will give you and your spouse amazing revelation to where you are and where to build from.

Take some time to take the temperature of your marriage?  Maybe start with different parts of your marriage? (in no particular order)

  • What’s the temp of your communication?
  • What’s the temp of your quality time together?
  • What’s the temp of your spiritual lives?
  • What’s the temp of your love life?
  • What’s the temp of your laughter?
  • What’s the temp of your ___________?  (you fill in the blank)

For Pete’s sake, stop being normal!!!!  Be abnormal and run your marriage at a fever pitch. Raise the fever of your marriage and watch it infect the marriages around you.

Be accused of having a marriage fever.  TURN UP THE HEAT!!!

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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