Seven Stages of the Married Cold

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called
Today, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Some clever observer has described the way family members often drift apart
as the seven stages of the married cold. The pattern can be illustrated by
tracing the reaction of a husband to his wife’s cold symptoms during seven
years of marriage:

The first year
Sugar Dumpling, Imp worried about my baby girl. You have a bad sniffle, and
there’s no telling about these things with all this strep around. I’m
putting you in the hospital for a general checkup and rest.

Year two
Listen, Darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough. Ill bathe the kids
and put them down. You just lie down while I get the car nice and warm.

Year three
Feeling a little punk are you, Hon? Maybe you’d better lie down and rest.
Ill bring you something to eat. Do we have any soup?

Year four
Look, Dear, be sensible. After you feed the kids and wash the dishes, you’d
better hit the sack.

Year five
You don’t sound so good. Why don’t you get yourself a couple of aspirin?

Year six
If you’d just gargle or something instead of sitting around barking like a
seal, Id appreciate it!

Year seven
For Petes sake, stop sneezing! What are you trying to do, give me pneumonia?

While we may smile at this imaginary degeneration of concern, its all too
real in many marriage relationships. The pattern is in sharp contrast with
our text, which calls for daily encouragement that keeps relationships warm
and alive, rather than steady discouragement that can only harden hearts.

It is important for you to make this atmosphere of support and encouragement
a foundation of your marriage. Marriage can rob your relationship of
intimacy and excitement. Why not decide today to find a fresh way to
encourage your spouse.

That the dailiness of family life and its increasing familiarity will serve
to draw your family closer instead of leading to indifference.

Do the ways you and your mate express concern for each others troubles
differ now from when you were first married? Are some of these changes
natural and appropriate? Do others foster isolation?

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