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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,036
August 19, 2020
"Like a Kiss on the Lips"
By Mike McManus

I'd like to suggest a book that would be a perfect birthday, anniversary or Christmas present for your spouse (or a son or daughter): "Like a Kiss on the Lips" by Les and Leslie Parrott.

Three thousand years ago, King Solomon wrote Proverbs, a book of wisdom for the ages. One quote from Proverbs 24:26 suggested the title of this book, "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.'

The opening sentence of their book is "Of all the little expressions of love - a box of chocolates, a handwritten poem, or a bouquet of handpicked wild flowers - I think my favorite is a good old-fashioned kiss on the lips.' That might come from her husband greeting her after a day at work, or with an "ambush kiss while standing in line at the grocery."

Each little chapter of three pages begins with a quote from Proverbs. It then focuses on their life as a couple. For example, in this first chapter, they write, "Love cannot last without honesty. Our honest answers create trust, the very bedrock of a relationship."

Unfortunately, some couples are tempted to tell "little white lies." After being married only a few weeks, Les asked her how she liked the barbeque ribs he cooked, and she replied "They're great," even though they made her gag. So he began cooking them regularly, which required great effort. Finally she confessed that they made her sick. Les was shocked and hurt, and said, "How can I ever believe you again?"

They write, "The tragedy of most small deceptions is that they mushroom, ultimately creating a ground of distrust."

Another example of the book's wisdom begins with the first chapter of Proverbs: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

They write, "A wise couple is one who knows marriage well and works together on important decisions such as financial management and child rearing."

They add, "Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age, or experience. Wisdom comes from the good sense to understand what is true, right and lasting - it comes from 'fearing the Lord.' Seeking God is the starting point of all wisdom."

What I recommend is that couples buy the book, and read a chapter a day - perhaps at dinnertime. The chapters are all short, so it will take no longer than five minutes. But it will spark lively and useful conversations.

My wife and I have been married for 54 wonderful years. We have been blessed with three sons and three daughters-in-law, plus nine grandchildren. We begin every morning with a reading from Scripture and a commentary on it. That discipline keeps us in touch with the Lord and with each other.

Here are a couple more illustrations from their book, which can be ordered from Amazon.

Proverbs 26:20: "Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down." Leslie asked, "You told Rich what?" "Oh, he doesn't care if you lost $50," Les replied.

"Excuse me," Leslie retorted. "but can't you just assume I don't want everyone to know my stupid mistakes?"

Les confesses she had a "good point" They write, "What you don't tell your friends about your marriage is just as important as what you do them. Protecting your spouse's confidence is critical to building a trustworthy marriage."

Proverbs 12:25 is succinct; "An anxious heart weighs a man down. But a kind word cheers him up."

They write, "Spouses routinely underestimate the importance of a kind word. Each of us needs someone to listen to the little everyday aspects of our life, like how irritated you were in the school parking lot or how friendly the person you met at the grocery store was."

The Parrotts add, "If everyday communication sounds simple, it is...What's most important is that you simply have the ability to show love, appreciation, caring and concern enough to have warm conversations with one another"

"Like A Kiss on the Lips" is a book every couple should read.

While it is out of print, copies are available at Amazon.

Copyright (c) 2020 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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