I‘m one of those people that don’t follow the rules too well. It’s not that I don’t want to. Many times, it’s that I didn’t understand the directions in the first place. Every once in a while, though, this ends up being a blessing in disguise.
Last week my wife and I were in California sitting in a seminar together. The topic was interesting and the speaker was engaging. I just had one of those moments where my mind wandered.
My kids make fun of me for this. They catch me staring out the window into our backyard looking at nothing. I’m just staring – daydreaming – and simply letting my mind drift. Sometimes I do this outside of our home too, and it ends up making for awkward moments trying to catch back up to where a conversation is, or where someone is in their presentation.
I’m sure no other men reading this do the same thing.
Well the presenter gave instructions on a quick three minute assignment. It wasn’t until he was wrapping up what he was saying and asking the people to do this task that my mind came back to earth. I was foggy at best. What I heard clearly was, “Turn to your spouse and share this in three minutes or less.”
Yeah, I was busted, but too prideful to admit it. I tried to recover by piecing together fragments in my mind of what he just said. The result was really good, but didn’t fulfill his assignment.
After I put it all together – in about 4 seconds – I came up with what the assignment apparently was:
Your wife is lying on the ground and is dying. She has three minutes to live. What do you tell her? Go.
This wasn’t the assignment, but for the next three minutes I tried to put myself into that situation, and tell her what came to my mind. As you can imagine, it got really serious really quickly. But it was so good.
Here is why I loved it:
1. It forced me to communicate how I really feel about her. Steph knows I love her. I tell her quite often. This can become routine, though. It can become something we say when we hang up the phone, or when I go to work, or at night before bed. In other words, the very words themselves can be void of deeper meaning. Since she “only had three minutes to live,” I went deeper describing this love I have for her.
2. It made me realize how deeply I love her. As I began to talk, again thinking I “only had three minutes,” there was an urgency to what I was trying to communicate. I told her how much she meant to me, and that I loved her. The more I told her, the more I realized how true this was. My words sped up, trying to keep up with my thoughts, and then my emotions got involved. Suddenly, I felt tears weren’t far away. I love my wife deeply. It was good to be reminded of why I love her the way I do.
3. I was forced to. Sad to say, but many men need a deadline. I know I sure do. With this three minute deadline looming, and the thought of her being “dead” at the end of it, I had to get out what was in my heart. Yes, this made me a little uncomfortable for three minutes, but incredibly freed at the end of it.
4. It gave me perspective. At some point in time, my wife will die. I might have a chance to tell her bye, but I might not. Through this conversation, I realized she is still alive! What a great opportunity I have to live with her NOW. Suddenly I found myself grateful to have her, and eager to experience life on earth with her.
So what do you do with this? I’d encourage you to have this same conversation with your spouse on a date over dinner. Don’t prepare for it. Start the timer on your watch, and go. Then let your spouse do the same thing.
And by the way, what was the assignment that I was supposed to do? The presenter was talking about the Gospel, and was asking everyone if they knew how to share it in three minutes or less. The exercise was to turn to your spouse and pretend like you only had three minutes to share it with them. If you want to know what I think about that, I wrote this post sometime back.
So are you willing to take the three minute challenge?