A Marriage Parable: Sugar’s not the opposite of salt.

True story:

At a certain get together, a certain person botched the soup (details are being withheld to protect the innocent). They had misread the recipe and put in ten times the required amount of salt. It was close to go time, and visitors would arrive soon. What could be done? What could counteract the effects? Their solution: dump a bunch of sugar in the pot and hope for the best. It was historically bad. Awkward silence bad. Sneak out and dump it off the side of porch bad.

Granted, there was a note of sweetness to it, but it was full on disgusting.

A similar approach seems to be used in resolving marital conflict. Something goes wrong. The recipe called for a pinch of confrontation and ten times that amount was used. Or a tablespoon of trust is replaced with two cups of thoughtlessness. Enough with the cooking parallels, let’s just put it this way: somebody screwed up, and there’s a really bad aftertaste.

Don’t believe the lie that you can fix it by dumping a bunch a sugar into the batch. If you threatened divorce, a box of chocolates won’t un-say it. If you lost your temper, cleaning out the pantry or having lots of sex won’t change history. If you’ve been unfaithful, a diamond or a sports car won’t erase anybody’s memory.

Granted, there may be a note of sweetness to it, but it only serves to make something that was already bad full on disgusting.

That night when the soup went terribly wrong, the answer wasn’t to try to cover it up with a cup of sugar. The mistake couldn’t be undone. They should have thrown out the soup, apologized to the guests, ordered pizza, and asked for a chance to get it right the next time. It would’ve taken more time, more money, and a lot more effort…but that was the only way to go.

Sugar can’t counteract the effects of salt.
Flattery can’t counteract the effects of screwing up.

If you blew it you don’t need a cover up, you need a fresh start. The Bible’s word for this is reconciliation. Reconciliation doesn’t mean the chance to pay penance, it means the chance to get a do-over…to go back and get it right this time. It’s not a shortcut. It’s the long route for sure. But it’s the only way to go.

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