The Perfect Landing


I’m told the vast majority of airplane crashes are from pilot error. I’d guess the majority of marriage problems are, too. We husbands are the pilots.

As we pass the entrance to an Air Force Base, my friend says:

“Hey Regi, look! How did he do that?”

It’s funny, but it’s not far from how we men feel a lot of times. We’re expected to land the plane on three 12 inch squares. “Don’t say the wrong thing,” “Don’t forget to tell her the plans, but only when they’re firm.” Too much detail and we’re boring. Too little and we “never tell her what’s going on.” Initiate . . . be romantic. But don’t be pushy. Let her in on family finances but not so much to make her worry.

It’s hard to be a good husband.

It’s easier for our wives to see what’s wrong than what’s right. Sure, we have the Bible, the 10 Commandments and the model of Jesus to go by. But most of the places we fall short have less definitive standards. As my friend John says, “No one can argue with a vision!” We often feel that our wives’ vision for what we’re to do and say are vague and fluid. On those rare occasions when we get it right, eureka! But more often, we “go over the line” we didn’t see. Or didn’t even know there was a line.

Knowing what your wife needs and wants is uber-important. “Dying to self” is a prerequisite to a good marriage. It’s the Golden Rule on steroids.

Perfection is impossible. We ARE going to crash. Multiple times.

Maybe we can learn from aviation. Maybe we start retrieving the black box and analyzing what went wrong. I’m told the vast majority of airplane crashes are from pilot error. I’d guess the majority of marriage problems are, too. We husbands are the pilots. We’re unaware of what’s happening at home or in her heart. We miss flashing warning lights because we’re busy or distracted. We repeat what we’ve done thousands of times, missing the fact that this time is different. We take her for granted. We miss the mark. It hurts her and that hurts us back.

1 Peter 3:7 guides us to “live with our wives in an understanding way,” but I believe it also speaks to wives. The quickest way to disrespect your husband is to ignore what he is facing, to set expectations he can’t possibly live up to, and to refuse to forgive him when he screws up . . . when he “crashes and burns.”

Airport runways are three times as wide and twice as long as they have to be. Why? Because there’s going to be pilot error. There are going to be mistakes. Marks are going to be missed . . . important marks. Sometimes, it takes a long time and a lot of pain for a husband and wife to figure out how to land safely most of the time and to survive the rest.

Just know that no one is perfect. And for whatever reason, Jesus never married. He’s our navigator. He’s our wingman. He’s “air traffic control.” And although we’re learning, we’re still “flying blind” a lot of the time.

We need grace.

Question: Do you “miss the mark with your wife? Is it because you’re stubborn and ignore the warning lights? Do you need to “humble yourself and move toward living with your wife in a more understanding way? Apologize today. Do a 180 and move in her direction.

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