There were eight of us seated around the table at the fancy banquet. As we passed the water pitcher and placed the linen napkins politely on our laps, my husband leaned over and whispered in my ear, “What smells?” Without saying a word, I casually turned my head and gave him “the look” – if you’ve been married for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about. We all have “a look” that communicates when words fall short. My look that evening pleaded, “I don’t know, just eat your salad and don’t make a scene.”
I reached for the butter dish and noticed the guy across the table grab the buttons on his polo shirt, tuck his chin down and sniff. The woman next to him leaned over and I read her lips, “Did you just take a ‘smellfie’!?” (in case you are wondering, it means to smell yourself!). It was clear the rest of our table was questioning what smelled too. Our eyes flitted back and forth and, like middle school kids in health class, we all started giggling. Something near our table was a little “off putting” to say it nicely.
I tried to listen to the speaker during the dinner program, but I couldn’t concentrate. We talked about the unpleasant smell on the ride home and I know it must sound silly, but I thought about it the rest of the week. I pondered the importance of not just a physical “smellfie” but a relational one too. We need to take responsibility and make sure we don’t “stink” to those around us. If we are honest, sometimes our words, actions, even our body language can be unpleasant to those who are near.
Think about those gathered around your dinner table. Think about the conversations and your interactions. Think about your responses to them. If something arises that is off putting, may I encourage you to take a “smellfie” before you start sniffing around to see where – or who – it’s coming from? I am speaking from experience here. I have found that what I think “stinks” about my husband isn’t coming from him at all…it’s me! Yesterday I noticed myself getting irritated as he was telling me about the Lion’s NFL draft picks. Normally I would smile and nod because it matters to him, but this time I was getting annoyed because I was too absorbed in what I was watching on YouTube. I was thinking about my “selfie” (I couldn’t resist!). Bottom line, our wedding vows include “To love and to cherish” so we are reminded to value our spouse above everything else. When I put myself and my priorities ahead of my people…my attitude starts to stink, and a quick self-check is sometimes all that’s necessary to keep my marriage smelling fresh!
“Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.” Song of Solomon 4:10