Special to 0-A News
From Walter Albritton, Senior Pastor Trinity UMC
For Sunday, Jan. 17, 1999

Wednesday night is my choice for the best night of the week

Many exciting things happen in our area on Wednesday nights. In the winter the Auburn Tigers often play basketball on Wednesday nights. It would be fun to see them play, especially this year. But life is full of choices and for me the die is cast. Right now I can think of nothing I could possibly enjoy more than what I am doing - leading a group of 35 people who are eager to learn how to build a marriage that lasts and a home that honors God.
At my age I am somewhat driven to help younger people learn how to achieve lasting love in the covenant of marriage by avoiding some of the mistakes I made. Not that I am an expert on teaching the art of successful marriage. If anything I am an expert on the dumb things husbands can do to mess up their marriages.

What is exciting is finding young couples who are willing to face their problems and learn how to improve their relationships with each other, and with their children. So for the next 17 weeks my friend John Patterson and I are teaming up to lead a group that meets at our church on Wednesday nights, at 6:00 o'clock, after sharing a meal together.
We will, of course, learn from the group members. They will teach us. We don't know it all. My wife, with a mischievous grin on her face, asked me, "What ever gave you the idea that you and John could teach people about marriage and the family?" I grinned back and replied, "Why, honey, we are just going to share what we have learned from you and Carolyn in our own marriages." That's no joke. We will share what we have learned from the mistakes and heartaches of our own attempt at family living. By the grace of God we have learned some things not to do, and a few things that must be done if a couple is ever to achieve harmony.
We will invite our group to talk about how to handle hurt feelings, anger, conflict, financial problems, and how to improve communication skills. Together we will affirm the best ideas for a healthy marriage we can glean from authors like Gary Smalley, James Dobson, Gary Chapman, Howard Hendrix, and Norman Wright. But mostly we will share the lessons we ourselves have learned.

One of the first lessons I learned in marriage was very painful. I learned that I was not the "sun" of my family, nor were my wife and children smaller planets happily revolving around me. Somehow I entered marriage with the notion that when I said, "jump," my obedient wife was supposed to ask, "how high?" I soon learned that if our union was to last, I would have to come down off my high horse and negotiate a better deal with my wife. She was a person too, and I had a responsibility to help her find fulfillment through the use of her own gifts. Fortunately she stayed around long enough for me give up playing the part of the mighty "sun" in her universe.

As I look back on our early days of marriage, I am sometimes brought to tears as I recall what a poor companion and husband I was. When she had a miscarriage, I had no idea how that traumatic event would impact her life. I offered her pitifully little support in those days and the weeks that followed. I realize now that her miscarriage for me was no more significant than a flat tire, a brief interruption. My routine continued, after a brief pause, and she had to recover without the loving support that she deserved from her husband.
There is no way to go back and "fix" all the mistakes of my earlier life. But I can share my heart with others and encourage them to learn sooner than I did how to build and maintain a strong and healthy marriage.

That's why Wednesday nights are so exciting for me right now. If you are free just now on Wednesday nights, John and I would be happy to have you join us. We could learn from you and we might all be the wiser for sharing together.