This is the 11th year in a row that families across America have started their annual spring pattern of flocking to their TV sets multiple times a week to witness the phenomena that is American Idol. It is a show fueled with all of the best elements of entertainment: good guys, bad guys, drama, intrigue, suspense, heartwarming music, inspiration, and schtick! Hundreds of thousands of hopefuls audition each year with hopes that they could be the next big thing. If we can set aside the premise that the show is designed to produce an idol and just use our imaginations a bit, I would like to try to propose the theory that husbands want to be idolized (respected) in their homes. So let’s take a look at this through the lens of our friend, American Idol.
“THIS IS……..American Husband!”
You can add your own wacky music here. Probably a good opportunity to show a picture of an incredibly embarrassed husband here standing like a statue on a pedestal that is spinning slowly around. I know I wouldn’t really want to be in the spotlight and would feel pretty naked in that setting. Maybe we should try adding something more fitting to the American husband, we should have a picture that shows a man at his place of refuge. The place where he is able to think about the decisions of his day. The place where he can spend vast amounts of time in quiet meditation. A place that is fit for a king: his throne room.
We will begin by looking at where this story begins. Somewhere back in the past every American husband want-to-be had to start out by going on his first date. The basic premise of the first date is for you to determine if you and the prospective future wife like each other enough to want to spend additional time together. In essence each of you are the judging panel. This is where the scene cuts to the American husband before the date and tells us something about him. This could be that he is established in his career, likes to work and/or volunteer at service organizations, or has a unique hobby. This could also be that he lives in his car, in the woods, or under a bridge. Or that he is out on bond, on probation, or just generally running from the law. These should be clues during the date about whether you would like to spend more time together. It might be a good idea to find out what each others’ priorities are for the future. Things like what are your spiritual goals, feelings about a family, and reasons for wanting to be in a relationship.
At this point in the show, the American husband want-to-be has a short period of time to perform in front of the judging panel. The judging panel may ask about what each others’ priorities are for the future. Things like what are your spiritual goals, feelings about having a family, and reasons for wanting to be in a relationship. At this point we are ready for the date to begin. In this short amount of time we get to see several things.
Is the American husband want-to-be tone deaf? Basically, do they have a warped sense of who they actually are. Do they think that they are more capable than they are or really just trying to talk a good game to get a pass through? Another thought is if they have obtained the date with a phony set of credentials.
Is the American husband want-to-be able to take criticism? What we are looking at here is are they willing to listen to their date and try to understand more about them or are they only interested in promoting themselves. Are they equally as interested in their dates future goals? Do they seem interested in looking after the needs of their date? Do they only seem interested in getting a Golden Ticket and not hearing how they can improve their chances in Hollywood.
Is the American husband want-to-be good but has a flaw that eliminates him from consideration for future dates? Do they show signs of being a future American husband but need to work on some things in order to get further along in the process. I think of this most often as a lack of maturity. You have all of the parts that you need to be a future husband, but lack the ability to be trusted, be a leader, or are not willing to put in the work to get past the first date.
Finally, we have the American husband want-to-be that has all of the goods. They exhibit a lot of the qualities found in 1 Corinthians 13. They handle the opportunity for the date with humility and care as much about the date’s feelings as their own.
Peacefulwife and I met at a former Christian bookstore in Columbia called the Living Vine when we were in high school. They were having a Christian concert there that night by a local group and we happened to sit next to each other. To make a long story short, and although I can still remember their best original song, “Beefaroni or Be for Real”, they were not very good. I can remember Peacefulwife turning around and having an unbelievable spark of energy that I knew I wanted to be around. We got to know each other that night and wondered whether we would ever see each other again, being that it would be a long distance relationship and all between the towns where we lived. We were both fairly juvenile and hadn’t fully discovered the power of Southern Bell until that moment. I think this is the point in the show where they show the American Husband leaving the date holding his Golden Ticket to dating. For me, it was small white sliver of crumpled paper with a magic number on it.
This is the grueling time frame between the first date and marriage. Depending on the American husband want-to-be’s age, circumstances, and career goals this could range from 6 months to many years. Peacefulwife and I dated throughout high school and college before getting married. Let’s look at some of the aspects of Hollywood week.
The second date – This is when the American husband want-to-be gets to show that what the judging panel saw in the first date is who they thought they were.
The next aspect is having dates in the American husband want-to-be’s element. This is usually the first time that the judging panel sees the candidate playing their own instrument or with their close friends. Is he able to shine when you put some background music into the equation? Do his interests align with your interest?
The Group Date – Can the American husband want-to-be get along with and work well with your friends? Do they make an effort to try to look out for your best interest and be on their best behavior? Do they point out your strengths or your weaknesses to the group you are in?
As this point you continue to perform with each date for the judges and there are people that get cut from the process at each step of the way.
Well, at this point the American Husband want-to-be has made it pretty far and passed a lot of tests. They have shown that they have the best interest of their future spouse at heart and they are starting to produce beautiful music together. Well, in American Idol they usually take a trip to Las Vegas for the final pre-marriage judging. The candidate must continue to make better music together with his girl to continue.
Another step along the way are the next Group Dates. This part of the competition is when the American Husband want-to-be visits his prospective wife’s family and vice versa. I know this is a stretch with the American Idol theme, but maybe you could think “The Bachelor”, but without the whole lack of Christian marriage principles thing going on. This part of the process should probably be much earlier but we will fit it in here. Does he want to be a part of your family and make an effort to love and respect your family as much as his own. Does he show you that he is willing to provide you with the love and security that you had from your parents?
The American Husband want-to-be makes a decision that he thinks that the future spouse would be a great person to spend the rest of his life with and asks for her hand in marriage. This is the final audition for the decision. The judging panel thinks hard about this and if things are like they should be this takes about ½ of a second and she says “Yes!”
Well, after some amount of time if you have made it through the tortures of planning a wedding and since conveniently we are already in Las Vegas, you get married. At this point the American Husband want-to-be gets to be the next American Husband.
Recording Contract, Acclaim, Confetti Raining from the Sky!
This is the dream you have been waiting for. You have finally married the girl of your dreams and you have all you want in the world on a platter. Wait a second! Where is the Easy Life! Where is the bird seed that was just raining from the sky? What happened to my perfect wedding picture?
Well, in reality this is where your life as the American Husband begins. The pursuit phase of your life has ended and the real tests of your manhood has begun. Every day you will be tested in many areas. You will have to love your wife as Christ loved the Church and put away all of your pride to be the leader of your new family. This will not be easy and you will fail many times. Divorce is not an option and you must be willing to work at all costs to make things better. As you grow in your marriage, experience will be your guide in making better decisions and maturing in your relationship.
This is the honeymoon phase of marriage. Cue the scene, start the music, roll the tape of the man on the pedestal. You are ready to perform on the BIG stage. But before you perform you have to prepare for each day. This is where you see the scene of the American Husband working behind the scenes on his BIG performance. There are a couple of people that help him along the way.
The Producer – Well, if he is a wise man he will let God be his producer. He will let God be the director of his decisions and his chief counsel.
The Vocal Coach – This could be a relationship book that helps you understand how to understand what your wife needs are and how to show her the love that she craves.
The Musicians – This is your mentor group and is important in keeping you on the right track.
So you have come to a point in your day where you have performed. Did you do your best? Did you give your relationship your all? Did you consider all of the counsel you had along the way? Did you stumble? Did you get nervous and forget the words? Did you do the simple things like smile?
You come before the judging panel and you are greeted with a review of your performance. You know that you did have a few problems during the show. You know that you could have done some things better. You know that you didn’t exactly make the most graceful move.
We will find out the results, after the break……..Well this is one of those quirky things I thought I could fit in that works with the American Idol theme. A man really takes a lot more time than a woman to make a decision. They need this time to evaluate all areas of an issue. Hopefully, this allows him to make a decision that is both fair and that shows grace. This also allows him the time to try to make a decision with a clear mind and not fueled by his emotions.
Well, back from the Jim Hudson Truck Team and Coke commercials, you look up to the judge’s booth. Wait a second, your judge is standing from her chair and giving you a standing ovation. She then sits down and expresses that she is so happy you are in her life and how proud she is of you. She knows that you are not perfect and that you have many different strengths and weaknesses than she has, but wants you to continue in the competition.
This is the kids phase of marriage. Wow! You made it past Week 1 of the competition. Things have not been easier this week. You have a couple of kids now and between diapers, and bedtime, and school you feel like you are passing each other in the halls sometimes. You are more experienced in being the head of the household but it seems like the household issues get bigger and bigger. You have done well in the competition up until now, but this week you do not have as much time as you had in the week before. Beyond that, you have to perform twice this week and the music is much more difficult. You may not have had as much time with your producer, the vocal coach, or with the band this week.
You don’t feel fully prepared but you go out on stage and give it your all. You were a little off key and didn’t have quite the connection that you wanted when you performed, but you made it through it. Fearing the worst, you step up to the mic and face the judge. The judge once again gets up to her feet and gives you a standing ovation. She says I know that you were not perfect but you gave me what you had. You are a great leader for me as your wife and a daddy to our kids. I loved it. She wants you to continue in the competition.
This is the post-kids phase of marriage. You made it to the final week of the competition. You have made great strides in all areas of your leadership of this marriage. You have used your training well. You continue a solid relationship with your producer and let him lead you in His will. You have become your own vocal coach and have directed your own kids to live in a righteous manner. You continue to be supported by the band but have started to be a mentor to a fresh new band. The performance this week is not easy. You need to be able to use everything you have learned throughout the journey to pass this test.
You think back at the many years the two of you have had together. You know that you were not perfect in every decision, but you tried your best. You are happy with the way that your kids turned out. They have made you a proud daddy and you are honored to have had them. You feel at peace in knowing that over the course of marriage the two of you have become one. You discovered how to communicate and show your love for each other in ways that the other could feel and understand.
You come up on stage for your final performance. You seek to incorporate everything you have learned throughout your journey. You know that you have given your all and you know that you have tried your best. As the music stops, you notice a bright light surrounding you and the Judge beginning to move his chair. You look up and hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”