What Toilet Paper Teaches Us About Marriage (& Life)

I have been counseling a couple for the last couple months that was near the brink. Separated after 20 years of marriage, kids raised, but realized that they were really living separate lives, and had grown apart.

No infidelity, no substance abuse, no financial meltdown, but a slow slipping away of what was once a passionate love.

It has been refreshing, in that this couple has responded not just to me, but to the Lord. They are going to church together, back living in the same house, and slowly rebuilding their love affair.

This week we got together and we talked about several issues that they are working on, kinda like “What About Bob’s” “baby steps” – simple things. I asked the husband, who has up to this point borne much of the burden of change and accommodation, “what are some things that you would like to see your wife address, that would be a blessing to you?”

I was looking for something that she could do for him as he is learning to do things once again for her. I honestly did not know what to expect, but I was thinking perhaps sex or something to do with money.

What I got was so funny, he told me, “well I would really like it if she put the roll of toilet paper on the roller the way that I prefer.” We then had a few laughs as we discussed what the proper way was, “roll off the top, or roll off the bottom.”

This might seem like such a silly thing to you and me, but the truth is, this is what makes a marriage work at times. I asked the wife, “can you do this from now on?” “Can you do this simple little thing?” “Every time you put a new roll on the roller can you think of your husband and honor his wishes?” She responded, “yes,” a little surprised that this was actually something that mattered.

I told her “it does matter.” Every time her husband sees that she has done this, he will feel honored, and for a man, that is everything. The truth is, it’s more crucial than sex. That is why the Lord commands wives to “Be subject to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:22) we are wired to need it. Of course sex is nice as well. 🙂

Here is a question for all of us, how do we live our lives? Could we yield to some silly thing like putting the roll on in a way that pleases another, or must we do it our way? This is not about what is right or what is wrong, it’s about the attitude of our heart. If we can surrender our will in these little things of life, we will learn how to surrender in the more substantive things. We will learn how to love the way that Jesus loves. (Philippians 2)


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