I have a Briggs & Riley suitcase I bought before Ken and I met, 20 years ago. It’s a very good suitcase. At the time, it was the most expensive thing I owned, next to my 1990 Honda Civic. I traveled for work, and it took a beating. We’ve taken it on every trip for our entire marriage, and it went from carrying stylish suits and heels to jeans and sweaters to diapers and Desitin to clothes for multiple kids.
It has a lifetime warranty. I mean the good kind, not the Pampered Chef kind that requires the original receipt from that pricey stir-fry pan you bought 12 years ago, and the complete name of the one-time consultant who sold it to you. (Without said documentation, the pan might very well have been obtained through nefarious channels.)
No, this is a real lifetime warranty, one that yields results. The manufacturer has replaced parts on the suitcase several times—for free—the elastic in the inner pockets, the zipper, and, most recently, the wheels, after Ken took it to New York City and dragged it for miles across cracked sidewalks from Greenwich Village to the Upper West Side, where it’s mostly nannies pushing strollers, and not so many travelers dragging roller bags.
Tonight I learned how I feel about my suitcase (notice I said “my”?), when I saw it packed for yet another trip to NYC. The Boundary Flag went up in my head. Uh, no, I don’t think so. Not after last time. NO WAY is it going.
Let’s just say I spoke very definitely.
Our ensuing “discussion” got me thinking about lifetime warranties and how much I like them and how nice it would be if marriage came with them. What if we could replace the worn out parts of our relationship? Painless fine tuning. The budget talks, for instance. Remove them and insert a new dialogue, one that doesn’t involve receipts.
Ken: Looks like you’re right on target for the month, dear. Keep up the good work!
Jen: Thanks, honey. You’re the best. You’re a great money manager.And Ken might like to replace the lunatic part of me that’s possessive about a suitcase. Enter, the wife who knows it’s just stuff and she can’t take it with her. (Yes, but it’s irreplaceable because there is absolutely NO way we will ever be able to buy another suitcase that costs what that one cost! Not with college looming eight years down the road.) Well, obviously, that replacement part is still on order…
How about a manners insert to change out the super-casual habits that evolve during 20 years of togetherness? “Let me get that door for you.” “Please, you first. I insist.” “Would you like the last chocolate truffle (the one I squirreled away for myself when the kids weren’t looking)?” With the marriage lifetime warranty, all moving parts would be good as new, a fresh start.
Clearly, God chose a different system altogether when He instituted marriage all those millennia ago. No easy parts exchanges here. Just old fashioned humility and confession and forgiveness. Ken’s rough edges sanding down my sharp ones, for better or for worse. The lifetime warranty is in the covenant we made with each other, before God. He makes all things new, with time…and with a heavy dose of sanctification.
So, here’s to lifetime warranties and those who honor them.
P.S. Pampered Chef, I hope you’re reading this.