mort-fertel.jpgby Mort Fertel

Would you believe there’s a lot you can learn about your marriage from the American flag? There is. Listen up.

Recently, I took my kids to Fort McHenry. You know, that’s where Frances Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner when he saw the flag still raised after a 26 hour bombing by the British.

What really got my attention was the HONOR the tour guide bestowed upon the flag. Let me describe the scene. There were hundreds of people touring the fort when the guide announced that it was time to lower the flag. He asked the guests to help.

I don’t know if you’ve been to Fort McHenry, but the flag is ENORMOUS. The guide said it was 40 feet long by 30 feet wide. That’s half the size of a basketball court. So when that flag came down, it took all of us (a few hundred guests) to stand around the four sides of the flag and hold it off the ground.

Now you might ask: Why can’t the flag touch the ground? Why interrupt a few hundred people touring Fort McHenry so stitched cloth doesn’t touch a well manicured lawn? Why not just let it down, fold it up, and stuff it away?

No way! You should have heard the tour guide talk about the flag. You would have thought it was a delicate family heirloom.

Not only did the tour guide beg us to be careful that the flag not touch the ground, but he also pleaded for us to be ambassadors for the Star Spangled Banner. He explained that professional singers bastardize the Star Spangled Banner by forgetting words or inserting sounds between words to bring attention to themselves. He felt this was dishonorable to the flag and to the national anthem and that these performers lacked a certain awe or respect that the flag and the anthem were due.

The tour guide went on for 20 minutes explaining EXACTLY how to care for a flag. He also recited every verse of the Star Spangled Banner and talked about the PROPER way to sing it.

The whole time I had 3 questions:

1. Was I going to hell for eating popcorn during the national anthem at the Yankees game?

2. What would this tour guide do to me if I accidentally dropped the flag?

3. Did the tour guide treat his wife as well as he treated the flag and the anthem?

Do you remember when you and your spouse were so CAREFUL with each other? You treated each other like a guide at Fort McHenry treats the American flag and the national anthem. You measured your words and watched your behavior.

And then you got careless. Then you started to take each other for granted. What happened?

One of the keys to restoring a marriage is to re-instill FEAR in each other. I don’t mean fear like you fear a robber. I mean fear like you would fear carrying a million dollar antique vase. You wouldn’t want to drop it. You’d be so careful. You’d do everything you could to protect its condition.

We need to continue that kind of care for our spouses.

From Sarah – I’ve talked with Mort by phone, his personal story is both heartbreaking and triumphant, and the way he healed his own marriage helps everyone who’s coached by him – I’ve referred women to him who were able to turn their situations around – even after their husband’s had LEFT the home…you can get Mort’s free newsletters here->

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