Life With Ferris: "Best" Your Spouse - Life Lessons With Ray Murphy

Monday, April 26, 2021 - by Ferris Robinson

I will be married 35 years this summer, and have to credit the late Ray Murphy for some of that. 
I knew Mr. Murphy in the early years of my marriage, when he led a Bible study for a big group of women. We were all in the thick of crying babies and dirty diapers and endless Groundhog Day days. When our husbands finally came home from working long and hard days, we shoved a baby or two their way, and acted irritated that they'd been gone so long. Or, at least I know I did.

I should speak for myself as far as my selfish behavior went. But I know I can speak for the whole group of us when I say how much Mr. Murphy impacted us. Ray Murphy affected each of our marriages in some way, be it a new way of looking at it, or a new habit of relating to our spouses.

Our little group went on a couples retreat with Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, and together the two of them talked to us. They didn't lecture or preach. They talked candidly, telling us about their ups and downs, and what they'd learned along the way.

We were riveted. They were funny. And real. And open.

One thing I remember is Mr. Murphy painting a realistic scenario of early married life with babies.

“Suppose you're in the trenches all day with screaming babies who refuse to go down for a nap. Throw in foiled attempts of toilet training after a night of interrupted sleep, a few crises between the dog or the plumbing and a stressful trip to the grocery store with uncooperative kids in tow. You somehow manage to make dinner with a baby on one hip and another clinging to your knees, and your husband wolfs it down without complimenting it. Or worse, points out that broccoli isn't his favorite. And, worse than that, leaves his plate on the table as he heads off to read the paper. What do you think the wife would do?”

"Rebel!" I answered loudly, making a little joke.

I remember this next part clearly. Mr. Murphy looked around at all of us and didn't miss a beat. 

"You hope she will rebel," he said, staring pointedly at the husbands. "You hope she gives you a chance to talk it through and get it off her chest and compromise. If she doesn't, you're in big trouble."

And, that was a lesson for me in the importance of communication in marriage.

He talked about the importance of besting your spouse. He used best as a verb, and gave each one of us a framed print with a list of how to best each other. I had mine out on the living room chest for a good while, and studied it. But, now, probably 25 or so years later, I can barely remember it.

My husband says BEST was an acronym, but couldn't remember what the letters stood for. He is sure one meant hugging, and I remember that one, as well.

I reached out to some of the other women on that trip, and sure enough they still had the little framed print. I relate it from the wife's point of view, but it works for the husband, too.

B is for BLESSING him in what you say to him or about him, and what you do for him and how you react to him. 

E is for EDIFYING him by encouragement, emphasizing his strengths and enjoying his triumphs.

S is for SHARING with him your thoughts, dreams, worries, fears and time.

T is for TOUCHING. That's where the hugging comes in, as well as other forms we won't delve into in this column.

The point is, my husband and I both remember this guide that Mr. Murphy left for us at the very beginning of our marriage. Looking back on it, I realize the importance of every single thing he said, from sharing time, as well as sharing dreams. And the importance of blessing my husband in what I say to him.

I will try my best to best my husband, and pass this advice on to my own sons one day.

So, thank you, Mr. Murphy. You were the best!

* * * 

Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series “If Bugs Are Banished.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.



Video Series Highlights 30 Donor-Funded Programs Serving Area Children This Past Summer

Civic Organizations Host East Tennessee Redistricting Hearing Oct. 19

Conasauga Accountability Court Leaders Earn Certification


The Bethlehem Center, a 101 year old community center in Alton Park, is releasing a video series celebrating its Community Connections Summer Grants Program. The program allowed for the funding ... (click for more)

There will be a public hearing to learn more about the redistricting process in Tennessee, as well as an opportunity for Tennesseans to share their input, on Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at Greater ... (click for more)

Angela Anderson of Conasauga Mental Health Court and Terry Sosebee of Conasauga Drug Court are among the first graduates of the Accountability Court Coordinator Certification Program. The ... (click for more)



Happenings

Video Series Highlights 30 Donor-Funded Programs Serving Area Children This Past Summer

The Bethlehem Center, a 101 year old community center in Alton Park, is releasing a video series celebrating its Community Connections Summer Grants Program. The program allowed for the funding of 30 summer programs for children that focused on the arts, character development and productive out of school time during the summer of 2021. “Being able to support 30 local organizations ... (click for more)

Civic Organizations Host East Tennessee Redistricting Hearing Oct. 19

There will be a public hearing to learn more about the redistricting process in Tennessee, as well as an opportunity for Tennesseans to share their input, on Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at Greater Second Missionary Baptist Church, 810 Shallowford Road in Chattanooga. Social distancing and masks will be required. This redistricting hearing will also be live streamed for those who ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Has 4 More Virus Deaths And 63 New Cases; Number Of ICU Patients Continues To Drop; Tennessee Has 7 More Deaths

The Hamilton County Health Department reported four more coronavirus deaths on Monday and 63 new positive cases, down from 109 on Friday. The total number of cases in the county now stands at 63,358. The death total is at 642. It is reported the deaths were all men; three white and one race not determined; two age 51-60 and two age 61-70. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations ... (click for more)

Daisy Madison To Retire As City's Chief Financial Officer After Nearly 20 Years

Daisy Madison, the city’s longtime chief financial officer, will conclude her distinguished career at City Hall this year as she begins her transition into retirement, she told senior staff Monday. Ms. Madison was hired as deputy chief finance officer in 1992 by former mayor Gene Roberts. She served with distinction under a succession of mayors, including Jon Kinsey, Bob Corker, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Tennessee Fans Hit A New Low - And Response (2)

Tennessee Vols fans hit a new low at the end of the UTK vs Ole Miss last evening. Maybe Lane Kiffin did us wrong when he left Knoxville for his dream team back in 2009, however, the crass and repulsive behavior of a large number of Tennessee fans didn’t reflect on Kiffin, it reflected on the great state of Tennessee. Has society really reduced itself to believing that reducing ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Beware Of The Cobra

Over the weekend my “Morning Readings” included a lesson that economists teach called the Cobra Effect. Jon Miltimore is the Managing Editor of the Foundation for Economic Education in Atlanta and his ‘FEE.org’ is a highly respected conservative libertarian economic think tank. In his story you are about to read, he claims economists around the world speak often on The Cobra Effect. ... (click for more)