I've always thought of myself as reasonably patient and charitable—that is, until I got married and discovered how passionately annoyed I can become at pulling out empty ice cube trays.
When I grew up, my family had a simple rule: If you take out an ice cube, you refill the tray before you put it back in the freezer. Now I'll pull out a tray and find nothing more than half an ice cube.
It was amazing how much that small detail irritated me. I asked my wife, Lisa, "How much do you love me?"
"More than all the world," she professed.
"I don't need you to love me that much," I said. "I just want you to love me for seven seconds."
"What on earth are you talking about?"
"Well, I timed how long it takes to fill an ice cube tray and discovered it's just seven sec—"
"Oh Gary, are we back to that again?"
It finally dawned on me that if it takes Lisa just seven seconds to fill an ice cube tray, that's all it takes me as well. Was I really so selfish that I was willing to let seven seconds' worth of inconvenience become a serious issue in my marriage? Was my capacity to show charity really that limited?
Indeed it was.
That's the day I discovered the truth about marriage: Marriage holds up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes—even with something as trivial as ice cube trays.