In February of 1966, singer/songwriter Roger Miller released a song called Husbands and Wives. The song was a hit for the artist and has been covered by several other big name artist including the Everly Brothers, Neil Diamond, Brooks and Dunn and Ringo Star…a Beatle sang this song – how cool is that!
It is a sad song about a couple breaking up because their own pride has driven them apart.
The lyrics of the song go as follows:
Two broken hearts lonely, looking like
Houses where nobody lives
Two people each having so much pride inside
Neither side forgives
The angry words spoken in haste
Such a waste of two lives
It's my belief
Pride is the chief cause and the decline
In the number of husbands and wives
A woman and a man, a man and a woman
Some can and some can't
And some can
Here is a link to an old video of Roger Miller singing this song live in 1966: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-isSOTSBhg
When I read the lyrics, it reminds me of something you would read in the Bible as a proverb or a psalm or perhaps in Ecclesiastes.
The concept that the person with so much pride that they are wiling to give up on their marriage and become lonely, broken hearted and empty inside like a house where nobody lives is unbelievably sad.
The lack of forgiveness of each others inequities because of pride breaks the heart of God and is tragic!
Anger that produces hasty and damaging words that leaves a couple hurting because of their refusal to submit to each other produces two wasted lives.
The end product is divorce and ultimately the reduction of Husbands and Wives in the world.
The twist to this song is that Miller threw in the lyrics: A Woman and a Man, a man and a Woman – Some can and some can’t and some can. I would like to think he wrote that last lyric on a mostly positive note (some can) so that it would influence his audience to want to become the couple who could actually forgive each other and throw out the pride that produces so many empty houses.
As a result of this song, I have used it as an illustration in virtually every marriage class or discussion I’ve ever had. To me the song paints a picture of tragedy that will occur when we let pride overtake us and allow it to put a wedge in our marriage. Pride has no place in our marriages. Humility on the other hand should be smack dab in the middle of it. The same humility that Christ shared with us when he bowed down in front of 12 men and washed their feet. Jesus llustrated one of the most powerful acts of humility ever expressed in history when he became the lowliest of servants in that upper room.
The pride that divides and produces lonely, broken hearts and empty lives would be washed away if we treated our spouses like Jesus did and still does for each of us ever single day!
Can you imagine if more couples lived their lives together with the humility of Christ towards each other?
Wow – now that’s worth a song worth singing and it sure would be beautiful!
and some can!