I was listening to the radio recently while traveling and heard an old favorite of mine, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore.” This particular arrangement was a duet by Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand, though both recorded it as singles in 1977 and 1978 respectively.
Back in those days I would often use the lyrics of the song in leading marriage conferences because there are some important lessons in the words. In the song a couple have drifted apart and are just going through the motions of their relationship. There is no evidence of any catastrophic event that has come between them, just the absence of those small things that once defined their relationship.
One of the lovers remembers when it was different, when they laughed, when they cried. And, there is the haunting refrain, “You don’t bring me flowers anymore.”
The song has always been a strong reminder of two simple facts of a relationship. First, relationships are dynamic – always in a state of change. Which means that whether with friends, a spouse or even with God, we are always moving closer or drifting apart. Often the trend is hardly noticeable. And if efforts are not made to keep it moving positively, we will silently drift away, like the lovers in the song.
I fully realize that there are huge events that can powerfully strengthen a relationship, just as there are huge events that can devastate it. But more times than not, it is the presence of small things that build and strengthen and the absence of small things that give cause and evidence of people drifting from each other.
As a minister I do quite a few weddings. Almost always I remind a couple in the midst of the ceremony to think back to all the little things they have done for each other that brought them to this point. And now that they would soon be husband and wife, please don’t let the little things disappear.
The Rev. Al Cadenhead leads Providence Baptist Church: firstname.lastname@example.org.