We own each other’s teeth

My wife has an impressive track record when it comes to misheard song lyrics. A personal favourite is Elton John’s Tiny Dancer which she sings as,

“Hold me close and tie me down, Sir!”

I dread to think what she reckons that song is about!

Last year, an advert for Chanel No5 came on the TV, in which Marion Cotillard and Jérémie Bélingard danced together on the moon to the soundtrack of Lorde’s song Team. As the advert ended, Helen turned to me with a baffled look on her face, and asked:

‘Why are they singing “We own each other’s teeth”?’

I loved that song, but I can’t listen to it without laughing any more. And I’m sorry if I’ve just ruined it for you.

In recent months we’ve had plenty of opportunities to quote that misheard lyric. With the tension of lockdown, homeworking, and now home-schooling as well, there have been many times where our emotions are a little frayed and it’s easy to be short tempered. In those moments, it’s been helpful to remind one another that we’re on the same team, we’re united, we’re in this together. And reaffirming our unity, whilst talking about joint-dental-ownership sounds so absurd that it has the added bonus of forcing a smile, breaking the ice, and diffusing the situation. I highly recommend it!

But it dawned on me this week that this bizarre misheard lyric is actually a strangely appropriate statement about the Christian view of marriage. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes:

‘The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.’

1 Corinthians 7:4

Written in a world in which wives were often considered the property of their husbands, and had drastically fewer rights, this is a powerful statement about mutuality in the marriage relationship. Neither party may claim authority over their own body in a way that makes demands of the other, but each should consider that their body is under the authority of their spouse. They are on the same team. This only works if both parties have the same mindset, otherwise it quickly becomes unbalanced and unhealthy.

So next time you and your spouse feel frustrated with each other and need to reaffirm your unity, I encourage you to look deep into one another’s eyes, and speak the words of the Lord (or the Lorde):

“Our bodies are not our own. We own each other’s teeth.”

Photo by Kevin Bation on Unsplash

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