Four lessons from the cut of a diamond came to me recently while preparing to perform the 60-year diamond anniversary for Herb and Betty Doggette. Diamond anniversaries are rare for three reasons: so few marriages make it to 60 years, so few people live past the United States average age of 78.6 years, and so many marriages end in divorce. However, here are four insights that can help couples make 60 years of marriage if they live long enough.
Those who buy and sell in the diamond trade tell me there are “4 C’s” that determine the worth of a diamond.
Those 4 C’s are …
- Its CUT — how it is shaped, rubbed, and polished.
- Its COLOR — i.e. how much color the diamond lacks.
- Its CLARITY — i.e. how many imperfections are in the diamond.
- Its CARAT weight — or how much the diamond weighs.
Surprisingly, it is actually the diamond’s cut that is the most important quality to determine its value. The color, clarity, and carat weight can all be flawless and impressive. However, if the cut is poor, the diamond will be dull, unattractive, and of relatively low value.
Also of note, the diamond’s cut is the only one of the 4 C’s determined by the human hand. The remaining 3 C’s are all predetermined by God in nature, and cannot be altered in any way by human touch.
The Cut of the Diamond
A 60-year marriage anniversary can certainly be analogous to all 4 C’s of a real diamond’s quality, but I’m going to only focus on the cut of the diamond, its most important quality.
The cutting of the diamond is the process by which a rough, unpolished, unremarkable, and ordinary looking stone is converted into a polished, brilliant, and expensive precious jewel.
Why is the cut so disproportionately important to a diamond’s value compared to the other 3 C’s? Answer: It’s the light! The cut determines what happens to the light that strikes and enters the diamond, and hence, it’s appearance.
If the cut is ideal and just right, any light, artificial or natural, from any angle that hits the diamond, will hit the diamond and literally make a full U-turn and bounce back into your eyes like hundreds of little mirrors all dancing together to give you the diamond’s effulgence, brilliance, and fire.
However, if the cut is too shallow, light hitting the diamond will leak out at the bottom, leaving it with a dull, unattractive appearance and low worth.
On the other hand, if the cut is too deep, light hitting the diamond will leak out of the sides, again leaving the diamond with a dull, unattractive appearance and, as a result, again, low worth.
How is a Diamond Like a Marriage?
What does this all have to do with marriage? Good question!
I liken the cutting of the diamond from a rough stone to a polished gem to the resulting changes that a marriage relationship inevitably have on a husband and a wife to each other.
Besides the parental relationship, no other human relationship has as much of an effect on a person than a marriage. Like the diamond cutter changing the diamond, marriage inevitably changes people — for better or for worse! Some people are changed by their marriage more than others, but although most people remain largely the same, everyone is changed in some way, positively or negatively. This is why you want to be very, very careful whom you marry! Both of you are going to change — legally, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically — simply by being married to each other!
Cutting the Marriage Relationship Too Shallow
The cutting of a diamond in too shallow a manner, I compare to a marriage that suffers from inattention and other deficits such as neglect, indifference, taking each other for granted, and by one spouse selfishly prioritizing their own needs over and ahead of their spouse’s and their family’s needs. As a shallow cutting diamond cutter fails to apply enough attention and effort to the cutting of the diamond, so in a shallow marriage relationship one or both spouses fail at unselfishly giving each other and their marriage relationship sufficient and sincere time, effort, and attention.
One of the most amazing revelations I read that came out of the tragic death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, is the reason Kobe decided to regularly commute around Southern California in a helicopter when he retired. It’s because Kobe decided his time at home with his children and family was more important than sitting in traffic on Los Angeles freeways. They say he’d regularly commute around town on business in his chopper, and then fly home just so he could get in the parent carpool line to pick up his children after school.
The Analogy to Infidelity
To extend the analogy, a shallow relationship can also be illustrated by the sad but all too common practice of marriage infidelity. Instead of staying home and being loyal to their marriage vows, lovingly and carefully cutting and polishing their own diamond wife, or husband, a dull, low-value, unfaithful Lothario is out across town surreptitiously attempting to cut and polish on someone else’s dull, low-value, and unfaithful “stone.”
Cutting the Marriage Relationship Too Deep
The cutting of a diamond in too deep a manner I compare to a marriage relationship that has been deeply wounded, scarred, split, and often destroyed from physical and/or emotional abuse, smothering over-attention, over-dependence, jealousy, lack of privacy, lack of trust, extreme fussiness, or a disrespect for the spouse’s individuality. The stalker spouse, if you will, or the so called “hen-pecked” husband or a “doormat” wife could be additional examples of a marital diamond being cut and scarred too deep.
How Do You Cut a Marriage Diamond?
Because diamonds are the hardest known substance on Earth, only diamonds can cut, alter the shape of, or polish other diamonds. A diamond can’t be cut and sawed or shaped by a piece of paper, or wood, or aluminum, tin, iron, or steel. Why? They are not compatible! If you try to cut or shape a diamond with a piece of paper, or even a piece of steel, both will be destroyed.
Just so with a happy, enduring marriage that can, like Herb and Betty Doggette’s, last for 60 years and beyond, as long as life lasts. A couple contemplating marriage that will last a lifetime must determine and decide before they marry that they are both diamonds in the rough, i.e., compatible.
I believe this is what Ellen G. White meant when she counseled, “If those who are contemplating marriage would not have miserable, unhappy reflections after marriage, they must make it a subject of serious, earnest reflection now,” Adventist Home, 43:1. Also, “It is only in Christ that a marriage alliance can be safely formed. Human love should draw its closest bonds from divine love. Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish affection,” Adventist Home, 69:2.
The cut determines what happens to the light that strikes and enters the diamond, and hence, it’s appearance.
is a retired pastor who resides in Sebring, Florida.
Southern Union | June 2020