Watching the movie, Puss in Boots, reminded me of Aesop’s Fable, The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. Humpty Dumpty is searching for the Goose that laid the golden eggs. He goes to great lengths to deceive Puss into helping him steal the Goose. I smiled throughout the movie because it reminded me of the use of this fable in my counseling room with families and couples. What does the Goose have to do with relationships or marriage? Stay with me… The applications are very valuable. First, let’s review the story (my version)…
One day, a poor farmer discovered, in the nest of his pet goose, a glittering egg. At first, he thought it was a trick, but as he picked up the heavy egg, he realized he should get a second opinion – just in case…
To his surprise, it was pure gold! “I’m going to be able to pay off some debt with this,” the farmer thought to himself. The next morning, he was excited to check the goose. Again, he found yet another golden egg. The farmer gave the goose even more attention and the goose kept giving golden eggs. This went on for several days. He became very wealthy.
One morning, something changed… The farmer was no longer excited and willing to tend to the goose. He became impatient and thought, “I don’t want to wait another day to get one golden egg.” So, the farmer went to the goose, opened it up… reached in… But to his surprise, well… there were no golden eggs – not even one! The farmer had destroyed the one thing that produced his wealth.
There are several valuable lessons we can apply to our lives. Let’s define what the farmer, the goose and the golden eggs represent in the context of relationships and marriage:
- The Farmer – represents each of us in our relationships (husband, wife, father, mother, daughter, son, etc.).
- The Goose – represents the actual marriage, family or relationship.
- The Golden Eggs – represents all the blessings (the valuable things, people and experiences) brought about by the Goose (joy, home, fun, friendship, possession, security, companionship, intimacy, etc.)
Now, let’s take a look at three lessons…
LESSON 1: You Have an Important Part – Be Responsible
First, it is important to realize that without the farmer (you and I), the Goose cannot survive. But with the farmer’s devotion, the Goose (relationship/marriage) not only survives, but also thrives. As farmers, we are responsible for our actions toward the Goose and how we handle the Golden Eggs (blessings).
Some couples and families come to me for assistance because they find themselves in a desperate place. Usually, they have tried “everything” under the sun without success. One of the goals early on is to clarify to the couple/family that they hold a part of the problem. We then discuss what’s feeding the “problem” and conclude that we all play into the drama. This means we need to own up our share and stop pointing the finger. We need to be responsible for ourselves and invest in our relationships.
Sometimes, pride gets in the way of allowing healing to occur. Each person believes they are doing the greatest amount of work. They become resentful and begin isolating, which results in a hardened heart. This is when we hear couples say, “I love him/her like the father/mother of my children, but I don’t love him/her as a husband/wife or a man/woman.” – this is for another blog post.
For more on this topic, go to:
- Bitter Roots – Looks at the six signs (seeds) that are so harmful to marriages/relationships.
- Sweeter Roots Part 1 & Sweeter Roots Part 2 – Looks at the six sweet seeds that work as a safeguard to protect your heart from residual bitter roots.
There are four behaviors that express our irresponsibility. These become stumbling blocks for genuine intimacy with the Goose. We can be irresponsible by:
1. Neglecting the Goose – Completely disregarding the needs of the Goose.
Examples: Not spending time, discounting concerns and pleasing the self.
2. Abusing the Goose – Being disrespectful, using sarcasm as a way to undermine and using controlling tactics.
Examples: Using sarcasm, defensiveness, using physical violence and abusive language.
3. Idolizing the Goose – Giving excessive consideration to the point of becoming consumed by the Goose and loosing our relationship with God and self.
Examples: Placing too much importance on the marriage to the point of not engaging on daily prayer or reading of the Word.
4. Killing the Goose – Ending the relationship – in bad terms…
Examples: Divorcing due to “loss of love” (not all divorces are bad – just want to clarify), abandoning or avoiding the relationship without resolving conflict and actually murdering the individual (it happens).
LESSON 2: Care for the Goose – It Honors God
Part of caring for the Goose is feeding and having a place for it to sleep, but it’s not enough. The Goose needs a relationship – connection… It’s interesting that when we have something new, we give it all our attention, we show it off, we dream about it at night, we have so much expectancy….
Over time that same excitement is lost. We become bored and begin to focus on all the things we are responsible for – feeding, washing and picking up the poop of the Goose (gross!). As things get older, they tend to break down – that’s when we don’t want to take care of it. Tending the Goose takes time, energy and consistency, which is not always glamorous. To top it off, it’s so hard when we just can’t see the Golden Eggs. So what do we do? Here are six ways to care for the Goose:
- Participate in everyday contact – make it a point to talk to the Goose often
- Encourage often – praise the Goose for all the Eggs you are both enjoying
- Create routines and rituals – that’s when great memories happen, but make them fun!
- Be intentional – have an end goal and purpose in mind
- Be patient – allow room for errors
- Ask for help – you don’t know everything, request assistance when needed
If you loose the Goose, you loose the Eggs – You can’t have your Eggs and Eat the Goose too!
LESSON 3: Blessings are God Given – Enjoy Them!
Some of us are so focused on being responsible and caring for the Goose, that we forget to enjoy the Eggs the Goose produces. In life, there must always be balance. When we do things mechanically, we don’t allow ourselves to taste the flavor of the experience. God gave us the Goose so that we may enjoy the fruits and blessings it has for us – the Eggs, which give us great joy in life.
Sometimes, the smallest things in daily life make it worthwhile. Why? Because they come from God – and “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17 (NLT) What are some of those blessings? Let me share a few of mine with you:
- Our home – although really small (it’s cozy), we have food and warm beds…
- Friendships – so many good times with friends – laughter and tears together
- Coffee – I know… my morning cup of Joe with the Lord is something I cherish daily… I sit in front of a large window and observe my little friends (two hummingbirds, a couple of random birds that seem to like to sit on the same spot)…
- Memories – all the great experiences with my husband, friends, family and co-workers…
- Past emotional injuries – yes, I believe that all the trials I have encountered have a purpose in shaping the person I am today – These can sometimes be Golden Eggs in disguise, so I welcome them!
These may seem small and a bit insignificant, but I savor these Blessings – they fill me in an inexplicably way. Now that you have learned about Aesop’s fable, think about the state of the Goose in your life… How have you been treating the Goose lately?
I would love to hear your feedback and comments…
Rest in His Word: Psalm 21:3
“For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head”(NASB)
- What is your take on Aesop’s fable? What can you apply in your relationships/marriage?
- How have you been treating the Goose lately?
- Can you name three Golden Eggs in your life?