by Carol A. TaylorThe members of a rare religious sect
decreed the marriage bed should have a price
that newly-weds must pay through self-denial.
The elders counseled that deferring sex
for six months was a fitting sacrifice
and proved the faith of those who passed the trial.
The elders came to call on Bob and Sue
the evening of their marriage celebration,
to pray with them and give encouragement.
They visited again each week or two
to check the couple’s flagging motivation
and bolster it with stern admonishment.
“We’re fine,” the two insisted. “Though at first
it was a little tough, we’re through the worst.”
All went just fine, but as they neared the end,
the elders saw one day things were amiss.
One glimpse of Robert’s face revealed he’d sinned.
“I cracked,” admitted Bob. “When she bent down
to get that sack of potatoes, I couldn’t resist.”
“You broke the rules. You realize you’re banned
from the Church for all eternity for this.
We warned you,” Brother Jones said with a frown.
Bob hung his head and clutched his Susie’s hand.
“I know, and every Safeway store in town!”