Nameko Families is a short-form anime series about a family of nameko mushrooms. It’s based loosely on a mushroom collecting and harvesting game for smartphones and tablet devices. Loosely being the key word. Each five minute episode is a self-contained story involving the family with – only music, no dialogue.
In episode 2, we see a marital dispute between Long Nameko, the mother, and Rock Nameko, the father. (SPOILERS TO FOLLOW) After showing the two of them with their daily routines, including spending time just the two of them together for morning tea and enjoying meals together as a family, something happens. One of the brothers breaks one of Long Nameko’s favorite tea cups; afterwards, he shoves the broken pieces into Rock’s work briefcase. When Long discovers the broken pieces, she immediately blames her husband as the evidence is right there. He tries to defend himself, but her mind is made up. The next morning, the routine is broken as Long is still angry. Rock then goes off to work. While he’s at work, Long Nameko and Nameko (their son) end up discovering that it wasn’t Rock’s fault that the cup broke. She feels terrible. She is all sorts of upset, ready to apologize when Rock comes home, later than expected. Why was he late? He bought his bride a new set of tea cups. They make up and we see them enjoying their tea cups during their normal, morning routine the next morning…with the brother fanning them as punishment for his crimes.
In this 5 minute episode with no dialogue, a lot of emotion is invoked from these anthropomorphic mushrooms. We also, see the Lord’s desire for a love that is understanding and forgiving in marriage.
The Lord calls for husbands to love our wives with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). We are called to not be harsh or hold grudges toward them (Colossians 3:19). We are called to lay down our lives for them, love them as ourselves, and put them before our own wellbeing (Ephesians 5:25-29). In this 5 minute short, Rock did just that. Rock loves his wife. When she’s upset about the broken tea cups, he’s understandably frustrated – but does not allow himself get angry. He is slow to anger (James 1:19), even when wronged. Rock then displays his love and understanding for his wife in that even though she was in the wrong, she had been unjustly angry at him – he loved her, forgave her for her actions, and continued to provide for her that which she needed. He still replaced that which was broken, when it was not his responsibility to do so. He loved her as himself, forgiving her sins against him.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment (Matthew 19:5-6, 1 Corinthians 7:39) and Rock is looking at the long game. He sees that this minor misunderstanding is not worth arguing. He understands his wife in that she gets frustrated when her belongings are broken and the broken pieces hidden. He understands she enjoys their morning routine which involves those tea cups. He displays a sense of understanding toward his wife that isn’t always displayed in our everyday lives.
A Biblical marriage is a sacrificial one. We as Christian husbands are called to lay down our lives for our wives. We are called to love them in an understanding manner. We are called to treat them as well as if not better than ourselves. We are called to lead them. We are called to protect them. As husbands we do not always have great examples of this. Popular culture creates the idea that being a good husband does involve providing, but this is primarily a physical / monetary sense. The spiritual sense and all that goes with that – isn’t always shown. The mundane, day to day love we need to be showing our wives isn’t always there. The grand gesture is the thing of pop culture. The subtle, replacing your wife’s favorite dish which just got damaged by your kids even after she blamed you and yelled at you over it is not. That’s the kind of love we miss. That’s the kind of subtle, understanding love we need to seek. That’s the kind of love Rock is showing his wife.