After being married for nearly 39 years, I've finally discovered how to get my husband to listen to whatever incredibly important thing I'm trying to tell him. If I want Joe's full attention, all I have to do is lead with, "I used your toothbrush."

I experienced the power of these magic words when I was telling Joe how I got nail polish out of a seat cushion using bug spray and a toothbrush. (Yes, it really works.)

I sensed Joe wasn't really listening, so I casually added, "And I used your toothbrush."

"Wait a minute—what did you say?" he asked.

"Oh, so NOW you want to know," I replied. "Now that YOUR toothbrush is involved."

Of course I hadn't really used Joe's toothbrush to scrub "Off" into the seat cushion. I would never do that ? probably.

This episode confirmed my suspicion that just because my husband's body is nearby, it doesn't mean his brain is. Sometimes Joe doesn't start listening until he realizes that what I'm saying is, in fact, interesting and/or important (which it certainly always is).

It's kind of annoying to have to go back and repeat all the things he missed before he paid attention. To promote marital bliss and avoid ending up as the featured murderess on an episode of "Dateline," I'm learning I need to practice one of the rules of good journalism: push the lead to the top of the story.

The first sentence needs to snag Joe's interest and make him realize he has a vested interest in what I'm saying. And nothing says vested interest like "I used your toothbrush."

"I don't think I'll have to serve much jail time" or "this could cost us several thousand dollars" might possibly work, too, but I'm putting my money on the toothbrush line. Everyone wants to know where their toothbrush has been.

It seems like God may have employed a similar strategy in the Bible to get our attention. He started His book with the best attention-grabbing sentence of all time: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

That one line answers so many questions and should lay the foundation for our relationship with God. He's the Creator; we're His creations, and the rest of the Bible is the amazing story of Him reaching out and inviting us into a personal, loving, eternal relationship.

The first few words of what has come to be known as "The Lord's Prayer" also make me want to keep reading. "Our Father in heaven," Jesus began.

Whoa, wait a minute—our Father? The infinite, eternal, all-powerful Creator is also my Father?

I don't know about you, but I want to spend the rest of my life exploring and experiencing what that means.

And how about the "Sermon on the Mount," that treasure trove of godly wisdom? It opens with Jesus saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

God has a kingdom? Is it here or somewhere else, now or later? How can I be part of it? What does it mean to be "poor in spirit"?

Sounds like something I need to understand.

As a teenager, I occasionally tried to read the Bible, but I didn't think I had a vested interest in what it said, so it seemed boring and irrelevant to me. Sadly, at that point in my life, it wasn't like I actually intended to DO what it said.

But when I stopped viewing the Bible as an outdated book of rules and embraced it as an "owner's manual" and survival guide, I devoured its pages.

When the Creator became my Father, through faith in Jesus Christ, He got my attention, and He's had it ever since.

Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, "A Giggle Goes a Long Way" and "Live.Learn.Laugh!" She can be reached at maryanncrum@gmail.com.