In the midst of an overscheduled fall (no one’s fault but my own, and yes, that’s sin, but that’s another story) my husband and I discovered a painful truth.
We’d taken our marriage for granted. When things are good, sometimes we just stop paying attention them.
Maybe in your situation, you are still daily showing appreciation to the son that’s “the good one,” or the employee that always performs.
Maybe in your life, you and your spouse are doing well, and you are still putting effort into your relationship on a daily basis.
We’d hit a bump in the road, through no one’s fault but our own. And it was up to us to fix it.
We’d both become too busy with work and ministry commitments due to a couple of projects coming to a head and I told him, “I guess I figured the kids needed more of my attention because they’re not adults. I figured you could handle it.”
He told me that while I was busy taking care of them and the other commitments, and while he fully understood that it was a short period of time, and yes, he could indeed handle it, he still missed me. He also said, “You need to blog about this – women need to know that while they do need to get the respect piece right, their husbands want to be loved by them, too. There’s nothing hugely wrong here, and we’ll get it turned around again, but it’s something other wives need to know.”
“Other wives need to know??”I had no idea.
I thought I was being loving to him by showing respect!
So I decided to be more loving. And he did too. He started saying nice things to me again, pointing out the stuff I do that he appreciates, even if it’s small. Honestly, I’m not really sure what I did that was different, maybe I started touching him more again, and being more compassionate to his circumstances. Maybe it was just a little shift in my heart towards him…
Maybe it just made a difference that he missed me and let me know that.
He’s more than burning the candle at both ends right now, as instead of actually traveling to China, he’s conference calling – at 3am, or 9pm, all while working more than a full day during the day, and being fully engaged with us in the evenings. He’s got to be exhausted.
Saturday, I spoke at a women’s conference and the topic was, “Love One Another.” The Scriptures for loving others are clear:
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
What’s interesting, is in preparation for the conference, God had me focus on conflict resolution. You know, that thing we frequently avoid? J I spent a good chunk of time talking about reflective listening, when to choose to enter into conflict, and then running a few exercises to help us do things a little better. I left wishing I could have had more time to actually practice the skill sets.
Oh, I pray we all continue to grow in our ability to be grown-ups and love others well.
No matter how long I live, I know I’ll always have room for improvement in this area. I’m thankful this morning that in heaven we are good! In reading Proverbs 26 this morning, I’m eager to share it aspects of it with my kids today – and put effort into my own behavior in the “love department.” I was struck by how I need to ask God for a heart that loves (and not just respects! J) my husband, in an effort to be sincere, and not just full of “charming words.”
And once again, I’m struck by the great Love of the One who made us – and how His son paid the penalty for my sin. Without belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, without confession of this Truth, and without making Him Lord (in other words, choosing daily to follow His will, not mine, for my life) this great gift just sits waiting for us.
Will you join me today? Dare you to read the Proverb and see what He has for you – it might be something completely different! Dare you also, if you’ve never done it, to tell God what you believe about Christ, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and accept that He does indeed forgive you. Dare you as well to join me in asking Him to help us let His son shine through our lives as we learn to love others well. J
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Glad to be on the journey with you!
Father, I pray each person reading this today allows Your Great Love through Jesus Christ to transform them…into His likeness, such that the world will see Your glory through our lives. Amen.