I came downstairs Valentine’s morning to a beautiful card and two large Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. I ripped open the card and read the sweet things my hubby wrote on the inside: things such as, “I don’t want to be a Dead Sea; I want to be like the Sea of Galilee and keep giving to you.” I also had one sample (40 calories) of the Hershey bar and put the rest in the freezer for my daily chocolate fix.
I had already oohed and aahed at the roses he carried into the house a few days earlier. I remembered what he said when I told him, “I was just going to call you and tell you not to bring me roses; we can just go out to eat and have a special time.”
This man said, “I don’t know how many more Valentine’s days I’ll be able to buy you roses, and I don’t want to miss a single chance.”
Be still, my heart!
You know what made the card, Hershey’s chocolate and the flowers so special?
This past week, when I got up on laundry day, the dirty, smelly hampers had already been carried downstairs. The water from the Rainbow vacuum cleaner had been dumped outside and the container rinsed and brought back inside. The trash bag from the kitchen I had put inside the door had disappeared as soon as he came home.
Dave spent over thirty minutes exchanging the white handle of a Black and Decker coffee pot (that I’d picked up at Goodwill for .49) for the red handle from my broken Bella pot. I didn’t have to say anything. My man knew I preferred the red handle, so he took the metal ring and the white handle off and then used the metal ring to attach the red handle so my kitchen would still be red and black, without that one white handle sticking out like a sore thumb. The pot doesn’t quite fit like the one I had, but it works. I would have been okay with using the white handled pot if the handle couldn’t be replaced, but he knew I liked my red appliances and decided to give it a try. It took him half an hour, but he did it – just because he knew I’d like it that way.
He comes in some mid-afternoons and sees me taking a nap in my recliner – just because I can – and his only comment is “It must be nice to stay in a warm house and take a nap when everybody else is out working.”
I reply, “Yep. It surely is.”
On Sunday, Dave got up in church and shared that marriage is good even though some days it is hard, and that men ought to love their wives because God said so. Men need to love their wives like Christ loved the church, sacrificially (because God said so.) Jesus gave everything He had for the church. He died for His Bride. Husbands should be willing to do the same.
I am here to tell you that if men really, truly loved their wives like Christ loves His Bride, their wives wouldn’t be looking to go anywhere else. They would feel safe – and secure – and cared for. They would know that, no matter how they age or what health problems they might face, their husband isn’t going anywhere, and they won’t be alone.
While Jesus was perfect, my husband isn’t. Neither is his bride.
Not perfect, but forgiven.
Not blameless, but growing.
Not worthy, but redeemed.
Roses and chocolate and dinner out wouldn’t mean a thing if he didn’t live out his love for me in the daily of life. Some days he does better than others (living it out). Guess what. The same goes for me.
How grateful I am for the example of Jesus, Whose love and commitment caused Him to give everything to save the marriage of the Bridegroom to the Bride. No, marriages aren’t perfect even though His example is.
You know what’s so wonderful about a good marriage?
The wonder is that it can be good because we are so human and imperfect. The wonder that it’s good because of the time and effort it takes to keep it afloat. When you make it a high priority, marriage pays huge dividends. While marriage is fun and romance on some days, there are other days when it’s sheer work and effort.
Marriage requires real effort to communicate, to give the other the benefit of the doubt, and to not cast blame, nor hold a grudge. It takes work to give when you’d rather receive, to give in when you’d rather get your way, and to sacrifice for the sheer reason that it’s the right thing to do even though it doesn’t come easily or naturally.
When this man stands up in church and proclaims how good marriage can be and how men ought to love their wives like Christ loved the church, the best part is that he is practicing what he preaches every day of our lives.
If your marriage is struggling, find someone who is working theirs out in the trenches of life. Ask if you can walk alongside them and learn how to do marriage. Instead of thinking other couples don’t have struggles, reckon with the fact that all of us are full of sin and selfishness. All of us have things to learn.
All of us, who have felt so blessed, ought to be happy to share and to pray for others who are struggling.
Instead of staying away from folks who are happily married, find someone you can trust. Say to them, “I’d like to have what you have. Can you help me? Will you walk in the trenches with me? Will you pray for me?”
Next, do the hard thing. Get down in the trenches, sweat it out, and pray it through.You will be amazed at the results!