Hopefully you men already know this, but Sunday is Valentine’s Day. While I can understand the sentiment from some that it is nothing more than a Hallmark holiday that perhaps was created to make men feel guilty for forgetting another all important date. I do want to impress upon those of you who are married that showing your spouse that he/she is special is something that needs to be done not just one day of the year (or three days if you count birthdays and anniversaries). It doesn’t matter if you have been married for three days, three months, three years or thirty years, when we fail to treasure our spouses in our lives, we create opportunities for resentment and bitterness. I suppose there are a variety of ways which I could address this idea of treasuring one’s spouse. But, since Sunday is Valentine’s Day, let me say it like this. Fulfill your spouse’s dreams.
The other day I was cleaning on my closet (something I haven’t done in about 6 years). I went through an old box and came across some “Happy Mail” my wife had sent me. At Florida College, our alma matter, happy mail was little cards, notes, etc that we might send to someone that we liked, wanted to give a smile too, etc. I know that somewhere in the basement, she has the happy mail I made her. We did these things when we first started dating. I have no issues stating that I was captivated by her. I was completely twitterpated. In time, those little notes disappeared. We got married. We had that “newlywed” love that was so exciting. Everything was the first time. Our first meal together. Our first attendance at church together. Our first child together. It was all so exciting. Our waking moment was all about the other person. We wrote letters, when we were apart that spoke of how we longed to be together. We talked constantly on the phone. It seemed like our life’s ambition was to assure that we could bring total happiness to our significant other. We wanted to do this because that is how they made us feel. Then life happened. Those exciting moments disappeared. I wouldn’t say I love her less, but the twitterpated feeling dissipated. We call that normal. But, I have to ask, do we call that normal? Is it because we want to justify why we don’t do those little things anymore? I contend that a lasting marriage is found when we continue to do those types of things.
Earlier, I mentioned striving to fulfill the dreams of your spouse. I do not at all mean making it your life’s ambition to get that 1967 corvette for your husband or that 10 karat diamond for your wife. I am talking about giving your spouse every reason to believe that they are living the dream; to give your spouse every reason to believe that life couldn’t be much better. (After all for most of us that is how we felt when we heard those wonderful words… “I do.”)
But, how do I do that? How do I assure that might spouse is happy, fulfilled, and has everything he/she could ever need? The first step is to get to know your spouse again. When you first got together that is all you ever talked about. You got to know him. You learned about his likes, his dislikes. You learned about her family. As you get to know each other more, fears, dreams, goals, etc began to dominate the conversation. Then, one day, we think we know it all. Those conversations have been had. Did it ever occur to you that your spouse’s dreams would change? It is possible that as they age different things scare them? Isn’t it possible that goals have been reevaluated? I encourage you to date your husband/wife. I encourage you to turn off the noise. Turn the phone off, turn the TV off, and treat your spouse to a nice evening together getting to know each other all over again.
The next thing you need to do is stop telling yourself that she doesn’t deserve it. Stop telling yourself you would do more, but your husband is so inconsiderate. What they have done is irrelevant. Think of it like this, at what point did you deserve to have Jesus die for you? At what point did you earn your salvation? We know we did nothing to deserve those things. God’s love and Jesus’ love are models for our own love towards our spouses. No one deserves to have their dreams fulfilled. But, love motivates us to seek to do that.
I encourage you to remember that it doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. I mentioned “happy mail” that my wife and I used to send each other. Those things cost us paper and ink and some time to write out. But, I also know how much they meant. We have been married 13 years and I still have several of these letters. That ought to say something about how important they were to each other.
Finally, I encourage you to overwhelm him/her. Shoot for the stars. Too often I see spouses putting minimum effort into pleasing the other. I am not saying that he didn’t need a new pair of socks, but if all you could think to buy him for his birthday was a pair of socks you are being quite underwhelming! The reality is these things do matter to all of us. We feel discouraged when our spouses forget birthdays anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. We also feel discouraged when the best they could do is grab a movie out of the $5 bin at Wal-mart and a $3 card that we forgot to sign. Of course, overwhelming our spouses doesn’t have to wait until a special occasion. A surprise is always overwhelming. Buy her flowers because its Tuesday. Fix him his favorite meal just because. Go out of your way to show him or her how much you really do love him/her.