It’s February 8th. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions went?
Hope they are going well. Meanwhile, as we cruise toward Valentine’s Day, why not resolve to enhance your one flesh union?
Disclaimer: My husband and I are not marriage experts. We both failed at it the first time. We are divorced, Reformed and remarried…remember. Here are some things we’ve learned (and are still learning) from this day forward…
How can I love thee better? Let me count the ways…
Schedule regular devotions and prayer together. We all know how important this is, but we often neglect doing this as a couple. It is crucial if we want to keep our marriage intact.
Assume the best of him (her). How often do we come to conclusions about our mate before all the facts are in? Ladies, we (well I know I do!) try to read his mind and motivations, then assume the worst. Not good. Stop it.
No dumping. When he calls from work, or comes home from work at the end of the day, don’t dump problems on him. He’s been stressed for 8 hours or more, don’t add to it. Save the problems, discussions, bills for later.
Guard one another’s souls. This would be the opposite of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. We all struggle with sin. Confess when you’re curt, wrong, or have lost your temper. Ask for forgiveness and mean it. Ask if your honey has slipped, needs prayer, or needs a broom over his head.
Guard your tongue. This is a biggie. And stop that muttering under your breath. It would be good to do repeated studies on the tongue throughout the year. It’s astounding how many bible verses there are on misuse of the tongue! Many of them come from Proverbs, one of the wisdom books. So here is wisdom:
- He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3).
- Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him (Proverbs 29:20).
- Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment (Matthew 12:36).
- Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).
- Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23).
- A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. . . . A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit (Proverbs 15:1,4).
- Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:8)
- For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: (1 Peter 3:10)
- And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (James 3:6)
- If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain. (James 1:26)
If those verses don’t convince you to be careful with that tongue, there are many more.
Kill the anger. If you have a short temper, ask the Lord to purge this sin. This is what makes horrible things come out through your tongue.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (Matthew 15:18)
Compliment him (her) and really mean it. [Wives, accept those compliments gracefully, don’t follow it with Oh you’re just saying that because you want ___, or kill the compliment with something like oh no, I look terrible.] Flattery gets you nowhere, but sincerity of heart is priceless. This resolution is related to that biggie, guarding the tongue.
For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.-Psalm 5:9A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! – Proverbs 15:23
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. -Proverbs 25:11
Make the little moments count. Like both John Piper and Paul Tripp say, life is a series of moments. This is a momentary marriage. The little things are important. It’s not about expensive dates, trips, or a robotically-given bouquet of roses. It’s about authentically being present in each moment. Look. Listen. Appreciate.
Meal time should be conversation time. Guys, I know you mostly want to dig in. You eat with gusto. But we should be hearing more than slurping, chewing and burping. Again, every moment counts. This is a good time to communicate. Spouting off what’s current in fake news does not count. It’s time to talk about me, you and us.
Express your needs. (for wives only. Men don’t express, they grunt.) Don’t assume he knows your needs. He most likely does not! I know we women love for men to read our minds. We love to throw out subtle hints. Trust me, they don’t work. The male species is not as intuitive, sentimental, or as emotional as we are. Men never express their needs, but have more subtle ways of revealing them. For example: checking the pantry repeatedly, without pulling anything out, means I’m starved. When are you getting that meal on the table, woman?
Listen better. This is another biggie. Depending on your age, not hearing your spouse could be a hearing problem. But in many cases, he’s hearing you with youtube videos running, with eyes focused somewhere else. That’s not listening. Secondly, make sure he understands what you’re saying. Some of us take longer to process information. Some of us misinterpret information.
Pay homage. He’s the respected head of the home, and I’m the Queen. Gotta love Joel Beeke on this. Love the way he always calls his wife, Mary, the Queen.
And let’s not forget: as Christians, we find full satisfaction in our Lord Jesus Christ. Only He loves with a perfect love. The Christian husband and wife are two sinners saved by grace. So as you lovingly gaze at your spouse this Valentine’s Day and every day, cut him/her some slack.
Laughing is even better.