Do you rejoice in your spouse? Do you see the real beauty, creativity and grace in them? Are you looking? Do you fill yourselves at all times with delight from them? Are you intoxicated in their love? If not, why not?
Some of you may offer up a myriad of reasons as to why you do not rejoice in your spouse. You will point to their failures and draw attention to how they have disappointed you time and again. Really? God loved you when you were yet his enemy and bridged a humanly unbridgeable gulf between you and him through the cross of Christ. Can you then, by the power of the gospel, not forgive and be patient with your imperfect spouse? And, by the way, have you looked in the mirror lately? Are you really so perfect?
Some of you may have become frustrated and decided to leave home (in heart or reality) in pursuit of something or someone better. Hit the brakes! Turn around! Go home! On your way--repent and ask God to stir up your heart with love for your spouse. Ask with the intent to obey God. Commit not to separate yourself from your spouse--emotionally, physically or sexually. Ask God's help all the while you are running back to the arms of the person that you are in covenant relationship with. That is how you will know that your repentance is real. Simply saying that you are sorry without an intent to give yourself to the one that God has joined you to in marriage--is not real repentance or real Christianity.
You need to saturate your heart with your spouse. You need to be intoxicated with love. How does one become intoxicated? They linger long at wine, beer or strong-drink. Of course the Bible is opposed to that sort of intoxication--but the illustration is clear. If you want to be intoxicated with your spouse (and you should want that, but not as an idol) then you need to linger long with them, drink deeply from their love, pour your love into them and focus on them above all other people or dreams.
Here are two suggestions!
1. Speak Words of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Delight.
Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people with knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth (Ecclesiastes 12:10).
I have often imagined, how horrific it would be, to have all of my words that have been spoken to my wife in the course of a day recorded and then played back to me before bedtime. To hear the tones, the inflections and words would probably drive me to despair on some days. If that is true--imagine how they must have sounded to my dear wife. The Preacher sought to find words of delight... Think before your speak. Take a deep breath and even when confronted (unfairly you might imagine) look for words of delight. Find something that you can truthfully draw attention to that would encourage your spouse.
I am convinced that we never quite know the extent of the burdens that the people we love are carrying. Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad (Proverbs 12:25). Your spouse is no doubt sometimes weighed down by heavy weights. A good word might lift their spirits and make them glad. It also lets them know that they are not alone in their burdens but have a ready support from the one who has made a covenant commitment to them.
2. Write Words of Wisdom, Knowledge and Delight.
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes carefully weighed, studied and arranged his words. He sought to find words of delight and uprightly wrote words of truth (12:10).
Few things are more rare these days than a handwritten note. This week we received an anonymous handwritten note with a gift included. The note and gift brought great encouragement to our family. Communication via email, text and social media can be very helpful and efficient. One of the downsides is that with the rise of communication via high technology there has also been the decrease of both verbal and handwritten communication.
Even without scientific statistics to back me up, I can guarantee you that your spouse would appreciate a handwritten note. And may I suggest that you consider using a fountain pen? Write words of delight to your beloved. Write words of truth. Write words that will make them glad. They might even be encouraged to imagine that they are glad that they married such a thoughtful person.
In Alister McGrath's wonderful new biography of C.S. Lewis he writes:
Lewis himself never learned to type, always depending on pens. One reason for this was that the same 'native clumsiness' arising from Lewis's having only one joint in his thumbs prevented him from using a typewriter properly.
Yet there is more to it than this. Lewis actively 'chose' not to type. This mechanical mode of writing, he believed, interfered with the creative process in that the incessant clacking of the typewriter keys dulled the writer's appreciation of the rhythms and cadences of the English language. When reading Milton or other poets, or composing a work of one's own, Lewis argued, it was essential to appreciate how the writing 'sounded." From C.S. Lewis: A Life by Alister McGrath (Tyndale) p.163.
I often write to my wife via my computer and send my letter to the printer. I then race to the printer (before she gets there) and write my name (with a pen) and then take it to our love-letter mailing room and place it on the towel rack (my chosen post-office box for her). However, more and more I am writing to her the old-fashioned way--with pen and paper. And now that I am the proud owner of my first fountain pen--I enjoy handwriting even more.
Just some thoughts...