Let’s resolve to give our best to our most precious relationship: our marriage relationship, which starts out in the dating phase. When dating, you think of the other person first, which leads you to plan intentionally to give your best to the other person (time and effort) because you focus on seeing the best in the other. In marriage, it turns around, and you start thinking of yourself first, which leads you to ask, “what are you going to do for me first?” Sadly, you start focusing on the shortcomings of the other person, thinking you are doing that because you love him/her and want to help him/her to be a better person. These thoughts impact your relationship, and little by little, it will cause the relationship to wither, until sometimes it dies in divorce.
The marriage relationship, like any other relationship, needs to be maintained with our continuous attention to stay delightful and rejuvenated. One tool to keep in mind is the acronym BEST.
In Matthew 21, we read the passage, “Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’ they asked. Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe.’”
In other words, Jesus said watch what you speak, for there is power in your words. Our words can build up the person we are talking to or turn off their spirit. Keeping this in mind, I encourage you to take a piece of paper and write down five beautiful things that describe your spouse and read them out loud in person. Use your mouth to speak life.
As you share your five good thoughts out loud, you will build the spirit of the person who is hearing you. As you speak those words to the person, you will build up their spirit and edify them.
Find time on a regular basis to sit down with your spouse, even if there is not much to talk about. Share the same space together. We express love through our body language. Sharing time together edifies the person you are spending time with. I have been married for 33 years. Every afternoon after dinner, the best time of my day is when I take my cup of coffee and sit down with my beloved husband. Ninety percent of the time, I don’t finish the coffee, but I look forward to sitting with him and sipping my coffee as we talk together about our day and the plans that we have. That time for me is always the best time of my day.
The absence of touch has been a painful reminder for us all during this pandemic. This social distance is preventing us from expressing and receiving love through touch. There is a language of communication that is transferred with a hug. For God created in us the nerve ending that transforms the language of love just by touching a person without using words. When we are dating, we use the language of touch abundantly. But in marriage, we get caught up with other responsibilities and little by little we lose that language. I do remember after years of marriage, one day, my husband came to hug me as I was working in the kitchen. I immediately rejected his affection. “Please leave me alone,” I said to him. “Sorry, I have chores to do. I need to cook.” I pushed him away.
How many times without noticing do we push away our spouse because our focus shifts from focusing on our relationship to catching up with our daily chores? This takes our focus and attention away from nurturing our most cherished relationship; that requires our focus, time and effort to keep it from withering and helping it to shine. And this will give us the ultimate pure joy and happiness we dreamed of in the days of our youth.
In 2021, let’s remember this word “BEST.” Your marriage relationship will flourish, which will reflect on a stronger, healthier family life. You may want to use this Valentine’s Day as a date to confirm your love to your better half, utilize these five positive points and “spoil” your spouse with love.