Well, here I am, with a pretty good start through this devotional and improvement series, when lo and behold, I have a conversation that I need to share with you. I was really enthused to do this with my church family, my brothers specifically because no matter what I tried I couldn’t get any takers to join me in the past. I made some assumptions about what would happen with my buddies in church. I should stop making assumptions.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not disappointed in my brothers. That isn’t it. But I would have been happier had we all approached this with a sense of enthusiasm. Some have. Some have not. That’s typical. I can handle that. I was more pushed outside my comfort zone by a person in particular that simply declined altogether. It bothered me so much I sought him out to talk about it.
This gets tricky if we let it. So don’t… This doesn’t have to become some weird dance full of assumptions and frowning and sharp responses and possible bitterness. No. I approached him and told him how I was hoping he’d join in and asked why he hadn’t. I wanted to keep it simple and just ask straight up. So I did. He went on to explain how busy he was and the circumstances under which he was absent. He figured he couldn’t really stick to the suggested timeline, so why bother? There were other factors present as well.
Keep in mind each of the concerns my brother raised was valid and real. But, what I reminded him was a bit more simple. This isn’t just about you or your spouse. It is about Him. He knows what we’re doing and what we’re not. And it’s also about our other brothers in the church. Is there another brother among us that needs help with his marriage? Can he notice from us that even though we keep our lives too complex and too busy, that we made time to improve our relationships with Christ and our wives? Can we then use us or lean on us as accountability partners in this endeavor? Sure.
They say one’s ethics are proved when nobody is watching. I’ve got news for you. He is always watching. And often, so are others. Think about that.Michael Ware – April 2021
-Day 9 – “Love makes Good Impressions” – Think of a specific way to greet my wife. Make sure it includes a smile. Determine a way to include the new greeting from this point forth. What? You mean, “sup” won’t cut it? I had completely forgotten this one. Do I greet my wife? I sure do. Do I do so in a loving manner? Not really. As a customer walking into a restaurant do I prefer a quick head nod accompanied with, “Sup?” or would I not only enjoy much more but have a clear expectation of much more? It may sound simple, but I can show a delight to my wife when her absence has been broken, and little more in life is so easy…
-Day 10 – “Love is Unconditional” – My challenge? Do something out of the ordinary today for my spouse. I did this. I chose something small, but noticeable. I noticed that she noticed. 😉
-Day 11 – “Love Cherishes” – Meet my spouse’s needs. This challenge was designed around doing something somewhat specific with an action. Do you know what I mean? This could be an errand I run or a task that I complete, etc. My wife’s vacuum is acting up and I know she needs it looked at. I enjoy working on a vacuum full of dirt, nastiness, horrible smells, and filthiness from our floors like I enjoy wading through our septic tank to unclog an obstruction. I mean it when I say, my idea of Hell is to work on our vacuum. We have a Dyson “Animal” DC07. If you know much about them, they work primarily on air. There is a motor that turns the brush, but the entire vacuum is an elaborate system of ducting and centrifuges. There are a billion nooks and crannies full of pet dander, dust, and generally horrible smelling particles, contained thoroughly within that vacuum. I loathe the idea of working on it. But… I told her that needed to be done, and I wanted to look at the vac. She was delighted. I was able to diagnose the problem, ordered a part for it, which came in ahead of schedule. I immediately installed it, and as God appears to have a tremendous sense of humor, only repaired part of the problem. So, I was gifted with a second opportunity to wade through the filth a family of four, a large dog, and many guests manage to leave behind. Yeah, I wasn’t digging it. But my wife did. And that’s the point. She didn’t nag me to do this, but I knew she really wanted and needed that vacuum to do a better job since it was forcing her to do a lot more work than necessary. Win…
-Day 12 – “Love lets the other Win” – Demonstrate love by willingly choosing to acquiesce in a disagreement. I was able to do this, but not quite right. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do so, but a genuine opportunity to relay to my wife, “I love you more than my desire to be right or get what I want,” didn’t arise. I’ll have to import this into another day. So I’m not sure I can consider this box checked. At least for now.
-Day 13 – “Love Fights Fair” – What does that mean? LOL… This idea was well established by the book, actually. Better than I remember from years prior. I was to talk with my wife about the formation of healthy resolution essentially. I was instructed to outline ‘best practices’ for dealing with disagreement. I didn’t do this one. It wasn’t because I’m not willing or unable. Our week got slammed and we literally had to deal with other things that came up that were pressing and vital. This conversation sets expectations and the foundational precepts we desperately need in our marriage. I didn’t want to half-ass it. Sunday afternoons are pretty low-key for us and maintain that tradition as best we can. I’m hoping I can find a relaxed bit of time to approach this and visit with her. So, two days in a row I have had the best of intentions, but haven’t completed the task before me. I will, however, bring these both full circle and write about that.
-Day 14 – “Love takes Delight” – Drop your routine for her pleasure – just be with her… Done. As, an aside, this wasn’t as awful as one might imagine. My wife isn’t the kind of person to drag me to the mall. She doesn’t even like to go to those places. She likes the sun. I needed to work. I put work on hold, left my phone in the house, and just pulled up a lawn chair beside hers and sat beside her quietly. I think she may have noticed…
-Day 15 – “Love is Honorable” – Show your spouse honor and respect beyond my ‘normal’ routine. I complimented her in such a way in front of our children that it framed her work appropriately. My wife didn’t have the best home life as a child. She was determined to apply time and passion into a realm of work that made a difference for other families and children so her childhood would be repeated less often in our world. She dedicates, in no small way, energy and enthusiasm to families that come before her in some of their worst moments. She takes the chaos and calamity of other’s lives and acts as a catalyst towards their repair. She does so without thanks and often with too little lasting success. Yet, she puts in those insane hours and deals with some of the horrific things mankind can inflict upon one another because she seeks to help people. She wants to place before them the choice to have and work towards, and hopefully achieve, what she was denied as a child and part of a family. It is important our children understand why their mother does what she does, and that she knows I know it.
We’re not quite halfway there, but I’m enjoying four things. 1, I’m sharing this experience with my brothers in Christ. 2, I’m examining myself. 3, I’m glorying God with the thoughts and behavior He expects. 4, My wife is being honored properly and I can tell a difference.
Be salt and light my friends. Please.