Have you ever been given a gift that was way beyond anything you could ever imagine? A gift you couldn’t find words to express your gratitude for?
As I write this I’m in Hawaii y’all! Or maybe I should say Aloha? It was a gift. First, a birthday gift from a husband to his wife of twenty-seven years, and it trickled down to me. I will explain. My girlfriend, since middle school, had a bucket list request to take twelve—twelve!—of her girlfriends to Hawaii. And all I had to do to be included in this Hawaii gift was to be Judy’s friend. I am looking out at the ocean right now!
Her husband bought our plane tickets, found a rental on the water, rented cars, and has been available for any and all needs that arise throughout our week.
Let me set this scene y’all:
Imagine being at an airport with thirteen ladies and all the luggage of thirteen ladies and getting the cars and packing in all the luggage and arranging car assignments and keeping thirteen excited celebratory chatting women in order. I watched as Dean took our luggage—thirteen ladies worth of luggage—and packed each car.
I thought to myself, This is love in action.
And you are probably thinking that Dean must be a billionaire or just won the lottery. No, he’s not an Oil Tycoon or a Movie Star or a politician. He’s just a hard-working man who handles money well; and loves his wife well.
Dean has done everything from shuttling us around to barbequing for us and keeping us organized. He’ll stop from time to time and count, One, two, three, four…thirteen, okay, move on. He’s careful not to lose one. Have you ever had to keep track of thirteen ladies?
And here’s the weird part:
Dean seems to be enjoying this. I’ve watched him watch her. He’s enjoying the joy she is experiencing. While all eyes are on Judy, I’ve been watching Dean. He smiles as he watches her laugh. He snickers as she does silly things. And he beams as she celebrates. It’s his gift to her, and I think he’s enjoying the gift as much as she is. With all of this love in action you know I had to investigate and work my private detective mojo, and get to the root of how they approach marriage.
I talked with Judy first…
Don’t miss this, ladies.
Over the years Judy has always supported whatever endeavor Dean sought out to accomplish. When he literally climbed mountains on a cross-country bicycle ride, she was right by his side—in a car but by his side. When he changed professions, she supported him. When he had to go on business trips, she didn’t complain, she encouraged.
And most of all—and please don’t miss this!—she continually cheers him on. She cheers like a high school cheerleader and chants his praises.
In between the shuttling and counting I had a chance to ask Dean his thoughts on marriage. What he said will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Men, you’ll want to write this down, and ladies, you’ll want to pass this post to hubby.
Me: Dean, would you tell me your approach on marriage?
Dean: You’re the expert. You tell me.
Me: I’m the expert because I ask questions.
Dean: Marriage is about modeling Jesus’ example of loving the church in the Bible and giving himself up.
Me: Wow, that’s good stuff.
Dean: Everyone gets stuck on Ephesians 5:22 and pays no attention to verses 25-29:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.”
Dean continued on…
This has to be the foundation from which one approaches his marriage. All else is temporary. Things change, people change but God’s Word is firm and everlasting. Practically, this requires a love as described in 1 Corinthians. It’s not just what you give, but it is what you give up. Christ emptied himself—he did not just give. Christ’s example also shows us that time invested and achieving balance was not the same as our compartmentalized lives. His marriage was his purpose. Everything he did revolved around it. If he went away to pray, it was not time away from his bride, but to intercede for his bride. Everything done—work, time alone, etc.—should point back to the purpose in the above passage. If you play golf, it should be so that you have given yourself time to unwind so that you can meet the needs of your bride. It is holistic, and not just a part of who you are. You can’t compartmentalize your time, everything you do needs to be done with the right attitude of love.
Holy Hawaiian potato chips!
Marriage is sacred. It is a spiritual affair. God ordained it. God created it. And how we approach marriage and live out our daily lives is a reflection of what we believe about God.
To love God all out is to love our spouse all out, and to love with sacrifice and to die to self.
That’s when God will be glorified in our marriage. And that’s when we will find ourselves in a heaven-like marriage.
So, as a byproduct of a man loving his wife I get to spend a week in Hawaii. I ask you, How do you say thank you for such a generous gift? I think you enjoy it and take it in and go home and bless others. You take this selfless example and do your best to duplicate it. And, you reflect on the greatest gift of all—the gift of a Father giving up his only son, so that we could live with God forever.
Stay connected and subscribe to LuSays. It’s simple, put your email in the subscribe button. For more on loving all out in your marriage, order a copy of “From Me to We” by Lucille Williams or purchase a copy at your local bookstore.