January 29, 2008
The Month of Love
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Faith Editor
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a love marked by giving, not getting.
Ephesians 5:25, The Message
For once in my marriage, I really did something right.
My wife's name is Valerie - Val for short - so she's always held Valentine's Day in even higher esteem than most women. Not only that, but her birthday is March 15 (a.k.a. the Ides of March - I failed to beware), so she's always believed that February 14 though March 15 equals "The Month of Love" equals it's all about her for one-twelfth of the year.
One year, I decided to agree. Each morning for 30 days when she woke up, there was a small hand-made red envelope (amazing what useful skills one can learn watching children's programming) stuck on some wall of our house. Written in sparkly marker (chicks dig the sparklies) on the outside of the envelope was one of her top character qualities. Inside the envelope was a Bible memory verse related to that quality. Embedded in the memory verse was a clue to where a small hidden gift could be found in or around our home.
I just thought this could be a nice little way to tell her I love her. Boy was I short-sighted. I could have bought her the Taj Mahal and she wouldn't have appreciated it more, been more thoroughly impressed. "He went to Jared"? No way. He went to PBS and Ben Franklin. But already Val is considering how to pass this story down to our grandchildren. She says I will never top myself. And she was saying these things before she even knew about the surprise at the end of 30 days when all the envelopes could be arranged so that the first letter of each character quality would spell out the grand prize: that she had her choice of a new wardrobe, upgraded wedding ring, or vacation, any of which would be shopped for together, 'cause she's big on that. Of course, this was back when she was still working, so we had money in the bank. Even so, she never took me up on the grand prize. I can't say I wasn't a little bit disappointed, but she was definitely exercising the wisdom of foresight. And anyway, to her, the biggest gift had already been received.
Valerie thinks this took me ages to dream up and hours to prepare, but it took me about 10 minutes per day, plus a weekly trip to the store to stock up on a few minor gifts. But the outcome net me - if not crowns in Heaven - at least major returns in this life. Anytime a group of gals gathers together and asks each other, "What the best gift you've ever received," I get bragged upon. Several times during the Month of Love itself I was told to take an evening to myself and go see a movie. And I learned something I thought I already knew - diamonds aren't a girl's best friend. Her husband is, if he even shows a rhinestone's-worth of interest in her.
Not every wife speaks the same "Love Language." I know some who truly would have preferred a simple one-time big purchase. Some would just be satisfied with a husband who washed dishes and dusted shelves. But this I can be fairly sure in saying about wives: what all of them really want is a husband that makes an effort to understand them and speak their language, whatever it is, without being told. Yeah, I know, and all one has to do to make millions in the majors is hit a curveball. But unlike the major leagues, in marriage, most of the time, simply making the effort is appreciated.
Intersecting Faith & Life: If you haven't already, read The Five Love Languages with your spouse. Once you learn what says, "I love you" to him or her, come up with a special way of saying so.