For My Birthday, I Got You a Present
By Leslie J. Barner
I don’t know about you, but when my birthday rolls around, my thoughts can be a bit self-centered. I’ve got excitement. Anticipation. I wonder what surprises my husband might have planned to celebrate my special day.
After all, isn’t my birthday supposed to me about ... well, me?
At least that’s what I thought until recently, when my daughter, Tiffany, decided to do something radical.
When I asked what she wanted to do for her upcoming birthday, she told me she wanted to arrange a special surprise for her husband, Chris.
“Um ... but it’s your birthday,” I sort of protested.
“Yep, and what I want to do for my birthday is surprise Chris with a trip to Florida and tickets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.” She beamed with excitement. “Seeing his face when I surprise him with those tickets is going to be epic!”
Vacation time for Chris, a first responder, is hard to come by. He had scheduled time off for her birthday. He’s also an avid (or should I say rabid?) Bucc’s fan.
Tiffany understood Jesus’ words in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Selflessness. I wanted that for my relationship. Her example was an inspiration to me to be more of a giver in my marriage.
Being that kind of a giver is more often about the little things, like watching her favorite show tonight in lieu of the baseball game, washing the dishes when it’s his turn, or giving your spouse the last bite of your favorite dessert. (I’m a foodie. That offering is huge, people.)
Being a giver in marriage doesn’t just reflect God’s heart (see James 1:17). It speaks love to your spouse (maybe even inspiring them to selflessness). It’s the type of gift that keeps on giving—blessing both the receiver and the giver.
The good stuff: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Action points: What’s one practical way you can give generously to your spouse this week (particularly in a situation where it would be appropriate for you to be the receiver)? Ideas: If it’s her turn to cook dinner tomorrow night, get home early and have dinner waiting on her. If he’s the one who typically gasses up the cars, surprise him with a full tank. Get creative—and have fun with it!
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