It’s Birthday Eve around our house, as I anticipate my wife’s birthday, fretting over making it a memorable event.
What is her favorite color for the balloons? What kind of flowers does she like? What about the scent for the candles for that special dinner I’m preparing? Am I getting it all right, the way I want it to be for her? She is keen on birthdays and this needs to be special for her.
I’ve tried to be attentive in recent months as we’ve strolled through some of the seaside communities close to our home, noticing what catches her eye. I’ve watched closely as she picked up various items, making a mental and sometime literal note. I knew this day would sneak up on me and I wanted to be ready. Nothing worse than having the special day arrive and me be flat footed.
But, I think I’m ready.
Nothing fancy for dinner, as I’m not really a cook. But, I try. I’ve got the soft music playing in the background and expect her home after a while. I think she’ll be pleased.
I’m aware that these special occasions are special—they must be woven together like a string of delicate pearls. There must be enough “special” events, large and small, to lift our spirits as well as keeping us closely connected. Heaven knows there are enough mundane days, and large and small tiffs, to disrupt the strongest relationships.
So, today I write about celebrating your mate. We all want to be celebrated, valued, and encouraged, and even a small amount of effort, done in the right way at the right time, will reap great rewards. Both the New and Old Testament are filled with stories of celebrations, feasts and festivals, from extravagant wedding banquets to the simple serving of the loaves and fishes.
That said, let’s celebrate! Let’s specifically celebrate our mate. Here are a few tidbits I pass along to you, hoping you’ll use them in time to save a faltering relationship or strengthen an already strong one. Either way, efforts made now will save you many problems later.
First, consider what you appreciate about your mate. Look past the everyday concerns that immediately jump out at you and into the reasons you were attracted to your mate in the first place. What is it that makes them unique? Perhaps the very issues that attracted you became issues that concerned you, but can once again be traits that make your mate appealing to you.
Second, celebrate your mate. Don’t wait for a birthday or holiday to say how much you appreciate them. Drop them a note, make a comment or purchase that small, special gift that says ‘I was thinking about you.’ A little effort will go a long ways toward creating connection.
Third, don’t forget the ‘big’ celebrations, such as anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. We are never allowed the luxury of forgetting important occasions. We must mark them on our calendars and go out of our way to celebrate our mate and let them know that we appreciate them.
Fourth, add ‘big’ celebrations to your calendar in between the special events. Go away for the weekend, even if it’s fifty miles away to stay in the low budget motel. Your mate will appreciate the effort you put into recognizing the importance of connecting.
Finally, cut down on distractions and focus on your mate. The real value of ‘getting away’ and creating a special celebration is the connection you make with your mate. While you need the special occasions to make big connections, discover ways to routinely sit quietly with your mate to really talk, listen to each other, dance and appreciate each other. Focus on him/ her and notice the connection that results.
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Publication date: October 28, 2013