There’s a mental exercise I’ve done with people that work for or with me.
It goes something like this:
Think of someone you don’t like; they bug you, you can’t explain why. It’s just something about them that always seems to push you over the edge. Do you have that person in mind?
It’s immediate recall for most people.
Now ask yourself this, “When posed with the same question, who is thinking of me? Who do I annoy, damage, push to extremes? Who comes to work grinding their teeth knowing I’m going to be there?”
When I was in college, people had a different list. They had a list of everything they desired in a life partner; short, fat, thin, educated, artistic, political, social, handsome, perfect body, etc…
I would often ask people making these lists, “Whose list are you on?”
“What?” They would look confused.
“What I mean to say is,” I continued, “Whose list would you be on? Are you the same level of excellence that you’re demanding from another person?”
And this is the heart of most marital problems: we want something from the other person that they are unwilling or unable to give us, and it pushes us apart.
With this in mind, early in my relationship with Kimberley and into our marriage, I started making lists.
Lists of everything that Kimberley did well. If the Woman at the Well and Solomon taught us anything, it’s this: that no matter how many people of the opposite sex you blow through like used Kleenex, it will only leave you unsatisfied.
Satisfaction only comes in marriage when you give sacrificially instead of expecting unconditional love and surrender.
Here’s a list of Kimberley’s recent rights:
She is always honest. She is kind in her honesty.
She admits her mistakes. I’ve never met a more humble woman.
She loves children and homeschools our own four while working alongside me in a part-time position at Madison House, helping 200 other emotionally/spiritually needy children.
We clear every purchase with each other and always know what’s in our accounts.
I’ve always felt she was super sexy but this spring she put herself on a food/exercise program where she went from a size fourteen down to a size two….Seriously, so hot.
Every day she reads her Bible. Every day. That’s Hot.
She did a three part, two day speaking engagement this fall at a church…And got paid to do it.
She makes birthdays and holidays extra special for myself and the kids.
She’s such a classy dresser and her skin is flawless, she looks 29…AND IS 29!!!
She is very wise. She guides me away from women with wrong intentions.
She loves Jesus before she loves me, and for this I love her the most.
When you love your spouse and focus on what is pure and perfect about them, the things that are wrong seem unimportant and are easy hurdles to overcome. Make a list of compliments. Make a list of things you can do to help around the house. Lift their spirits and encourage them in the good they are doing. It is so easy and cheap to be negative, and yet we know from experience and wisdom passed down that anything good comes from hard work and sacrifice.
Jesus loves the Church sacrificially, dying for us. This is how I hope to love my wife, dying to self.