WHAT TREASURE IS IN YOUR CHEST?
I will have the distinct pleasure of celebrating my only daughter’s wedding in a few days, and being that this is taking place less than one year after the dissolution of my 26 year marriage to her father, I have been spending considerable time reflecting on commitments, love, & marriage. One might surmise that, since I am the victim of a failed marriage (even though I am the one that filed for divorce, I believe that all involved in divorce are victims of some sort or another), I might not be qualified to speak to what makes a good marriage or relationship. But I beg to differ. I believe that very failure is what qualifies me to speak to it, as I, like many, reflect upon my failures in an effort to learn, grow, improve, and share. If and when I re-marry, I want to make certain that the same mistakes do not happen again.
In the book, “Love Dares”, authors Stephen and Alex Kendrick issue this as one of forty dares to take to help keep your marriage healthy:
” Whatever you put your time, energy, and
money into will become more important
to you. It’s hard to care for something
you are not investing in. Along with
restraining from negative comments,
buy your spouse something that says,
“I was thinking of you today.””
I think that is one of the biggest complaints that I hear in my unofficial ministry to those who are struggling with unhappy marriages and relationships – they say that their spouse is not spending enough time, energy or money on them. While this quote speaks intelligently and thoughtfully on the topic of marriage, it also applies to life in general. Wherever a man is spending his resources, there you will also find his heart. A quick glance at an extremely busy high level executive’s social media shows where his priorities are within just a couple of minutes. His posts and photos illustrate his love for God, his Church, his job, and his family. His profile picture is one of he and his wife laughing and enjoying life. He unabashedly and unashamedly posts tweets stating that he is sitting on a bench awaiting his wife to finish her shopping. His love for her is evident.
I love reading posts by a local law enforcement officer regarding his children’s growth, antic, accomplishments and celebrations. He offers up many portraits of them involved in family activities. His love for them is unquestionable.
Likewise, a cleaning lady makes blog posts about her work, and about the struggles of being a single Mom. It is obvious that she desires nothing more than to improve her life so she can provide for her kids.
What would a quick glance at your social media by a stranger tell about you? Obviously, not everyone posts on Facebook everyday, due to a variety of reasons: some people are shy; others are private; some are too busy; some have restrictions placed upon them by their employers, etc. But one does not have to look at a person’s Facebook page in order to see where their treasures lie. Where are they spending their time, energy and money? That is the key. Where are you spending yours?
Do you spend more time playing virtual games than speaking to your spouse? Are you too involved with your ex-husband’s life to pay attention to your new husband? Do you spend hours in chat rooms talking to people who are long distance while you ignore the real live flesh and blood people that surround you? Do you spend all of your money on gambling, alcohol, hobbies, or other addictions, so that there is none left over for your family? You know, better than anyone, where you are spending your time, energy and money, and if it is not in the right places, your relationships – all of them, not just your marriage – will suffer, and risk the possibility of crumbling altogether.
A divorced friend of mine posted a link to an article written by a recently divorced man who is giving advice on how to save your marriage. Though his own marriage failed, his advice is sound, and includes things that encourage one to spend time, energy and money on one’s wife. This can also be applied in reverse, as things a woman can do for her man. You can read all 20 of his tips here:
My daughter and her fiancé’ attended marriage counseling with a pastor who told her that one of the biggest mistakes that couples make is putting too much emphasis on the kids, and not enough on each other. I have always considered myself to be a very devoted mother, and there is no substitute for the time, energy and money that you spend on your kids. But you cannot do that at the exclusion of your spouse. As I recently told a friend that all of the pictures that you see in movies of families going on vacation show the man and wife riding together in the front seats of the vehicle, not one of them up front, and the other in the back with the kids. How can you make sure that your spouse feels like they are in the front seat with you today?
As a pastor friend of mine told me, there is a reason for this verse in the Bible:
” Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and
shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” ~ Genesis 2:23. The reason is that they are to help one another, and they cannot do that unless they are spending time together. Couples need to do their best to treat each other like the valuable, irreplaceable treasures that they are to one another.
Lest you think that the love of your spouse is insignificant, take a look at Fred, a 96 year old man from Illinois who recently lost his wife of 75 years. In his grief, he wrote a song for her, and submitted it to a songwriter’s contest. He did not win the contest, but his letter to the contest directors so touched them that they set it to music, and had it professionally recorded. I cried when I watched the resulting video. It is nearly ten minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee and a box of tissues, and prepare to be touched by his obvious love for his belated wife. I wonder, though, if he ever wrote Lorraine, his late wife, letters like that when she was still alive? Regardless, whether you have been in a relationship for 75 years, 75 weeks, or 75 days, it is important to recognize that the “good times” won’t last forever, so hold them tightly while you can. Perhaps, like several people that I know, you have lost what were once good times either through the death of or divorce from your spouse? If so, you have to let go, for, in Fred’s words, “It seems like a dream, but it was real.” Those times may have been very real, but once they are over, they are like a dream. Instead of clinging to what used to be, focus on the real relationships currently in your life. You can find Fred’s love song to Lorraine here: http://www.today.com/entertainment/man-96-enters-song-contest-pay-tribute-love-his-life-8C11004674
One of the things that impressed me the most about my daughter’s fiance’ is that he saved up for about a year to get her the exact engagement ring that she wanted, which he presented to her in one of the most romantic proposals I have ever heard of, other than in the movies. Likewise, he is contributing money to ensure that she gets the dream wedding that she always wanted. There is no doubt of his love for her – he has proven it over and over by how he spends his time, energy, and money. He makes her feel special, and she knows she is important to his life.
Who does not like to be made to feel important? How can you show your spouse or significant other that they are important to you? In the aforementioned book, Love Dares, one of the dares poses the question as to whether or not you are willing to let your relationship with your spouse be the single most important human relationship that you have. Are you?
What is in your treasure chest today?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:21.