With Valentines Day coming up, and blog posts about how to celebrate it has crossed my mind, that just like the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, the significance of this day should be practiced every day. Love. We should be making our loved ones feel special every day. Sure we may not be able to go out for dinner, or exchange gifts or nibble on chocolate every day, but there are other expressions of love that we can show every day.
Sometimes when we are trying to understand a concept such as love, it helps to look at the opposite. Selfishness is the opposite to love. Character First defines love as: giving to the needs of others without expecting a reward. Selfishness is giving only when there is something in it for me. How often are our expressions of love motivated by a desire for a reciprocated expression? (Note: I know we need love reciprocated, that is a part of love – expression between two people. I am not talking about situations that are out of whack, where there is an abuse of ‘love’ – but rather where there are two people walking towards honest, true, and godly love our motivation should not be a reward, response, or reciprocation from the other person but rather freely given from our heart to bless and encourage them.)
You can Help your Spouse be Successful
One way that we can express love to our spouse is to determine to make them successful.
This means putting our time, energy, emotions and even money behind the dreams and ideas of our spouse (and this is relevant to both husband and wife). So often we are focused on the external things of life and this area of our life alone gives us plenty of opportunity to express selfless love – but there is more to our husband or wife than the external – there is their heart.
Do we know their heart: their values, passions, interests, inclinations, beliefs and are we determined to make them successful in these areas?
As I reflected on this I imagined some objections – but..but..but… we tend to think that if we were to make them successful it would require huge sacrifices on our behalf. And it may – but reality is that most times it is something small.
Peter has encouraged me in my desire for a home decorated in a way where his taste would have been different. He has actively supported my writing and the time that it takes. He has agreed with the changes that have come from my desire for a healthy diet. These things may seem insignificant but they are the things on my heart and Peter has given me unselfish love in support of them.
I hope that I too have been able to support and encourage the things that Pete wants for his life: to be a father who is there for his kids, to be a business man with a reputation of integrity, to be a man who understands and communicates God’s word to others. To support him in these areas of his life requires me to give my time, energy, and emotions. That is love.
Love is giving to the needs of others
without expecting a reward
~ Character First
[Tweet “Unselfish love is the very definition of love.”]
Consider your Spouse as a “Whole” Person
Another way to determine to make your spouse successful is to understand what areas make up the life of your partner. When I talk about discipling our children I talk about the different areas of their life – our spouse has the same areas in their life and it will be helpful to consider how you can make them successful in each area.
Spiritual * Moral * Emotional * Physical * Intellectual
What dreams, goals, ideas does your spouse have for their spiritual well being. Can you help that come about? e.g. Can you help them find time to have their quiet time?
What dreams, goals, and ideas does your spouse have for their moral understanding and practices? What are their values and beliefs in life – can you find ways to help those be expressed.
What dreams, goals and ideas does your spouse have for their emotional well being? e.g. What do they need to be emotionally calm?
What dreams, goals and ideas does your spouse have for the physical side of their life? e.g. For their body? For their home? For skills and talents? For their job?
What dreams, goals and ideas does your spouse have for their intellectual development? e.g. Do they want time to read, to talk, to write?
Another Word for Successful is Flourish
Unfortunately when we talk in terms of making a person successful we immediately look at it in terms of money, position, recognition – that is how the world sees success and it is easy to fall into that way of thinking. And yet success isn’t measured that way in God’s Kingdom.
I am reminded of the song we used to sing – if you want to be great in God’s kingdom you must be a servant of all. (Mark 10:44) God’s measuring stick is different.
Another word that may better reflect a biblical view to the word ‘successful’ would be ‘flourish’. Are we prepared to do everything we can to help our spouse flourish – for them to thrive, do well, bloom in the place they are planted?
[Tweet “To help a spouse flourish in their dreams, hopes and ideals is one way of showing love.”]
Practice these 10 Habits and Build a Strong Marriage: Habits reflect your values. When you practice these 10 habits you will build a strong marriage.
A Simple Encouragement to be Christlike in my Marriage: Applying the biblical encouragement to put on compassion, meekness, patience, tolerance to my marriage relationship changes things.