I’ve noticed a lot of blogs in the marriage-blogosphere right now along this line: “Christmas Gifts for Your Spouse”, “Get a Gift for Your Marriage”, “How to Strengthen Your Marriage During the Holidays”, “How to Get More Holiday Spirit in Your Marriage” and many of the blogs are neat little romantic things you can do together as a couple–things to bring back the magic and joy of the season. But one MAJOR gift is always missing, and without this gift, the romantic gestures will not be accepted by your spouse and they will not rekindle the love in your marriage.
What is this MOST IMPORTANT gift?
You need to stop being the one who extinguishes love (brings pain to their life) before your spouse will be open to receiving your romantic gestures and loving gifts.
Let me explain a little further. Relationships are a little like a fire. You see each other or meet each other and something catches our interest–sometimes we’ll even say that “sparks flew!” But the relationship is started with a spark. Then there are things done that kindle the fire: she dresses up, wears makeup and perfume, compliments him, and spends all kinds of time with him…and he buys her affectionate little things or flowers, tells her she’s pretty, writes her poems, and spends hours talking with her and getting to know her. Those actions are Love Kindlers and they make the fire grow hotter and hotter. But as time goes by, bills pile up and kids arrive and they both stop doing the kindlers and starts doing things that hurt each other. He works more hours than he spends with her, and when he is home, he doesn’t talk or act interested. If she tries to talk, he yells at her to be quiet. She nags him about the bills and money so he works longer–then she yells about never being home! He plays on the computer and watches football with his buddies, and since she’s not into that, she hangs with her girlfriends and spends money. He tells her she “has to” be submissive and forces her to move and leave her family. She stops respecting him and withdraws, and when he wants sex, she thinks “Are you KIDDING?” Those behaviors are the Love Extinguishers. They are like dumping a bucket of water on the fire of love.
Too often we try to do Love Kindlers while we are still doing Love Extinguishers–and then we feel all justified and say to ourselves, “Well I tried and they just dismissed all my attempts!” But as Christians we are called to love our spouse as Christ loved the Church. We have made a covenant with our spouse to put them and their needs ahead of our own and in all things consider them. So we have a responsibility to look at ourselves and be honest: “What Love Extinguishers am I doing that dump cold water on the love in my marriage?” Until you stop the Love Extinguishers, trying to do Love Kindlers will be like putting water in a bucket with holes…they will just flow out and the bucket stays empty.
So if you really want to give your marriage a gift this Christmas, the little romantic things are nice and will bring back some of the fun and joy–but not if you are still the one causing your spouse pain. The MOST IMPORTANT gift you can give this season is to look at yourself or ask your spouse to tell you, take responsibility for those Love Extinguishers, and then stop them…and make a plan to change!