The following was written by Dorothy Fleming, a long-time reader here at SUM. She shared this story with me and I knew all of us need to receive it. Thank you Dorothy for your love, example and your Christ-like heart. Hugs, Lynn
January 6, 2018
Making My Husband Cry on Christmas
It started with a 2017 Valentine’s Day post by Gary Thomas author of the book “Cherish –The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage”. He kept a journal for a whole year writing each day how he cherished his wife. He then gave the journal to her at Christmas. Hmmm. What a great idea! I can do that I thought…can’t I?
However, keeping a cherish journal for a SUM spouse presents some challenges, right? Not only would I need to find something to cherish each and every day for days, weeks, months, but accomplish it without directly quoting Bible verses or writing prayers in it. How can I honor my husband through this adventure and grow my faith, so I can be a better reflection of Christ to him? Lord! Please guide me!
To cherish – to go out of my way to show my husband that I believe he is a gift to me and to honor him and our marriage of almost 29 years. I wanted the Lord to teach me to have an auto-pilot that goes to grace, mercy and forgiveness when irritations and problems crop up. I wanted my heart to not focus on negatives but show praise and thanksgiving for all the blessings our marriage has been, is and will be.
So, I purchased a cute colorful journal that even says, “Cherish You” and I began writing. Each day, I would pray - what do you have for me today Lord? Many days, it was quite easy, but some days presented a challenge…do I have to cherish today Lord? Really? Even when he….
But cherishing and remaining in God’s word teaches us to remember what Christ has done for us, how He loves us, cherishes us, shows unfathomable grace and mercy to us. How can we not show that to our spouses by cherishing them as well?
Take a look at Song of Songs Chapter 5 as it describes my Beloved…My lover is radiant and ruddy…his eyes are like doves…his lips are like lilies…thinking of my husband as my Adam and I am his Eve. Corny? Maybe? But isn’t that how Christ sees us? Loves us? Shouldn’t we be imitating Him?
We know that God desires all to be saved and I hold on tight to God’s promises for my husband. Dr. Tony Evans has written about our faith – “Faith is acting like something is so even when it is not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so.” By choosing to cherish my husband more, am I not then being a better reflection of Christ? I know my husband watches and listens to my actions and words, as he is quick to point out when I fall short of God’s commands. He’ll comment, “Is that what it says in that Bible of yours.” Ouch!
So I ended up journaling for six months! Before Christmas I prayed a lot – Lord please show me how to conclude this! Please open his heart to receive it as the cherishing gift I intend.
When Christmas day arrived and so did the butterflies in my stomach! The time came for him to open the journal, I was nervous; please Lord let your love enter into my husband’s heart! He opened the gift and began to read. I watched. He read. I waited. He smiled. About two hours later he finished with tears streaming from his face and he thanked me with a big hug and kiss! Thank you Lord, you are an awesome God!
Since Christmas, I have noticed my husband writing in the same journal at night…hmmm maybe I will receive a cherish journal back next Christmas…
Cherishing your spouse is a choice and that choice can be learned and grown into an awesome habit that will enrich your marriage. You know all too well the extra challenges a SUM relationship brings and to remain motivated and focused on cherishing we must stay in God’s word daily and understand the gospel. We need to remember that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins that we may be restored to Him. As Gary Thomas says towards the end of his book, the God who cherishes the imperfect you is more than capable of helping you cherish an imperfect spouse!