The adage goes that familiarity breeds contempt. When the husband finds the wife as comfortable as an old shoe, chances are that’s how he will treat her: like an old shoe!
Why? I suspect husbands (being one myself) subconsciously think this way, “Well, I have her. What’s she gonna do? Divorce me?” And so we suppose we no longer need to do those thoughtful gestures or loving glances that were so prevalent during courtship.
One lesson I learned from a Bob Garon column (which I wish I kept) is that courtship does not end at the wedding. It continues throughout the marriage.
Another person shared his own secret for a thriving marriage: “I discover something new about my wife every day.”
Newlyweds exchange sweet nothings. Years later, they exchange nothing sweet.
If you find yourself taking your spouse for granted, rediscover the qualities that attracted you to her in the first place. Think back. Was it her smile? Her thoughtfulness? The way she is kind to strangers? Her fashion sense? Her being a whiz at the kitchen?
Whatever it is, look at it again and feel how blessed you are. More importantly, think of her as a flower that needs the sunlight of your affection and the water of your praise.
In the Song of Solomon, notice how the lover lavished praises on the maiden. Read this book again even though you find it mushy (“How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful!”) or downright incomprehensible (“Your hair is like a flock of goats…your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes… your neck is like the tower of David”).
Or go through Proverbs 31 and towards the end, hear the husband’s pride for his wife, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Be your wife’s number one fan. When giving a seminar, I always commend my “darling wife” even to asking her to stand up and be applauded. Show how much you appreciate her by love notes, daily hugs, and even time out from household chores (if she stays at home) or the office grind (if she’s working) with a good dinner.
Most of all, give her something no money can buy: your time. When I would eat breakfast or dinner with her, I would dash off after wolfing down my meal. There’s always something to do: check my email, do my writing, read the newspaper, watch another TV show. Now I make a conscious effort to stay at the dining table even after I had cleaned out my plate and just “hang out” with her.
You know what? I learned that the best way to rediscover my treasure is to keep gazing at Lucy… and be amazed what a masterpiece I have. I’m the richest man in the world!
Your wife married you. Duh! Do you realize what that means? She is giving the best years of her life to you (not to mention the rest of her stay on planet earth). She deserves our highest affection and attention. We can do no less.
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