Archive for the “Marriage” Category

Pair of Dolphins KissingLet me give you some insight into our typical schedule. Three or four days a week my husband works second shift at the job God has graciously provided to pay our health insurance. I work fulltime in our home-based business during the normal work day (and beyond). So I am in the office by 8am, but because he doesn’t get to bed until about 2am several nights a week, Phil doesn’t come in until 9 or 10am.

This morning, I was busy working – in the middle of writing something – having a full thought in my head that I was trying to rapidly get on paper (well, screen actually). I also had a second thought in my mind that I desperately didn’t want to lose – it was firmly planted as the next task, but if I didn’t get to it soon, I was afraid it would wilt before blossoming.

That’s when my husband came into the office. He didn’t follow his normal routine – going to his desk and cheerfully say “Morning, Beeb!” (now you know our favorite term of endearment for one another). Instead, he came to my desk, pulled up a chair and came in for a kiss.

Now I love my husband dearly and I love his kisses…but I REALLY wanted to get these thoughts down…kisses could wait, but could my thoughts? Yet I felt prompted, yes, I believe by the Holy Spirit, to turn away from my keyboard and give my full attention to my husband. Praise God that I was obedient to that prompting. My husband greeted me with a very tender kiss followed by professions of his undying love. It wasn’t a peck, and it wasn’t passionate – it was soft and gentle, letting me know that I am a treasured woman. Wow!

And the Holy Spirit turned it into a teachable moment.

§ Giving and receiving love and affection from my husband is more important than getting the next thought on paper or the next task done.

§ God can use moments to change our lives. How long was my “interruption” this morning? Not long. Yet my day is changed. And I know Phil’s day is changed. In the front of my mind is the tender moment we shared and the knowledge that I am very special to him. Moments that can change days can change our lives.

§ God is my Husband. He has given me an earthly husband not only for my joy, but also as an illustration – an earthly picture/experience – of my relationship with Him. He wants to surprise me with tender moments that can change my day and my life. I could have said to Phil “I’m in the middle of something” when he pulled up a chair this morning. I would have missed out. I can say the same thing to God – “Lord, I need to finish this thought before I pay attention to You.” And it will be my loss – I will miss the opportunity to experience God’s love, His grace, His wisdom – all things He wants to shower upon me. I will miss the moments with God that can change my life.

Lord, thank you for lessons that come out of tender kisses. Thank you for my husband, who loves me and who gives me glimpses of Your love and care for me. Help me to be tender toward You and toward him – even when I’m in the middle of some seemingly urgent task.

Husbands and Wives

1In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2by observing your pure and reverent lives. 3Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God….

7In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

8Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.
1 Peter 3:1-4, 7-9 (NLT)

Gentlemen – Kiss your wives tenderly. Love her.

Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Proverbs 5:18 (NLT)

Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
Colossians 3:19 (NLT)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)

Ladies – Love your husbands passionately. Read Song of Solomon in a modern translation and love your husband as the young woman loves her bridegroom. And resist the urge to nag.

2Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine. 3How fragrant your cologne; your name is like its spreading fragrance. No wonder all the young women love you!
Song of Songs 1:2-3 (NLT)

A quarrelsome [or nagging] wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day.
Proverbs 27:15 (NLT)

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Ladies – Want to love your husband better? Want to honor your husband (and in so doing, honor God)? Want to see him grow into a better husband, father and man of God? Your encouragement is key. Here’s a good article that appears on, a site for women in leadership and ministry. It’s worth the quick read.

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Whew! It’s been almost a week since I blogged. What a week it’s been. My husband’s birthday was Monday and our anniversary was yesterday. That would be our 32nd anniversary. I am so blessed to be married so many years. I am even more blessed to be in what is probably the best marriage I’ve ever seen. I say blessed because neither my husband or I had examples of good marriages around us as we were growing up. We give all the credit for our great marriage to God and a very few couples we’ve known over the year.

I’d like to honor just one of them here – Phil’s Uncle Earl and Aunt MaryLou. We moved to California the day after we got married and were blessed to have Earl & Lou already living out there. Without intending to do so, they “parented us” in our early years of adulthood and marriage. Their marriage was an illustration to us of what a good marriage could be. Uncle Earl went on to be with the Lord on June 30th. Although we’ve lived thousands of miles apart for the past 27 years, will will miss him. Please pray for his wife MaryLou and his son and daughter.

A few months ago, a new friend asked what we did that made our marriage work. I thought about it for a week or so before I answered because I considered it an important question and didn’t want to give a glib answer. And I’ve thought about it a bit more since then. Let me share a few thoughts with you.

1. Always serve God and His purposes.

I don’t mean always be busy with God things. I mean have the attitude that you are serving God in all you do. This helps to frame the petty things that happen. Jonathan Edwards, one of the primary great preachers/evangelists of what is referred to as the Great Awakening, had a list of “resolutions.” One of them was to “never do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” One of the things this resolution did was help him view circumstances of his days and life from an eternal perspective. It was his way of keeping focused on purpose and letting go of the everyday “stuff.” My concept is the same, but I prefer to frame it as always serving God and His purposes.

2. Always know that God is working in you to make you a better person than you are right now.

You will have minor and major disagreements with your spouse. Pause. Take a breath. Maybe even a walk. Ask God “What’s going on here? What are you working on in me?” You can ask “what are you working on in my spouse” – but only so you can pray about it. Let God point it out to them (at least most of the time).

3. Always appreciate your husband or wife – who he/she is and what he/she does.

Even the routine things. Perhaps especially the routine things. Yes, it’s “his job” to take out the garbage. I try to sincerely thank him every time he does it. That’s called being kind. Do it every day. Multiple times a day. It’ll change the atmosphere in your home and in your marriage.

4. Always appreciate the gifts God has put into your husband or wife.

It’s highly likely those gifts are the exact opposite of yours. That means that your approach to most situations is quite different than your spouse’s. Guess what: Your way is not the right way. So give your spouse some “breathing room” to do things his or her way. To do otherwise disrespects not only your spouse but the gifts God has put into him or her. Be sure to let him or her know how much you appreciate what God has put into them (i.e., tell them so).

5. Make time for rest and fun regularly. (The Sabbath provides an excellent opportunity for this.)

It doesn’t have to be expensive fun, and it doesn’t have to be over-the-top fun. But there must be leisure and enjoyment, along with those times of over-the-top fun. Life will give you lots of headaches. Don’t let your spouse become associated with the headaches in lieu of being associated with the fun. Hold hands like you did when you were dating. Sneak a kiss when he or she doesn’t expect it like you did when you were dating.

6. Let your husband or wife make mistakes and love them all the more.

That’s when they need love the most. Never rub their nose in their failure. Never hold it over them. Laugh over it with them (when they’re able to laugh at it). Help them change their perspective from being a failure to having made a mistake. And pray for God’s grace for them.

7. Always be careful of the tone of your voice.

When things come out more harshly than you anticipated or intended, apologize. Right away. When you say something and see your spouse shrink in front of your eyes, apologize. Right away.

8. Love your spouse.

Always. But that was my last blog. Check it out here.

I didn’t intend to write two blogs in a row on love. I guess someone needs to read it. Have I covered all it takes for a happy marriage? Absolutely not. I haven’t even mentioned reading God’s Word or praying together. Start there and add these things and I am confident that your marriage will be better than you hoped it could be.

I actually sat down to blog on 1 Corinthians 15:58! That will have to wait until next week because tomorrow’s blog will be the next RARE schedule.

If you are married, I pray that you will take to heart these lessons and those of 1 Corinthians 13. I pray that God will blossom your spouse, helping them grow into the man or woman He intends for them to be. I pray that you will be blessed beyond imagination as your watch your spouse grow in love and grace and the goodness of God. I pray that through this, God will grow in you qualities of hope and faith and trust as you become more like Christ.

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Anyone who is married struggles with expectations for their spouses. “I thought you were going to do that!” “Well, I thought you were going to do it!” “When are you going to…” “Isn’t it time to…” “Will you finish…..before friends come tomorrow?”

I work really hard at not having a Honey-Do list. I don’t want to be that whining, nagging wife. I don’t want to be the one who sets “standards” for our life and home that someone else must meet. I don’t want to define his life, I want to let him define it as he hears from God. Of course my wants and my actions don’t always match up.

Scripture says that “a nagging wife annoys like a constant dripping” (Proverbs 19:13 and 27:15). Ouch! And that it’s “better to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24). Again, I don’t want to be that wife.

I friend gave me an expression many years ago that has been helpful to me: In the light of eternity, how important is it? I think a friend of hers gave it to her when she was angry because her husband had bought the wrong color door for their garage!

Here’s a blog by a woman whose deck furniture mocked her – both before and after she nagged her husband to finish the refinishing he had started!

What mocks you? Will you let it get away with the mocking or will you focus your attention on what really matters? (And be sure to give your husband/wife a kiss today. Not a peck, a kiss like you mean it!)

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Praying for Your Spouse
Yesterday’s blog looked at the “love” passage from 1 Corinthians 13, and I challenged each of us to put the characteristics of love into practice every day in our marriages.

1 Corinthians isn’t the only place I go for advice about love, though. I also look to all of Paul’s prayers for the saints, and I pray them regularly for my husband. I do not pray for changes in his behavior. I do not pray for changes in his attitudes. I pray that he might know Christ. Here are two sample prayers from the book of Ephesians:

17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:17-21

16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, I pray these types of prayers for my husband. I place my hand on his back and I ask the Lord to give Phil the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that he may know Christ better. I pray that the eyes of his heart would be opened so that he would see the hope to which he has been called. I pray that he might know the glorious inheritance he has and the incomparably great power that is his in Christ.

Yes, I’ve invested some effort to try to memorize the passages, or at least phrases from them. I made the effort and I pray these types of prayers because I love my husband and more than anything else want God’s best for him. I’m confident that as He comes to know Christ better his life will be enriched in ways that I can’t begin to imagine. Why limit my prayers for him with things I can imagine when God has so much more for him? Why would I want to pray that he would change some behavior that annoys me when God is probably using that behavior to make me more like Christ?

Of course, I’ll receive benefit from God’s answers to my prayers – my life will be enriched as his life is enriched. My life will hold greater adventure as he grabs hold of all God has for him. My life will be more stable when he further embraces Godly wisdom. My motivation to pray for him, however, is my love for him, not what I’ll get out of the deal. Because I made a vow to love, honor and cherish him almost thirty-two years ago. Praying that he would know Christ more intimately is just one of the ways I keep making that same decision every day.

True Love is More about Love than Romance
Well, what started as a single blog about Valentine’s day became so long I had to break it into three parts – and I haven’t said a thing about romance. That’s because true love is more about choosing to love our spouse than sharing romantic dinners while watching the sunset on a beautiful beach (or majestic mountains, if you prefer). The romance is wonderful, but the day to day reality is where we all live.

As I wrote in part 1 of this series, most of it was written on Valentine’s Day while watching schmaltzy romance movies on TV. (My husband was working until midnight.) What strikes me is that the world’s concept of Valentine’s Day is all about hearts and romance and I’ve gone through the whole day without either! But I have something more enduring than hearts and romance. I have a mutual love commitment that my husband and I renew every day. And I have a promise from the Word of God that love never fails. Hearts and romance fail, but love never fails.

(Now I’m off to plan a little hearts and romance! Love will provide the steel spine and unbreakable will of my marriage, but I’m happy to have hearts and romance can add some sparkle to that structure.)

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Love, Love, Love
The decision to get married wasn’t one I made lightly over thirty years ago. In fact, I almost bailed about a month before the ceremony! (I’m so glad I didn’t.) In yesterday’s blog I looked at the vows I took on July 1, 1978, and I asked the question “Do I continue to make the same decision today that I made then?” The vows ended with the phrase “to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” Today I’d like to look at what it means to love.

Our society has a very warped idea about what love is. In fact, Valentine’s Day itself helps to warp our ideas about love. While I have nothing against romance – In fact, I like it! – I recognize that it has little to do with real love.

1 Corinthians 13 teaches and reminds us what love is:

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

What a challenge to live out that definition! Hearts and romance is much easier. Unfortunately, hearts and romance by itself doesn’t lead to marriages with steel spines and unbreakable wills. Love does.

This passage is often quoted at weddings. I think it’s more appropriate to quote it at each anniversary celebration. Let’s look at the passage in light of the question “Am I making the same decision today that I made when I married?”

Love is patient. Have I been patient with my spouse today? Have I shown at least as much patience with him or her as I have with everyone else I’ve met today?

Love is kind. Have I been kind to my spouse today? Have I shown kindness in the tone of my voice and the words I choose? Have I chosen kindness instead of crankiness or frustration or annoyance? Have I chosen kindness instead of nagging or pushing or taking control?

Love does not envy. Have I been content with the life God has given me? Have I been content with the way my spouse contributes to that life?

Love does not boast and is not proud. Does the phrase (or attitude) “I told you so” creep into my conversations with my spouse? Do I have a need to “win” – whether it’s an argument or a conversation about what’s for dinner, do I celebrate a victory (internally or outwardly) when I get my way?

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Do I eschew sin and rejoice in God’s truth with my spouse? In other words, do I pursue the best things with my spouse – the things that God has for us – or do I drag him or her away from God and toward sin? Do I rejoice with my spouse when truth wins out?

Love always protects. Do I protect my spouse, or do I speak ill of him or her when they are not around? Do I absolutely refuse to engage in gossip about my spouse? Do I absolutely refuse to enter conversations that degrade not only my spouse, but men or women in general? When men tell demeaning jokes about women, they are disrespecting their wives. Likewise, when women tell demeaning jokes about men, they are disrespecting their husbands.

Love always trusts. Do I resist the temptation to be jealous? Do I choose to trust my spouse and his or her decisions or do I insist on being in control of everything?

Love always hopes. Do I look at my spouse with hope in my eyes? Do I anticipate the future with my spouse and expect good things in that future?

Love always perseveres. Do I do all of the above again and again and again? Do I make the same decision every day?

There are some hard questions in there, and I am not saying that there aren’t times when serious conversations are needed. There are times when I say, “Sweetheart, something’s not working for me. It feels like…I need…..” But those are discussions, not arguments. And they are discussions I have with my spouse, not with my girlfriends. Sometimes they are hard discussions and sometimes they end up with me realizing that I’m being unreasonable. Sometimes they end in a bit of a stalemate, and sometimes my sweetie comes to understand my position and tries to make changes in his behavior.

I’m also not saying that there is never a time to go to a trusted friend or advisor and ask for advice in a difficult situation. The key words are “a trusted friend or advisor.” Just one, not lots and lots until you find someone who agrees with you or until you have a consensus that 51% of the people you shared with agree with you. And make that one someone you trust to offer biblical advice and maintain confidentiality. The counselor who offers worldly advice is likely more influenced by hearts and romance than love that holds on with everything in it to protect and defend its territory. That kind of love builds lasting marriages.

I go to other places in Scripture for marriage advice – places where Paul prays for all believers to know Christ better. Tomorrow we’ll look at some of those prayers.

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So I had most of Valentine’s Day to myself. I turned schmaltzy romance movies on TV and begin to think about Valentine’s Day and love. What resulted was a three-part blog about love, vows and romance. Yes, it’s after Valentine’s Day, but I hope you’ll stick with me for the next three days because I’m confident that there are questions in these blogs that will help us keep the romance alive in our marriages – although you might find your definition of romance being slightly altered before you get to the end.

Vows are Made for Keeping
I watched a television program last week in which one of the characters learned that a friend she had known for years had been in love with her all along, but had been too shy to say anything. So fifteen years ago she married someone else. To him, it appeared that her marriage had long ago gone stale. Upon learning that this dear friend had loved her all along, she said to another friend, “I made a decision fifteen years ago. And I continue to make that decision every day.” What a great quote! If everyone who was married had the perspective that they were making the same decision every day, there would be fewer divorces and, I think, many happier marriages. Perhaps to the reader it sounds like the quote was said out of martyrdom or self-pity. No, they were said softly, but with conviction and purpose and a determination to remember that decision of fifteen years earlier and all that went into it, and to make that same decision every day of her life.

So all this got me to thinking about the wedding vows my husband and I took more than thirty years ago.

I, Sandra Jane Parks, take you Philip Glen Hovatter, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

The truth is that I was not a Christian at the time I made those vows, and I made them madly in love, but with the reservation in my heart that if the marriage did not work out, I would not live in an unhappy marriage for the rest of my life. Twice since then we have renewed our vows, in both cases after I came to know Christ as Savior and Friend. The vows have more meaning to me now than they did the first time I said them.

Phil and I have been blessed with an incredibly happy marriage – a feat we credit primarily to God and in a minor part to one another (I to him and he to me) because neither of us grew up in households where our parents had loving marriages and we each figure the other one has more to put up with than we do (a great attitude to have for a good marriage).

At the risk of making our marriage a target, I’d like to offer some questions and comments to spur us on to better marriages – marriages with steel spines and unbreakable wills. Questions and comments that may help us focus on continuing to make that decision to be married every day.

“To have and to hold” – Do we take time to hold one another often? It’s so easy to fall into “business as usual” in a marriage. String too many of those days together and soon we begin to treat our co-workers and employees better than our spouse. When my husband leaves I nearly always make a point of meeting him at the door and giving him a kiss goodbye. Worst case, I yell from the basement or the second floor “I love you! See you soon!” I don’t ever want him to leave without me telling him how important he is to me.

“From this day forward” – As far as I can tell, it is still “forward.” I’m to do all the things I’ve promised, beginning on our wedding day and all the days after. This is so important, that it is reinforced by the last line – “from this day forward until death do us part.” Am I still doing all those things every day?

“For better or for worse” – If you’ve been married more than a week, you already realize that there are “worse” days. Not only do you realize it, you’ve experienced it. If you’ve been married several years, perhaps you’ve experienced many “worse” days strung together. But the vow we made was to have and to hold during those worse days – to say “I love you” during the worse days, not just the better days; to do our part to make worse days better, and better days even better. Worse days are not days for bailing. They’re days for loving.

“For richer, for poorer” – Phil and I have been both. Actually, we’re in a “poorer” stage right now. I’m incredibly thankful for the richer days and I’m also thankful for the poorer ones. In the poorer days, I appreciate my husband as much as in the richer days. He is still the man I love, respect and married. His character and nature haven’t changed because there is less money in the bank or because we eat rice and beans instead of our favorite restaurant foods.

“In sickness and in health” – Again, we’ve had “sickness” days and “health” days. I’m not a good caregiver, so the sickness days challenge me. I have to regularly remind myself how much I love my husband, how thankful I am when he serves me in sickness, and how horrible I feel when I’m sick. But I signed up for both. I don’t intend to break a vow just because of the inconvenience of sickness. I’m choosing, each day, to make the same decision I made more than thirty years ago.

“To love and to cherish” – I love that both words “love” and “cherish” are used in the phrase. To me, they connotatively mean something very different. “Love” is the holding very tightly to one’s chest kind of emotion; “cherish” is the gently stroking one’s face kind of emotion. Both are needed in a healthy marriage.

It can be easy to forget what the word “love” means, especially in our society that has the meaning of the word quite jumbled. Tomorrow’s blog will look at what Scripture says about love and we’ll ask ourselves some pointed questions to see if we’re on track.

These are the vows I took on July 1, 1978. As the character in the television show said, “I make them again every day.” It is my pleasure to do so, and it is my honor to do so – because vows are made for keeping.

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Today is my husband’s birthday. The day his mom struggled then knew the joy of having her fourth (and last) child. The day he cried his first audible (to humans) cry. More likely than not, the day I was conceived. Since I was born 9 months to the day after Phil was born, we often say that God created me especially for him as a gift to him on his true birth day.

I think it would more accurately be said (from my perspective) that the Lord who knew me even before I was conceived was working, even before I was conceived, to create the perfect husband for me.

 I wrote this tribute in 2008, but was reluctant to publish it in my blog because it seemed so self serving. This year, I am rejecting that notion for several reasons.

  • Phil has been a fantastic example of a godly husband throughout our marriage. If reading this helps any man become a better husband to his wife, that is a worthwhile use of this space.
  • Our culture is awash with women who do not choose to honor their husbands. If this blog encourages a single wife to honor her husband today, it is a worthwhile use of this space.
  • This tribute gives a glimpse of a life lived for Christ and a marriage committed to Christ. There will always be difficult times to work through and doing so together is one of the joys of marriage.

With that being said, here is my tribute to the greatest man on earth!

Phil –

Thank you for loving me. For seeing in me more than I could ever see in myself. For showing me God’s unconditional love. It seems that no matter how much I fall short, you love me. And without heaping negativity on me in any form, you urge me to become better than I am.

Thank you for being my cheerleader, loving me the way God created me and encouraging me to  be me when others have said “no, you can’t.”

Thank you for making up for my weaknesses (like not cooking or cleaning much), covering them with your actions, demonstrating your love for me.

Thank you for putting our future ahead of our past and our present. For always knowing that God had more for us, even when I slid toward doubt.

Thank you for introducing me to God. For your tenacious faith in the midst of my anti-faith. For your patience and perseverance until the Holy Spirit to change my heart.

Thank you for pursuing God in good times and bad. For all you’ve taught me as we study together or prepare to teach others together. What a blessing to be a study partner with you! You enrich my relationship with God.

Thank you for encouraging and guiding my walk with God. For recommending books you think I should read. For asking me how my spiritual life is going. For praying for and with me.

Thank you for your tender heart and willingness to take risks. What a risk I was 32 years ago! (And maybe still am today!) Thanks for seeing the payoff, even before I did.

Thank you for being my business partner for 21 years and my life partner for 31. What a life! God has been so very good to me!

Thank you for holding me together in the hard times, for celebrating with me in the great times and for making the in-between times more fun that they ought to have been! Thank you for being the fun that balances my seriousness.

Thank you for loving me.

I love you…more than you can ever know, more than I can ever say.

Happy birthday, love.

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My husband loves our dog! He loves me too, but sometimes I have to admit to being jealous of our four-legged, furry “child!” Sometimes I sit in my chair and hear my husband begin to talk “sweet talk” to the dog and I feel jealous. He’s telling her what a good dog she is, and he’s paying attention to her and asking her what she needs and wants. As he’s fixing a snack he’s telling her what he’s doing, “involving” her in his daily tasks.

And then it hits me…Sweetie (our dog) “presents” herself to her dog dad several times a day, looking up expectantly at him, wagging her tail, essentially saying “I’m here. I’m cute. I want your attention. Come play with me.” How often do I do that? How often do I put everything I’m doing down, go over to my husband and ask for a kiss and hug?

I try to always stop what I’m doing and kiss him when he leaves the house. Anything could happen out there and I want to be sure I’ve kissed him goodbye. I want my love for him to be something that helps him get through the stresses of the day, rather than an argument or distance in our marriage add to problems he’ll face while he’s out.

Those are good things, but the dog reminds me that I’m lax at home. Sometimes, especially when life gets busy (and when doesn’t it), we hardly talk throughout the day or even in the evening. Sweetie, on the other hand, lifts her head (from her nap), “smiles” and wags her tail. When he sits down, she will get up and go over to be petted and hear him talk to her. Sometimes I stop what I’m doing to greet him…if I’m not concentrating on what I’m doing.

I think it’s time for me to take some lessons from my dog. How about you? Do you pay enough attention to your spouse during the day? I have no doubt that it would be a good thing. Give it a try! I’m going to.

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