Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Wedding Ring

I couldn't help but take a look at my own wedding ring while reading this, and seeing just how dull and lifeless it had become. Not that my marriage is dull and lifeless, but it certainly was a reminder that I cannot let any moment slip away where I do not tell my husband just how much I love him. And not only that, but I want to always look my best for him, to be my best self, just like when we were dating and first married. I know I appreciate when he takes the extra effort to rinse away his chin hairs after shaving, or puts on a spritz of cologne "just because." So I know that he appreciates the extra "little things" that I do for him.

The Wedding Ring
20 Jul 2009
Marybeth Whalen, writer & speaker, Proverbs 31 Ministries

"An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband." I Corinthians 7:34 (NIV)

While shopping for some nail polish remover, I stumbled upon a bottle of jewelry cleaner. As I picked it up and tossed it into my cart, I reflected on the days when I always kept jewelry cleaner so that I could keep my wedding ring sparkling and shiny. Somewhere in the rush of life, I stopped doing that, and it had been years since I polished up my very dirty, dingy diamond.

When I got home, I cracked open the new bottle and put my rings in to soak overnight. The next morning, I fished the m out and used the little brush to scrub away any remaining dirt. As I slipped the rings on, I couldn't believe the difference! I knew my rings were dirty but I had no idea how sparkling the cleaner would make them. All day I kept looking down at my hand to admire the way the diamond reflected the light, brilliant and shiny instead of dirty and dingy.

God reminded me that my experience was a great illustration for how I have treated my marriage at times. Where once I worked hard to look nice for my husband, I often meet him after a long day in my pajamas—unshowered and unprepared to welcome him. Where once I took time to really listen to him, I let my thoughts wander when he talks, figuring I had heard it all before. Where once I looked forward to our time alone, I get in the car with a bored sigh, and a, "Where do you want to eat?" My shiny, sparkly, exciting marriage that I couldn't wait for had turned into a dirty, dingy drudgery that I forgot to take care of.As I admired my diamond that day, I thought of ways I could "clean" my marriage, restoring it to the brilliance that God desired for us:

• Taking time to at least brush my hair and put some gloss on my lips before I saw my husband at the end of the day.
• Committing to regular exercise and taking care of myself, so I would feelbetter and look better.
• Treating him respectfully and watching both my words and my tone to him.
• Apologizing when I blow it and humbly seeking his forgiveness.
• Investing regular, consistent time into us by making the effort to plandate nights and secure a sitter.
• Really listening to him when he confides in me, not letting my thoughts wander to my to-do list.
• Spending time with him without feeling like we have to talk all the time.
• Respecting the differences in each of us, instead of fighting against them.

Of course I don't do these things perfectly every day, but I do have a renewed vision for what my marriage needs. Just like my diamond needed to be restored after neglect, so did my marriage. I can't become complacent or despondent about this most important relationship. I have to strip off the buildup of stress and busyness, scrub away any resentment or distance. When I do that, God has shown me that He will restore my marriage to its original brilliance and sparkle, reminding us both why we said "I do" all those years ago.

Related Resources:

Join us for more Everyday Life encouragement
Love Notes on His Pillow: And Other Everyday Ways to Keep Your Love Alive by Linda Gilden
Learning To Live Financially Free by Marybeth and Curt Whalen
Marybeth's blog and resource page

Application Steps:
If you are married, clean your diamond today. If you don't have any cleaner, go and get some! (It's near the fingernail polish remover.) If you are not married but hope to be, spend time praying to have God's heart for your husband and for a marriage that will stay sparkling and shiny long after you say "I do."

What is one thing that you can do today for your marriage? Don't do it because your husband "deserves" it. Do it because it honors God.

Power Verses:
Proverbs 21:9, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." (NIV)
I Peter 3:6, "Like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if yo u do what is right and do not give way to fear." (NIV)

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