RITE OF PASSAGE: A changed life
One of the best things that a man can do for his children is to love their mother. Somehow, seeing his father loving and admiring his mother surrounds a child with a special hedge of peace and protection. In his little mind, the process goes something like, “If my parents are secure, then I am secure.”
Throughout our marriage, I have tried to think of fresh and unique ways to express my love to my wife. I never want our relationship to grow stagnant-and I have to confess to you that on a number of occasions, I have allowed that to happen. I think that a woman feels “celebrated” when her husband discovers new ways to show his love. For example, when my wife and I were in London one day, I made sure we were in front of the Big Ben clock tower at precisely five o’clock. As the clock chimed, I took her in my arms and kissed her tenderly. I then looked her in the eyes and told her that she still rang my bell.
Another year, I gave her a special Valentine’s Day surprise. She had often said that one day she would like to visit the Mall of America in Minnesota. That morning, she prepared for another normal day, completely unaware that we were heading to the airport. By evening, we were sharing a romantic dinner at the Mall of America.
Of course, since I am a missionary, I can’t afford this kind of extravagant surprise very often. Still, in my heart, I am a “big event” guy. If I could afford it, I would write my love for my wife across the sky every day. After 33 years of marriage, she is still my soul mate, best friend and strongest supporter.
One day, I was in a contemplative mood. Actually, this contemplative mood struck me during Sunday School class. Our teacher asked a question about what we as husbands do for our wives. As I anticipated telling the class about my “big events,” Deke Radar began to talk about what he does to show his love for his wife, Pam. He told us that he makes the bed for her every morning. No big show, no huge expense, just a simple act of service and . . . love.
The Holy Spirit used Deke’s words to send a lighting bolt through my heart. I grew up in a home where my mother did all of the housework. Even though my mom worked on the farm right alongside my dad, when we walked into the house at night, Dad headed for his Lazy Boy recliner. Mom would then cook dinner, clean up the dishes and prepare Dad an evening snack. Since this was the example I had watched every night of my life, when I got married, I followed in my dad’s footsteps. But that morning, when Deke (who is a man’s man if I ever knew one) shared about what he did for his wife, God spoke to me about doing . . . the same thing.
Instead of a random act of love or another big event to proclaim my undying love, God said that this simple act would truly bless my wife. It would also provide a way to start the day by saying, “I love you, I appreciate you, and I want to make your load for today a little lighter.”
A friend of mine once told me that, “A changed life changes lives.” I pledged in my heart to make the bed and clean the bedroom every day from that moment forward.
When my wife emerged from the shower the next morning, she was surprised to find the bed made and the pillows properly arranged on the comforter. I didn’t make a big announcement. I just began to change what I did. For the past five years, I have started every day by making the bed and cleaning the bedroom. It only takes a few minutes, but it is one more small way to let her know that I love her.
Recently, I even tried helping her by putting the dishes in the dishwasher at night. That only lasted a few weeks. I have learned that I am a better bed-maker than a dishwasher-loader.
This Valentine’s Day, instead of doing something big, how about making a small change in your life that will show your love on a daily basis? My friend, you just may find that a changed life changes . . . you.