Loving Your Spouse is Not About Your Personality or Bent
Properly loving your spouse will require you to do that which is not only illogical, but also least natural for you as a person. If you are newly married or in a premarital relationship, you may be hesitant to receive this saying. If you have been married for quite some time, I already have your ear.
Husbands and wives will do well to understand that they are not married to themselves. That is, their spouse has likes and dislikes that will seem almost nonsensical to them at times. All the same, in order to love one another in a way that takes hold, both will have to step outside of themselves and into the interests of the other.
Early in our Marriage
Early in marriage, I thought my wife should consider herself to be the luckiest woman in the world. I was not trying to be egotistical as much as I had always heard that women craved affection, long conversations, and romance. To be honest, all of these came natural to me, therefore, I thought she would have it made. To my dismay, I found that my woman loved something of a different sort: dirt.
The last time my wife and I went house hunting, she looked to see if there was room for her garden and her chickens before even looking inside of the homes. This may sound a little funny to some, but it is important to note that my preferences nor societies’ expectations should be the standard for her happiness. Her God and her interests should only dictate that, and the same should be true for me as well as you. My understanding of this was rather skewed the first few years of our relationship, and if you are desiring to excel at loving your spouse, you will have to make advancements in this area as well.
Not too long ago, my wife came home from shopping and began to tell me how she had splurged. For most women, that would mean a new dress, a day at the spa, or a fancy pedicure. Not so with Melody. That day she went all out and purchased a cultivator for her garden.
Manure did the Trick
I, on the other hand, am not as impressed with soil in that I am more of a romantic. I guess you could call me the woman in the relationship in that I am more about the date nights, the weekend get aways, and the frivolous purchases. In comparison to her, I could really care less about gardening and chickens, but there is one thing that I have to remember: I am not married to myself.
We once lived in a little blue house in Pennsylvania, and I learned that my wife wanted a garden. On my own accord, I went out and rented a rotor tiller and purchased about 200 lbs of sheep manure. As I was working the fertilizer into her garden, she came out of the front door of our home glowing from head to toe. I remember thinking within myself, “I’ve tried flowers, date nights, chocolates, and jewelry, and sheep manure did the trick!”.
As you can see, in order to love my wife in a way that affected her heart and opened her spirit, I had to come out of myself and step into her interests. Though it was illogical and contrary to my natural bent, it was, nonetheless, effective.
To this day, people see me on our little farm hauling mulch and picking up manure and are inclined to think that I love the outdoors. Not so much. What I enjoy more is having a happy wife.
As you can see, loving your spouse will require more than following your natural emotions. It will take wisdom, hard work, and a conscious effort to identify and meet the needs of a person that has an entirely different set of likes and dislikes.