I’m guessing most of you women are already done holiday shopping – and some of you have probably been done since August. On the other hand, I suspect that most of you men are not done holiday shopping – and some of you probably won’t start until Christmas Eve.
Regardless of your gender or the amount of Christmas shopping you’ve already accomplished, let me suggest a gift that you can offer that will be more important than any other gifts you will give this holiday season – the gift of increased love for your spouse!
Allow me to explain.
Love can be defined in a variety of ways. Dictionary.com, for instance, defines love as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Meriam-Webster offers another definition: affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests.
While I like these definitions, let me share two of my favorite descriptions of love. They are as profound as they are simple.
- Love is a decision
- Love is a verb
What do these principles look like when applied in a marriage?
Love is a decision
In my professional life, I teach a Preparing for Marriage class at BYU-Idaho. We discuss in great detail the importance of “choosing well” when it comes to spouse selection. As far as life’s choices go, this decision really is one of the most important!
Once married though, we must constantly choose if we will show love to our spouse (even when they may be less lovable). This often comes easily during engagement and the “honeymoon period” of a marriage. However, it’s just as important to keep loving our spouse as time goes on. Yes, this means loving them when they are grumpy, if they lose their hair, if they put on a few pounds, if they are challenged with depression, or even if they struggle with the same weaknesses for an extended period of time. You get the idea.
Love really is a decision! But, it isn’t simply a one-time decision made prior to marriage. We have to decide every day to truly love our spouse! This holiday season, I challenge you to choose today, tomorrow, and each day to love your spouse with all of your heart.
Love is a verb
Not only is love something we have to choose every day, but it’s also something that requires action. For instance, it’s one thing for me to tell my wife that I love her (and I do frequently). However, with 5 energetic children, she often feels even more love when I do the dishes or fold the laundry.
For your spouse, “showing love” may mean watching a sappy movie or enjoying a ballgame together. It might mean going out dancing or buying a thoughtful gift. Maybe it means taking more time to kiss or spending more time nourishing your sexual stewardship. And perhaps it could also include helping out more with the kids or with household chores.
While it’s critical to frequently say “I love you,” it may be even more important to consistently show “I love you.” And remember, showing that love each day is truly a choice!
Regardless of whatever other gifts you may buy this holiday season, give your spouse a little extra love this Christmas. This is a gift that will be truly treasured!