Nine-thousand three hundred and ninety-three days ago, I was standing in a Kroger grocery store, earning my minimum wage by acting like I knew how to make corsages and floral arrangements. I’m not a highly crafty or creative kinda girl, but the Lord had a reason for me taking that summer job. It was on that day, where the floral department intersected the bread aisle, that I met my future husband.
To say a lot has transpired since that day is quite the understatement. Since then, we have graduated from college, exchanged wedding vows, had two children, and called twelve different apartments or houses our home. We’ve had to make thousands of decisions over the course of that time. This weekend, however, I realized I had one more decision I needed to make.
As part of the Lead Like Jesus organization (an international ministry that trains leaders, utilizing the leadership principles modeled by Jesus), Chris and I had the opportunity to sit under the teaching of some phenomenal leaders last week. It was during the relatively brief words of Margie Blanchard that I was most challenged.
As Margie made some remarks about the concept of kindness in relationships, she made a very thought-provoking observation. She said, “Couples who have been married a long time can usually remember a specific day when they decided to love the whole package of their spouse.” Wow. The statement stopped me in my tracks. I’d never really heard that idea put in such a concrete way.
Of course, you should love and encourage your spouse… but has there ever been a defining moment when you decided you were going to love the parts of your spouse that usually drive you crazy? Have you decided to minimize his or her weaknesses instead of getting irritated by them?
One of the reasons this stopped me is because as soon as she made the statement, I realized I was the recipient of that decision. At some point early in our marriage, Chris decided to overlook my long list of weaknesses and make me feel like I was the most amazing woman in the world. I don’t like to cook. I lose my keys weekly. I’m not the best housekeeper in the world. I can be too harsh. I could go on for days with this list. Yet Chris seems to be able to look at me as the person I long to be.
The beautiful thing is that we each have the opportunity to give that gift to someone else by a one-time decision that is reinforced by a daily choice. As I heard Margie speak, I was convicted that I’ve never been that definitive. I can still nag and get annoyed. Yet I could choose to look beyond the minor annoyances and focus on what really matters.
I know that receiving this kind of love has made me desire to become who Chris sees me to be. I also know that nagging and complaining only brings both of us down. So, what about you? Have you made the decision to love the whole package? Join me. 9393 days in, or 19,000 days in… it’s never too late.