Friday, February 10, 2006

The Duet

Valentine's Day is coming up and, as usual, we are being bombarded with ads and commercials designed to sell us things that are supposed to show our love for our spouse. Some ads are cute in their presentation (e.g. the Vermont teddy bear one) while others are geared more towards thrills and excitement (e.g. the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"). Still, others contain more subtle, sexual messages (the K-Y lubricant one). And then there are the ones that share the not so subtle sexual messages like the commercial where a couple at dinner with friends are describing their Las Vegas trip with sexual innuendo (e.g. "he had his fill of the loin").

Ah...such ads run the gamut and mostly focus on just the physical aspects of love (or perhaps just lust?). My husband and I were laughing at the K-Y gel one last night.

I often wonder, where is the romance? The flower commercials contain a bit of it but it often appears to me that there is far too little focus on, or evidence of romance these days.

This morning, my heart was stirred and warmed by a devotional that I regularly receive via email. This particular one is called The Duet.

I saw some parallels between what was written and the life that my husband and I share together. This part was especially significant to me:

"As Valentines’ Day approaches I am thankful for the opportunity to watch this scarlet cardinal and his lady love – and for the visual reminder of what a Godly marriage is to look, and sound, like."

I am so grateful that we have a marriage that has been sustained not only through the love we have for each other, but also the love we share in Jesus Christ.

We were married in a church, but I must admit that Jesus wasn't the cornerstone in our marriage in the very beginning. However, when both of us were born again in Jesus Christ, our love, devotion and commitment grew exponentially and became rock solid.

I am reminded of the sacrifice that my husband makes each and every day of his life as he goes to work to provide for our family. Yep. We have that unheard of traditional type of marriage where the wife stays at home and is the nurturer for all; while the husband is the sole provider. We made that decision when our son was born back in 1984. My daughter was born in 1987 and we thank God that He has provided my husband with a career that allows us the opportunity to raise our children in a warm, safe, loving and godly home. I sincerely believe that it has made all the difference in the world in how they have turned out as adults.

My husband, in turn, realizes the sacrifices that I have made to make myself available to our children. He has often complimented me on how our kids turned out. We both know that the loving hand of Jesus has been in it all along. We are so grateful for his continued love and protection over our lives! Every one of us tell each other "love you" before leaving the house or ending a phone call. I pray daily for safety, security, care and love over my family. I believe that His grace should never be taken for granted.

This morning, as I held our new puppy in my arms just like I used to carry my babies, my husband took note of how much work a puppy can be! His appreciation for my work is certainly gratifying. I, in turn, make sure that I thank him regularly for all that he does and provides for our family. I don't think that I should ever take his sacrifices and commitment to our family for granted.

The devotional describes the birds and their behavior:

"As I watch them at the bird feeder, dining together on sunflower seeds, they take turns offering each other seeds. Their dark beaks touch briefly, as if in a kiss, as they pass nourishment and sustenance from one to another. They are each selfless, fully connected and committed to one another."

Remember when you were first in love and it was a common practice to feed each other those sweet, yummy, chocolate strawberries on Valentines Day?

I love the fact that my husband kisses me goodbye every morning. Back before the puppy arrived, he would kiss me goodbye while I was sleeping. Sometimes I would awaken. Sometimes I would just stir a bit knowing that he had just kissed me. This small token of love and affection means so much to me. Now that I am usually awake before him in order to tend to the puppy, we have a loving embrace in the kitchen; with a wild and crazy puppy struggling for attention between our chests!

Being fully connected and committed to someone is one of the greatest rewards of marriage. Oftentimes I get so weepy when I think of how much the Lord has blessed me with this wonderful, godly man!

Yes. We have gone through many ups and downs over the past 22 years, but most of the downs became far less when I, my husband and our children became born again in Christ.

Of course life is never perfect. But the Lord has been so good to our family! He sustains us all through the good, the bad and the ugly. We each hold onto the good. This is our journey of sanctification through Christ. It can be an awesome challenge, yet worth the effort for the rewarding experiences that come through commitment to each other; but most of all commitment to the Lord.


Susan Smith said...

What a beautiful tribute to your husband on Valentine's Day weekend, Christine! Valentine's Day was my worst holiday of the year when I was in the homosexual lifestyle for more than 20 years. At that time, I never understood how men and women could experience "romance" together.

God has never given me the desire to have a husband and I believe He calls some to live a life of celibacy. It was a turning point in my deliverance from the identity of being a lesbian when my mentor (a woman old enough to be my mother) accepted me just as I was. She never tried to play "cupid" and she never tried to make me wear make-up or dresses. She loved me unconditionally... just for who I was. I do not wear make-up or dresses today and it was "straight" mostly married women who helped me accept my identity as a woman.

You said, "We have that unheard of traditional type of marriage where the wife stays at home and is the nurturer for all..." You indeed nuture others and I have learned over the years... it is OK to be nutured by other women in healthy and Godly relationships. You may not realize it, but you have nutured me as another woman in my life. Thank you. We never know or realize exactly how God is using us in His kingdom...

God bless you, my dear friend on the West Coast. I am privileged to call you my sister in Christ. With much love and Shabbat Shalom from the Holy City. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Thanks so much, Susan. I used to think that I just "got lucky" when I met my husband. Now I realize that the Lord blessed me and answered my prayers when he came into my life!

I am so sorry to hear that Valentine's Day was a terrible holiday for you in the past. That must have been difficult to deal with. But the Lord brought you out and carried you through!

In some ways, such a holiday can be way too hyped up as to cause people who are not in a relationship to feel left out.

This type of thing can happen during mother's day, too. My former pastor was always gracious on that day because he took the opportunity to celebrate ALL women. I thought that was lovely.

The more you share about your mentor, the more impressed I have become with her!

Wow... Her unconditional love for you is very evident. She didn't try to change you because she knew all along that it is Jesus' work through the Holy Spirit which ultimately changes our hearts towards Him and makes us whole.

I am so humbly honored that you would ever regard me as a nurturer in your life. As a (slightly) older ;-) sister in Christ, you have certainly helped me tremendously in my walk with the Lord! Your mentoring words and posts to me have gently awakened me in those times where I have been in error. And, you are willing to celebrate in those rare times when I "get it right."

I praise God for you my dear friend! He certainly is using you in my life!

It's funny. The older I get the less makeup I wear. And, I only wear dresses to my husband's business social occasions! (heh heh) I usually live in jeans, tank tops and cotton shirts. Love to be comfy!

Have a blessed day in the Holy Land...which one day I would love to see!

Love in Him,

Anna said...

Dear Christine -

I too am blessed to have a wonderful husband. He's warm, loving, romantic and supportive.

We're thankful for the many Christian ministries and books, the Godly example of other believers and most of all for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the One we both recognize as Lord of our lives.