I once read of a woman who wanted to end her marriage, but she really desired to hurt her husband in the process; to make him pay for her misery. She visited an attorney who gave her this advice: “If you really want to hurt your husband, go home and live with him for 30 more days before you announce your plan to divorce.”
“During that time, compliment him every day. Tell him he’s handsome and smart, strong and talented. Touch his hand, look into his eyes, and stroke his hair. Make him believe you are madly in love with him. At the end of the 30 days, tell him you want a divorce. That will hurt him more than anything else!”
The woman did as she was told. She went home and lavished love on her husband, complimenting and serving him every chance she could. The month came and went, but the attorney never heard from her.
One day the woman and the attorney met unexpectedly. The lawyer asked if she was now ready to end her marriage. Shocked, she replied, “No! He’s the love of my life!”
Intentional love changes hearts; changes feelings; changes people; changes marriages; changes lives. Grace. Is this not the love of Christ?
Late one evening, my husband and I sat on our front porch, tiki torches lit, and light, sweet words on our tongues. We sat chatting as lovers do, smiles broad and laugh lines deep. Somehow, some way, a word wasn’t fitly spoken, a phrase stung, and the easy flow of conversation gave way to murky misunderstandings and frustrated feelings. Frowns creased, breath shortened, words were curt, and soon, silence hung heavy.
He reached for my hand.
“You know what I think we should do? I think we should spend the rest of the night saying why we love each other.”
I looked at him, waiting in self-centered silence for him to begin.
“I love you because you love to try new things. I love you because you’re beautiful. I love you because you’re passionately in love with God.”
Convicted and humbled, I answered: “I love you because you’re trying. I love you because you make me laugh. I love you because you moved in with your mother-in-law. I love you because you’re honorable.”
“I love you because you’re a good Mama. I love you because you play with the dog even when she drives you batty. I love you because you love books.”
“I love you because you’ve never even considered that changing diapers and giving baths wasn’t ‘your job’. I love you because there’s nothing that ever sways your dedication to those you love.”
“I love you…always.”
I looked over and smiled.
“Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious.” Ecclesiastes 10:12
Isn’t this the way to keep a marriage?
Intentional love, intentional grace, always.
I. Love. You. Always.