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To Love and Cherish
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A story from the Jewish Talmud pays a fine compliment to women:

An emperor said to Rabbi Gamaliel, “Your God is a thief, because it is written, ‘The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs.”’

The Rabbi’s daughter said to her father, “Leave him to me; I will answer him.” She then said to the emperor,  “Give me an officer to investigate a complaint.” “For what purpose?” he asked.

She replied, “Thieves broke into our house during the night and stole a silver ewer belonging to us, but left a gold one behind.”

“Would that such a thief visited me every day,” he exclaimed.

“Was it not, then a splendid thing for the first man when a single rib was taken from him and a woman to attend upon him was supplied in its stead?” she retorted.1

How true. And how different our marriages would be if we treated our spouses as God’s special gift to us. As careful as we are with gifts that special people give us for Christmas, or for our birthday, how much more careful should we be with the special gift God gives us in our spouses.

There’s another reason for loving our spouses. The Apostle Paul wrote, “A man must love his wife as he loves himself” (Ephesians 5:33). During the wedding ceremony a miraculous thing happens as God unites the two into one. It’s as if that rib God took from Adam’s side was not officially his to take care of. Because our spouses are now part of us, we will want the same good things—physically, spiritually and emotionally—that we want for ourselves.

I recall a man telling me that he had just told his wife, “I told you I loved you 40 years ago when I married you; if I change my mind, I’ll let you know.” While he said this tongue-in-cheek, I’m afraid many feel that an occasional expression of affection is sufficient to keep the flame of love bright and strong. Not so. We must fuel our relationships daily so they may shine brightly.

Some suggestions:

1. Daily Compliments. Express verbally how special your spouse is, what they do for you and the family—serving a good meal, looking nice, working hard, etc.

2. Listen Attentively. Initiate conversation on a deeper level, and share feelings with each other while listening as well.

3. Encourage Time Alone. Let your spouse have time for himself or herself and for the Lord.

4. Make Time to Be Together. Someone suggested this simple formula as a minimum for undivided time together: 30 minutes each evening, one whole evening per week, one whole day per month, and one whole weekend each quarter.

5. Help Around the House. Work around the house should be shared, even if one spouse does not work outside the home, so that both can enjoy time together at the end of each day.

6. Be Quick to Forgive. Express unconditional love and respect.

Valentine’s Day is not the only day of the year to show love for our spouses. Every day is an opportunity to show them you consider them God’s golden gift to you.

For more ideas on how to show your spouse you love them, you may visit our Web site at www.loveforalifetime.info and click on the “From Our Pen” link.

1 A. Cohen, Everman’s Talmud, p.160.

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By Claudio Consuegra. Reprinted with permission from Mid-America Outlook Magazine, Vol. 28, #2, with permission from the Mid-America Union. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © copyright 1996.

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