The Best Valentine's Gift Ever
“Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave,” Martin Luther wrote.
Valentine’s Day always seems to sneak up on me. It seems like I just make it through the craziness that can be Christmas and New Years, get the kids back in school, host our annual Super Bowl party, and suddenly … it’s Valentine’s Day!
My word for this new year is “earnest” — I’ve purposed in my heart to do things in earnest this year — with seriousness, sincerity, purpose, meaning and enthusiasm, from pursuing God to pursuing friendships to pursuing my marriage.
So right now, I’m thinking about what meaningful, purposeful, earnest gift I can give my husband for Valentine’s Day. Cutout hearts and chocolate candy just won’t do it.
In order for my gift to truly be a gift, it needs to be something he wants, values, desires, or appreciates. Something that speaks his love language.
“Lord, I need some ideas for a gift for Chris. What should I do?”
As I sit down for my morning devotional, the Lord brings to mind something He’s been trying to teach me over the last few months. He speaks to me and reveals the gift my husband needs from me this year — in earnest. He shows me the gift I could give him that would truly make my husband glad to come home and make me sorry to see him go.
God took me to Philippians 4:8-9:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me — everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
I love this verse; it is very familiar to me. I ponder it and try to look at it from a new perspective.
As I continue to read in my devotional book, a concept jumps out at me:
Your focus determines your reality, each day is a decision, and each decision is a destiny.
When something jumps out at me during my time with the Lord, I’ve learned to stop and pay attention to it.
Twice now, in one morning, the Lord said something about my thoughts. In the Philippians passage he told me to “Fix my thoughts on things that are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Then the devotional author said it is focus that determines reality.
Each day is a decision, and each decision is a destiny.
God begins to reveal to me my need to apply Paul’s instruction to “fix my thoughts” on things that are good and worthy of praise about my husband. And then to practice all that I’ve learned from this passage in my marriage.
So, I decide to make a list of all the things that are true, good and praiseworthy about my husband. I quickly come up with a list about a page and half long.
By the time I finish my list, I find myself smiling and feeling very grateful for my husband. Genuine feelings of deep appreciation for who he is and what he does begin to permeate my heart.
Too often I am prone to note just the negative things about my husband and blow right by the positive things. He left his shoes in the middle of the floor. He left the cabinet door opened… again. He ate all the chips and put the bag back in the pantry. Grrr.
And as I dwell more and more on the bad, it begins to influence my attitude and my actions toward him. I become snippier, snarkier and more short tempered with him. I react to little things as though they were big-ticket items. And as I respond to him with negativity, he is hurt and annoyed. The spiral of negativity continues to take us further down in our household. And although it may be quiet in our home, there is no real Peace.
I go back and read the list of good and pure qualities that my husband possesses. These are the things I need to focus on, think about, rehearse and remind myself of about my husband on a regular basis. These are his qualities that I should fix my thoughts upon.
And when I do, reality changes. I halt those negative thoughts about my husband by taking them captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), and I purposefully recall his good traits, the things I love about him. By doing this, I allow God to transform the way I think and renew my mind (Rom. 12:2). I experience His Peace. And when I am at peace, I’m a happy woman. I’m a sweet woman. I’m a hopeful woman.
And I find that I’m a much more fun, loving, forgiving, appreciative wife! What an incredible gift to give my husband!
As I change my focus from the negative to the positive — my attitude, my behavior toward him changes. This new reality doesn’t depend so much on him changing as it does me.
So here’s what God taught me:
- Read and apply God’s Word.
- Focus on the positive.
- Transformed reality.
- New destiny in my heart, my marriage, my family, my life.
Each day I make a conscious decision whether or not to fix my thoughts on my husband’s good qualities. And each decision leads to a reality, a destiny for me and for him; a potential precious gift that I give to my spouse.
Which will I choose?
Which will you choose?
Hopefully, the best Valentine’s gift ever.
“Father, help me cooperate with the work of your Spirit in transforming and renewing my mind daily. Help me choose to focus on the good things about my spouse and be more gracious and forgiving of the negative things. Give me thoughts that breathe life into me, into my beloved and into our relationship; thoughts of him that are true, honorable and right, and pure, and lovely, and worthy of praise. Help me to be the wife that makes him glad to come home. Amen.”
Alisa Grace ('92) serves as the co-director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships where she also co-teaches a class called "Christian Perspectives on Marriage and Relationships." While she speaks and blogs regularly on topics such as dating relationships, marriage, and love, she also loves mentoring younger women and newly married couples, speaking at retreats and providing premarital counseling. Alisa and her husband, Chris, have been married over 30 years and have three wonderful children: Drew and his wife Julia, Natalie and her husband Neil, and their youngest blessing, Caroline.