Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. [Ecclesiastes 9:9 (MSG)]

mourning dovesYesterday, while spending a couple of hours polishing silver, I remembered a pastor friend remarking that the relationship we have with our spouses is probably the one thing in our lives about which we truly care but which we regularly neglect. We polish the silver, clean the house, weed the garden, wash the car, remodel the kitchen, and mend the clothes. If we value our health, we take vitamins, watch our diet and exercise. If we care about our job, we work extra hours or take classes to improve our skills. If we cherish our friends, we call them, meet them for lunch, and answer their calls when they request our help. If our children’s education is important to us, we volunteer at school, help them with homework, drill them on their spelling, shuffle them to activities or arrange tutoring. If we are concerned about our community, we vote, attend meetings, volunteer or even run for office. If church is important, we tithe, regularly worship, attend Bible study and serve on committees. Although we usually work at all the things that we hold precious, we tend to take our loved ones for granted.

Marriage is our second most important relationship and yet it’s often neglected. Unless we’re experiencing serious marital difficulties, most of us do little to consciously improve it. In fact, we probably spend more time perusing the various catalogues and magazines that fill our mailboxes, watching our favorite television programs, or browsing the internet than we do on consciously bettering our marriages. Just because we’re secure in a relationship doesn’t mean we can’t put a little shine on it.

Today is Valentine’s Day: a day we traditionally celebrate romance and love. Dinners by candlelight and date nights aren’t just for newlyweds or special holidays—even a marriage of a half century or more can use a little tweaking now and then! While God should be our first priority, our spouse needs to be our second one and not just for today—our significant other should be of significance every day!

Remember that children, marriages and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. [H. Jackson Brown, Jr.]

There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage. If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike…and the biggest of those values? Your belief in the importance of marriage. [Morrie Schwartz as quoted by Mitch Albom in “Tuesdays with Morrie”]

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. [1 Peter 3:8-9 (MSG)]

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