When we suddenly lose someone close to us, we are reminded anew that we need to embrace the moment we still have with those we love. Last year we lost a dear friend at our church. He was just 36 and a father of twin girls aged seven. He was a good man, a godly man, and an encourager to us in our ministry at Build Your Marriage.
In the following 24 hours after hearing the news, we noticed that we were hugging each other more, giving increased affirmation, and checking in on each other just a little more often than normal. The Psalmist wrote, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Ps. 139:16) None of us knows how long we—or our spouse–has to live. While we should never live in fear or dread, we can live with a greater appreciation of the time and opportunity presented to us now.
We can embrace each moment we have together by remembering these three simple actions:
To embrace the moment, we have to see the moment. Life can hurtle past us at warp speed: careers, kids to tend to and raise, chores to get done, bills to pay, Facebook to keep up with, and building blocks to read :-). By the end of the day we’ve been so focused on what we needed to get done that we’ve barely noticed what our spouse has been busy doing.
For the next 48 hours, make a conscious effort to notice your spouse. Watch what they do. Are they tired, harried, frustrated, lonely, happy, chipper, joy-filled? How can you join them in their joy? Encourage them in their exhaustion? Bring peace to your partner?
Look deeply into your spouse’s eyes. What do you see? How can you enter their world and let them know that they are loved and you embrace them as they are?
The Bible says the very hairs of you head are numbered—that’s the kind of attention God gives to you! So maybe you can breathe a simple prayer saying, “God help me be attentive to my spouse through Your eyes.”
Knowing how fragile life is, make the conscious choice to actually listen and hear what your spouse is saying. Give them your undivided attention. No emailing, texting, Facebook, Twitter, or Sports Center. (We do, however, make an exception for the Super Bowl!)
As you listen, embrace the opportunity to hear their heart. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Show active interest in what is being communicated to you.
If the conversation is over an area of conflict, then follow the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi who said, “Lord! Grant that I may seek more to understand than to be understood.” Embracing your spouse’s tension-points will not only ease their frustration, but it will enable you to respond wisely to the core issue at hand.
You have been given the gift of being able to listen to your spouse—embrace the moment of hearing their voice and their heart. You can read more about listening in an earlier post of ours here.
When we heard of our friend’s death yesterday our conversation eventually went to regrets. We talked about how we could have been even better friends. When it comes to your marriage, regret is not something you want to live with–and you don’t have to!
Embrace your spouse by showering them with love. Follow through on promptings. You may be prompted to write them a note, give a hug, or offer a back or foot rub. Tell them you want to go out on a date this weekend—dinner, a walk, even a drive so you can just be together. Maybe your date is a candlelight picnic in the living room after the children are asleep!
Isn’t it true that often we know what to do, but we put it off until “later?” What we were reminded of yesterday is that “later” may not come—so do it now!
Make the decision to embrace the moment with your spouse now as you Build Your Marriage!