This week we are focusing on what we can do to cherish our spouse. My husband is so easy to cherish. One of the activities this week was to practice over-looking the things that usually bother you and to focus instead on cultivating an attitude of admiration in your heart for your spouse. I have to say that it is so easy for me to admire my husband; I hope you don't mind me saying. I think we were to do this to that our hearts can be more aware and softened, especially if we are struggling with negative thoughts, to the many wonderful things our spouses do for us and our family. Just to give you a few of my examples: I am always amazed at how much my husband sacrifices. He gives by going to work and being his best their. He gives by going to work a little early to be home a little early so that I can have support during those "witching" hours of the day. I know he says he loves to make dinner, but that is such a chore for me that I am always so thankful he gives to us in that way. He takes care of our home. He makes time to be with us. I could go on and on ... and on and on.
You know what is interesting? Just writing out all these thoughts about him gives me a warm feeling of love and gratitude in my heart. It really works. Cherishing your spouse makes your love grow stronger.
I referenced one of the books we are reading for this class last week, and this week I would like to add the other amazing book, “Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage,” by H. Wallace Goddard. In chapter two—the chapter we read for this week on obedience and sacrifice—Goddard first tells us that life if full of afflictions and tensions. He says, “In every relationship there is an inevitable tension. It is often worse in marriage than other relationships, in part because we share so much.” The chances to be bothered or offended are always before us, so what can we do to not let those irritations destroy us and our relationships?
Goddard shares that we can learn a great deal from our first parents, Adam and Eve. They experienced many hardships and trials. Goddard teaches, “The curse was and is a blessing. Through our labors and struggles, we will learn to know good from evil. We will suffer the bitter taste of evil … [and] learn to enjoy the sweet fruits of goodness. We can learn to choose and cherish the good.”
Adam and Eve were able to do all this because they turned their hearts first to God, calling on Him for help and guidance. Through inspiration from God, and His power, they were able to live out their lives and put off the natural man and become sanctified. We too can turn to God and pray for help in putting off the natural man (or our inner natural spouse) and be able to love and cherish our spouse. Goddard tells us we have to pay “Heaven’s Price” if we want to have a “close, loving marriage.” We do this through sacrifice. We sacrifice our own wants and desires, and do God’s will in becoming selfless. “The better we get,” Goddard says, “the more we will use our strength to bless.” In a sense, we don’t give and sacrifice ourselves where there becomes no “me;” instead you use all your talents and abilities to bless and cherish your spouse.
Christ is our example, he sacrificed his all for us, and through this sacrifice we are all made alive. In Ephesians 5:25-28, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” I would say it goes the other way as well, "She that loveth her husband loveth herself."
As we take Christ’s example we will have the beautiful marriage we hope for, because where there is pure love and sacrifice hearts are filled is more love and happiness. Our perspective will focus on the good instead of the bad. Our hearts will be filled with gratitude toward God and our wonderful spouse. We will be able to say as Eve said, “Were it not for our [trials, we] never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11)