One of the things I like to do in my spare time is to have conversations with myself in my head. Most of the time they are like" where did I put my car keys?" or "how did they get the caramel into those little chocolate pieces?"
Recently though, I thought to myself "if I had to give advice to a new husband, what would I say?" after much thought I sorta came up with this:
The most important thing you need to learn as a husband is how to say, " I love you". One of the most important things you can do, is to say it to your wife...every day.
Sometimes as guys we tend to have a bit of a hard time using this word and it is no surprise because it is one of the most used and abused words in the english language! We tend to think that if we are not feeling in the right mood then it is not appropriate to say because we feel like we are saying something that we don't mean.
The reality is, in general, society tends to give us a screwed up impression of what this word is supposed to mean. You can love your boat, you can love your car, but to love your wife somehow makes you less of a man......IF you choose to believe what the commercials say. The truth is it takes a real man to show love for his wife. And loving your wife, will make you more of a man.
In his book, Love and Responsibility, John Paul II (actually when he wrote it, he was still known as Karol Wojtyla) illustrates in a very lengthy and logical way that the opposite of love is apathy...not hate as many would assume (hate is actually the absence of love, but the absence of a thing is not its opposite because in order to be an opposite of a thing, one must also be a thing...ok brain starting to hurt....just look it up. WARNING, NOT BEDTIME READING!)
In other words, using someone is the opposite of loving them. What gets me is that it seems that it has become more and more acceptable to treat people as objects instead of fellow human beings. Case in point, I remember when "hooking up" just meant meeting someone for coffee....these days you have to be careful who you say that to.
If we take a more scriptural approach, then love is something very different. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Cor 13:4-8a ESV)
As husbands when we look at our wives who do we see? As a christian, the first thing I keep in mind is that she is created in the image and likeness of God (see Gen 1:27)
St Theresa of Avila (a sixteenth century mystic) once wrote:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world.
As husbands we have the responsibility of being God's voice towards our wives....which means that when we say to our wives, "I love you" it is not only our voice that is speaking, it is also God's. The love of God never ends, and He wants our wives to know that. And He wants to tell them every day. Which is why we need to tell them every day.
And that's what I would tell a new husband....and maybe a few older ones too.