February? Really? I looked at the calendar in shock. Its already February the 1st?? It seems we are all so busy that time gets away from us. With February comes Valentine’s Day. It is the day we are all scrambling around to get the perfect gift. As we prepare to buy chocolates, flowers, sappy cards, and the like, I wanted to take a moment to remind us of the importance of what we are celebrating: love, and not just love, but the love God has given us in our spouses. I am going to be real with everyone. Unless you know me well you won’t know this, but I am a hopeless romantic. I love… love. I love the sappy cards. I love the romantic movies. I love the whole idea of romance. In the spirit of love and romance, let us spend a few minutes just looking at keeping the romance alive in our marriages, especially on the mission field.
First, let us make sure we know what our spouses need. What are they looking for from you? I am sure many of us have read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This is a great tool for us to gauge what our spouse needs from us. Do they need a hug? Do they need a gift? Do they need those ever so important affirming words, “I’m so proud of you”? Do they need one-on-one time with no else (including the smartphone) around? What about doing that little service project that means the world to them? One of the most loving, romantic things we can do is meet that little thing they look for from us. It definitely communicates love when you speak their “love language”. Ask yourself what you can do to speak their language of love.
Second, we should ask ourselves, “What did we do to catch their eye?” I know that for most of us it has been some time. In my case it has been over 25 years. How long has it been for you? I’m not talking about being something you aren’t any longer, but what is the abiding quality? My wife Sheila loved the way I entertained our group of friends, whether it was through joking, over the top laughter or storytelling. Find that thing and spend a bit of time being that for just a moment in time. We see times in the Old Testament that they built an altar of remembrance so they would not forget important “God happenings”. This is exactly what we should do in our love walk with our spouses. Don’t just build the altar, but visit it every so often to remember to celebrate the “God happening” of your spouse joining your life walk.
Finally, we should never wait for a special day for us to keep romance in the forefront of our relationship with our spouse. Don’t wait for a day in February to tell your wife you love her or to make your husband’s favorite meal. Don’t wait for your anniversary. Remember your love walk is every day. Surprise your mate on an ongoing basis with a celebration of love. Give gifts, hugs, compliments, service, and undivided time often. Do these things without reason or warning. Keeping the romance alive in your love walk will have lasting benefits in your marriage, ministry, and in your children.
Now, go find a way to love each other!
Rev. Chris Conley (with beautiful wife Sheila)
Director, Short-Term Missions
Click HERE for the Five Love Languages test online. What is your love language? Your spouses? Your children's? It's easy to find out and free.