Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 4: Love is Thoughtful

How precious also are your thoughts to me...How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.---Psalm 139:17-18

Love thinks. When you first fell in love, being thoughtful came quite naturally. But for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man; the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing is done. Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, YOURSELF. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate.

If you don't learn to be thoughtful, you end up regretting missed opportunities to demonstrate love. Thoughtlessness is a silent enemy to a loving relationship.

Let's be honest! Men struggle with thoughtfulness more than women. A man can focus like a laser on one thing and forget about the rest of the world. A woman, on the other hand, is more multi-conscious, able to maintain an amazing awareness of many factors at once. Adding to this, a woman also thinks relationally. When she works on something, she is cognizant of all the people who are somehow connected to it.

Both of these tendencies are examples of how God designed women to complete their men. As God said at creation, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:28). But these differences also create opportunities for misunderstanding.

Men tend to think in headlines and say exactly what they mean. Not much is needed to understand the message. But women think and speak between the lines. They tend to hint. A man often has to listen for what is implied if he wants to get the full meaning. If a couple doesn't understand this about one another, the fallout can result in endless disagreements.

Love requires thoughtfulness---on both sides---the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks. A husband should listen to his wife and learn to be considerate of her unspoken messages. A wife should learn to communicate truthfully and not say one thing meaning another.

When is the last time you spent a few minutes thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse? What immediate need can you meet? What's the next event you could be preparing for? Great marriages come from great thinking.

Today's Dare
Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.
Philippians 1:3

***I am loving hearing from you all about you taking up the dare. Isn't if fun (but hard at times)? I have learned so much about myself in the last 3 days that I never realized before. Yesterday's dare we had to buy something for our spouse? What did you get? I gave Zach money to buy lunch. I know what you are thinking.....What? This is a battle that Zach and I go back and forth about. I think it is such a waste to buy lunch that cost $6 when we can buy 2 weeks worth of lunch for the same amount....that is a woman's mindset, I guess. Well yesterday, I gave him the money to buy lunch (something he truly loves doing). I wrote him a note telling him how much I appreciate his hard work. It felt good writing the words. Encouraging him is so fulfilling (as it should be). Patience is still hard...I think it will be always be a battle I face...but as long as I am aware of it...I can get better at it.

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