by Cindi McMenamin
I’ll never forget the day I was cleaning through my top dresser drawer and found a treasure.
I almost threw out the stack of aged, yellowed papers, weathered by time and slightly torn on the edges. When I unfolded the papers and read through them, I instantly realized why I’d kept them all those years. They were love letters from my husband that included phrases like “I love you beyond expression.” “You complete me like no other.” And “I love you desperately.”
As I read through them, my eyes teared up. And then my heart dropped.
I haven’t had a letter like this from him in years.
All of the letters dated back to the first few years that we were married. Nearly 30 years ago! And they all described the captivating woman he saw me as – the woman I had hoped in my heart of hearts that I still was in his eyes.
How I would have loved to believe that I hadn’t changed a bit through the years. How easy it would have been to believe that he was the one who had become distant, more critical, less interested, and less passionate than he was the day we married. It was a little tougher to put that magnifying glass up to myself and ask if I was the one who let resentments build up or baggage get in the way.
That night, I lie awake next to my husband, who was sleeping in sweet oblivion, and wondered how to turn back the clock and make him see me the way he once did – as the captivating woman he fell in love with. Before busy schedules, distracted days, careless words and mounting baggage. Then I realized there was only one way to recapture his heart: be the woman I was and do the things I did when he first fell in love with me.
The apostle John recorded a vision of Christ saying to a first-century church, “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4-5 NIV).
While that can be applied to our tendency to grow complacent in our relationship with God, it can be applied to our marriages as well. God is not the only One who recognizes when our enthusiasm for Him has waned. Our husbands recognize when our enthusiasm for them has waned too. They once received our admiration, our smiles from across the room, our focused attention, our constant giggles, our full vigor. Then life happened. Kids came. Work called. We gained a few pounds and a million distractions. And before we knew it, complacency set in.
The next morning I asked God to help me look to Him first as my spiritual husband and then begin responding to my earthly husband the way I did when we were first married. As I began looking to God as my first love, it wasn’t difficult to begin cherishing once again all that God has given me – including my husband.
Lord, don’t let me forget my first love – YOU and the man you have given me to share life with. As I look to You daily to fill my heart and meet my needs, give me an extra amount of love and tenderness for my husband so I treat him the way I want to be treated. Forgive me for the days I put my needs, my hurts, my convenience, and my schedule ahead of him. Help me to love him as faithfully as You have loved me.
About the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 16 books who has been married 30 years to a pastor and introvert. Her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, released Feb. 1 from Harvest House Publishers. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
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Join the conversation: What are the things that made you fall in love at the start of your relationship?