Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"What Does He Do For You?"

I've had people ask me that. With smiles, good intentions, and an inquisitive look.

"What does Kenneth do for you?" It's usually with a smile that's asking for a love story. A smile that says, "Tell me how he makes you feel so that I can be satisfied that he's good to you."

Even Kenneth has asked me that in the past. "Baby... what do I do for you? What do I do that makes you happy, makes you laugh, makes you feel loved... What do I DO for you?" He looks as me longing to know that his efforts as a husband have amounted to something, have been recorded as good, and will be remembered. He wants to know that there's tangible evidence of him being a good husband. And that I know that, feel that and believe that inside my heart.

The problem is, I've never liked that question.

I just didn't know why until recently. It was always difficult for me to answer. Not because there aren't a million things that Kenneth does to make me feel loved... but because none of them can describe him--or the way I feel about him--well enough. It's like cramming a thousand rainbows into a match box. I would resort to pat answers, such as "He makes me laugh... or he makes me bubble baths." All of which are ridiculous answers, and out of my disgust for a bad representation, I would change the subject.

But worse than that, it insinuates that his value is justified by his performance. As if what he does for me establishes his value and worth as a man and husband. Somewhere deep down inside all of us, that resonates. And that is what's so dangerous. Because our performance, our works, our efforts, our deeds, our endeavors, etc as a spouse do NOT dictate our value in the marriage. The moment we believe that, then we begin to build our expectations on top of that foundation. "Well, he as a man is supposed to do this for me... she as a wife is supposed to do this...doesn't she know that?? ... etc." There is no scoreboard in the living room. There is no tally card in the kitchen. If there was, then not only would our spouses look at us with contempt, but we ourselves would feel like failures all the time. Because we didn't perform well enough.

What if we actually recognized that our individual worth is only comprised of the God-ness inside us? It's not about what I do for Kenneth that makes me a valuable wife. I am not bound by my performance! My husband is not a performer in my marriage... he is a gift from God. And God gave me that gift so He could teach me through Kenneth. How 'bout that for a revelation. God will use your spouse to teach you...and I'm not talking about all the fun stuff either. I'm talkin' about the stuff you really want to be right about...and the stuff that irritates you and grates you and frustrates you. Yep, that's the stuff. When you're there, just say, "My spouse is a gift from God to me. He is not my enemy. His value is not determined by his performance. He is a gift from God." It will give you amazing freedom and make loving him so much more fantastic than it already is.

"God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises...leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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