You might think by the title of this message that showing your love to each other extravagantly would involve spending a lot of money on each other —that it would involve taking an expensive vacation or buying expensive gifts for each other. Although loving extravagantly COULD involve those things, we’re talking about something different.
What we’re talking about is showing your love to your spouse in lavish, yet simple ways. Being married is not about just functionally living together, but spending more of yourself in little ways, which expands and grows your relationship (as you once did) with him or her.
Too often when we marry we start to take each other for granted. We don’t even realize it’s happening because the whole process creeps in subtly. The problem is, we become so familiar with each other, day in and day out, that we gradually forget to do things for each other, which will KEEP the “spark” in our relationship. This can lead to marriage problems.
After a while, we start expecting things to be done, abandoning common courtesies. Eventually our partner can feel no more appreciated than a piece of functional furniture. Is that what you intended when you got married? And do you think this is what God intends for us, in the way we live out our commitment to “love, honor, and cherish?”
We want to make the point that “even if we have an unbending commitment to our mate, most of us are blind to how we lose our marriages by slow erosion if we don’t keep replenishing the soil in which we are planted” (William Doherty). We need to be aware of the importance of continuing to show our spouse that they’re appreciated no matter how long we’ve been married. (The reverse is true for many of you too, in how your spouse should lavish love on you… but we can’t MAKE our spouse do his or her part. However, we ARE responsible for ours.)
Finding ways to show love to our spouse extravagantly is important to the health of our marriages and is also Christ-like. In Ephesians 5:1 (in The Message), we’re told, “Observe how Christ loved us. His love is not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Are you showing your spouse love in this way?
That is our challenge to you. Think about it. What if you started dating your spouse again? How wonderful would it be to get the sparkle back in his or her eye (as well as yours) like before you married? Part of the reason that happened is because you put the effort and time into romancing each other.
Now is the time to do it again. You fell in love with each other by romancing this person —doesn’t it make sense that by making him or her a priority in your life again you could possibly re-spark the romance? THAT would be an example of loving each other extravagantly!
What about bringing back the days where you show common courtesies and politeness to each other? Just because you live together it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be polite, even for the little things —like you did before you married.
Are you courteous with strangers? Why should you be less so with the person you claim to love above every other human being —your spouse? How extravagant and yet sensible would that be? After-all, your spouse didn’t outgrow the need to be appreciated or want any less to be thought of as important in your eyes and priorities. Could you be forgetting that?
Hopefully this is a wake-up call for those of you that need it. Don’t let strangers treat your spouse with more courtesy and appreciation than you do. If you do —it might eventually lead to either a “dead” marriage or at best, a lethargic, tired one! And is that what God calls us to have? The answer is a certain “NO”!
You certainly don’t want to be accused of having a marriage lived out like it says in Philippians 2:21, “Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Our marriages should so reflect the love of God that when others see how we treat each other they may want to know our “secret” because they’ll want a marriage as healthy as ours. When you tell them that it’s because of the love of God, it very well may spur them on to want to know our God more. How much that would delight the heart of God!
So we challenge you to:
• Be intentional in showing your love for your spouse with spontaneous, random acts of romance! This may be difficult if you have children because they can take up a lot of energy and time. But ask the Lord to show you how and when you can do this. (That’s what we learned to do.) By being alert in looking for opportunities, it CAN happen. It’s amazing how it works that way. (Please know we have suggestions on our web site in the Children’s Effects on Marriage and Romantic Ideas topics, to help you in this mission.)
• Treat your spouse in respectful ways (as “unto the Lord”). It’s a mind-set as well as an action.
• Commit, “Random acts of kindness.” Look for ways to make your spouse feel special by doing things for that would be meaningful to him or her.
• Be a partner who displays thanks-LIVING everyday by saying and showing your appreciation to them for even the little things (things you think should be expected, and yet you aren’t taking them for granted). Instead of continually noticing their faults, look for some things they do right and praise them for it. That is extravagant love!
Again, “Observe how Christ loved us. His love is not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”
We pray this is a challenge, but also a blessing to your marriage. Look for ways to love each other extravagantly!
Cindy and Steve Wright