“Are you a giver or a taker in your marriage? If we’re really honest, we’d say both!” That’s a question posed by David and Claudia Arp in a Marriage Alive Newsletter they wrote on what it means to be a “giver” in marriage. It’s also implied in another article (from their book, Marriage Moments, published by Heritage Builders Publications). In it they give practical suggestions on 3 gifts we can (and should) give our spouse regularly. Giving gifts can show them a special type of love.
Let’s examine what the Arp’s have to say, and be willing to take an honest look at ourselves. As God reveals something we need to do or change —let’s be resolved to do it! Here’s what they write:
Stop and think about what you can give to your marriage today. As one anonymous person said:
The more you give, the more you get.
The more you love, the less you fret.
Plus, the more you do unselfishly, the more you live abundantly.
The more of everything you share, the more you’ll always have to spare.
The more you love, the more you’ll find that life is good and friends are kind.
For only what we give away, enriches us from day to day.
Stop for a minute and reflect on what you can give to your marriage today. Enrich your marriage. Be a giver instead of a taker.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Here is another Marriage Moment, written by the Arps, which can help you:
Give Your Marriage Three Gifts
Do you ever find yourself in situations when you cannot agree, even though you love God and each other? In a growing, alive marriage, conflict and disagreements are just part of the picture.
Show us a marriage where spouses never disagree, and we’ll show you a marriage that is stagnating! But too many marriages fall apart when partners lack skills to deal with the anger and conflict that every close relationship must face.
Our advice is to follow Paul’s advice in Ephesians 5:1 to live a life of love. Christ is our model. If we have his attitude of self-sacrifice in our marriage, dealing with disagreement will be easier.
If you’re facing a situation and don’t know where to start to resolve it, here’s our tip: consider three gifts you can give to your marriage. One of them may be just right for the present situation:
1. The gift of love:
“Let’s do it your way.” When an issue is more important to your spouse than to you, simply give a gift of love by saying, “This time, let’s do it your way.” A caution: A gift of love is a great gift which works [best] over the long haul if, at other times, the other spouse also gives love gifts.
2. The gift of individuality:
“We’ll do it differently.” That’s when we realize we don’t have to agree on everything. It’s fine sometimes just to agree to disagree and maintain our separate perspectives about an issue. Maybe you like different styles or have different food preferences.
3. The gift of compromise:
“We’ll meet in the middle.” The third gift is when we both give a little to find some middle ground [where we both feel we gained something].
Now let’s get practical:
- Can you remember a time recently when you gave your partner a gift of love? Maybe you got up in the middle of the night to comfort a crying child or volunteered to return the phone messages. If you can’t remember a recent gift of love, think of one you could give to your mate today.
- When was the last time you resolved a difference by each giving a gift of individuality? Maybe you voted differently in the last election and chose not to make it an issue.
- Have you recently given each other the gift of compromise? Maybe you’re the saver and your spouse is a spender, but on a recent purchase decision, you met in the middle.
Now look to the future. The next time you face conflict, remember our three gifts. Like us, you may discover that when you’re committed to your marriage and you’re willing to give love gifts of cooperation and compromise, your marriage will get better.
Giving Gifts in Marriage
In closing we’d like to challenge you with something written by a couple (the names are unknown) who entered a contest, winning it with this description of what made their marriage a success:
“We gave when we wanted to receive;
We served when we wanted to feast.
Yes, we shared when we wanted to keep;
And we listened when we wanted to talk.
We submitted when we wanted to reign;
We forgave when we wanted to remember;
And we stayed when we wanted to leave.”
What better gift could you give your spouse, your marriage, and the Lord if you lived out these principles in your marital relationship? Think and pray about it —seriously!
Steve and Cindy Wright
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Marriage Messages