As you get older, you begin to understand that giving someone a great gift is almost better than receiving a great gift. And as you get older still, you realize it IS better. There is nothing quite like pleasing another person. Especially when the receivers are children and their eyes light up and their innocent, kneejerk reaction is just pure joy. You can’t help but smile and laugh and feel warm and fuzzy.
But as you grow up, you also start to realize the limits of gifts. My love language is NOT gift giving. I much prefer spending time with someone and I often try to give gifts that reflect that through tickets to an event or taking someone out to a meal.
I’m grateful that Rob and I are both more time and word oriented than gift oriented. We’ve both been in relationships where it was more about gift giving and doing things for the other person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can get tiring to someone who feels more affection just by being together and talking and cuddling on the couch watching a movie. When Rob and I were dating, I realized that I was so much happier with him drawing something on a blank note card and telling me how much he thought of me and prayed for me while doing it than if he had bought me any expensive gift.
What happens with the years is the gifts go wasted. Or they get older and don’t work as well. They fall apart, they become unuseful, they get replaced. We see each other as a tired old gift, a used up, broken toy thrown in a box and wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. We let bitterness and discontent grow from our sins against each other and our unrepentant hearts. We lose sight of what was once our joy and glee. Glee is such a funny word. We stop “gleeing” over each other, losing the newness. We stop giving gifts of ourselves. We stop being the companion our spouse needs. We stop offering ourselves, sacrificially and without holding any good thing back. And we stop giving our gifts, ourselves and our spouses, back to God, the ultimate Giver of Gifts, to mend and repair, to restore and renew us year after year, daily, hourly.
The longer we are married, my prayer is we will continue to give each other good gifts, not the kind you can wrap up with a pretty bow, but the lasting kind. The kind that soothes an aching soul. The kind that eases a raging storm. The kind that passes peace. The kind that cries into the night until a new hope rises with the sun. The kind that holds a shaking hand. The kind that wraps arms and legs and whispers grace. The kind that stills a turbulent heart and calms a violent wind. The kind that doesn’t escape when the seas go rough, or the road turns long and steep. My gift is my all. My husband’s gift is his all. We give it freely and always, to the glory of God.