Before I set the bar of my marriage at cherishing my wife, I thought I had run into an unsolvable conundrum.
It had to do with waking up Lisa.
I’m a morning person, to an extreme. It’s a very good morning for me if I wake up, look at the clock, and see the first number is a “5.” Far more often it’s a “4” or even (sigh) a “3.” Once I’m awake, it’s very difficult to go back to sleep, so I usually lay there for twenty minutes and then just get up.
Lisa is definitely not a morning person. She doesn’t like the jarring sound of an alarm clock or even any of the 57 noise/music options on her phone, so she usually asks me to do the waking. Years ago, this put me in a sore spot because, not being a morning person, Lisa doesn’t like waking up. And that whole thing about not shooting the messenger? You can imagine.
But if I didn’t wake her up, she’d be angry at me for her getting a slow start to her day.
Thus my dilemma: wake her up and get slammed for waking her up. Don’t wake her up and get slammed for not waking her up.
I thought I couldn’t win until I figured out it was basically about the way I was waking her up. Decades into our marriage, I think I’ve got it down. Open one shade (not two or three) so the morning light can slowly seep in. Touch her cheek, then kiss her cheek. Don’t go into the banter that I think is hilarious: “Good morning Lisa! You don’t have to sleep anymore! You get to wake up! Aren’t you glad sleep time is over!” Lisa never gets the humor that seems so impressive to me. It’s taken years, but I’ve gotten over it.
But here’s the thing: it takes me maybe a minute to do this and Lisa feels cherished first thing in the morning. What used to be a source of contention is now a source of intimacy.
Every marriage has these simple little things we can do that make our spouse feel cherished, and they’re not that hard. If your goal is simply to love (be faithful, committed, loyal, serve) your spouse, you can avoid something that seems “extra” because your focus is only on fulfilling your duty rather than delighting in your spouse. Cherish raises the bar.
Lisa was at a gathering of wives that got somewhat explicit when one woman said there’s a particular sexual favor her husband just loves. “But do you like doing that?” the other wife asked.
“It makes him so happy” the first wife responded.
When Lisa recounted this to me, I was struck by the way this cherishing wife got to the real issue: Instead of answering, “Do you like this,” she responded, “This makes my husband happy. This makes my husband feel cherished.” To her, that was the issue.
Of course, in a marriage marked by abuse or sexual demands/manipulation, this could be taken the wrong way. In a healthy marriage, a wife doing something that her husband really enjoys is a way for her to say, “I like making you feel cherished.”
So, whether it’s first thing in the morning or the last thing at night, find those “little things” that make your spouse feel cherished. If you truly cherish your spouse, the fact that these acts make them feel cherished is all the motivation you’ll need.
Cherish Challenge Week Five
- Read (or listen to) chapter 6 in Cherish.
- Following the model of how God indulges Jerusalem (discussed in chapter 6), ask yourself, “When is the last time I did something to indulge my spouse?”
- Ask your spouse, “What do I do that makes you feel especially cherished?”
- Please, share your practical testimonies with us about how a blog post, chapter, and exercise in the Cherish Challenge is positively impacting your marriage. We want to feature your stories! Share on the Cherish Challenge web page.