She didn’t know it at the time that she would be a widow at the age of forty with two young boys. Her husband didn’t know it at the time that he would one day be diagnosed with a rare cancer that would send their marriage on a whirlwind of treatments and difficult days. What she did know at the time was that she had asked her husband for dancing lessons for Christmas. He cringed at the thought.
See, he did not like to dance yet she did. He knew if he got that gift for her, he would have to go and he did not want to. As Christmas moved closer, he kept asking her if she was sure she wanted those dance lessons, of course, hoping her heart had changed but it had not. She would smile and say, “Yes, I want them.” He cringed every time.
Christmas arrived and there under the tree was a gift for her. She opened it and inside was a certificate for six dance lessons….for the two of them!! She was ecstatic. He was intentionally selfless in his gift. He thought of her even if he would end up doing something he did not like to do. It mattered to him more to please her and demonstrate his love for her. The funny part of this story is he ended up buying two more sets of lessons!!
I recently heard this story at the funeral of a friend of my husband. I did not know the couple personally but her story touched my heart. Her husband’s selfless act of love towards her encouraged me. We get married and we begin our lives however we don’t know how much time we will be given with our loves. She didn’t know either. Yet she remembered her husband’s intentional selfless act of love towards her. She remembered it with joy, too.
When we’re intentional, we are deliberate. We act or speak on purpose. Being intentionally selfless means thinking of another before ourselves on purpose. This is a biblical kind of love. Philippians 2, verse 4 tells us to “look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others.“ (Brackets mine) We are to make the interests of our spouses important to us. We need to always be looking at ways we can put what they enjoy into action even if it is not something we enjoy so much. It’s not about us, it’s about them. It’s about appreciating them. It’s about building a strong marriage. It’s about growing…together.
Loving on our spouse takes intentional behavior on our part. We need to look at the one God gave us and think of ways we can love them selflessly on a regular basis. It may mean watching your husband’s favorite sports team for an evening (cheering included!), watching a movie with your wife that she chooses (even the romantic kind!) or taking dance lessons when you dislike dancing (and ordering two more sets of lessons to boot!). No matter how it may look in your marriage being intentionally selfless towards your spouse is a blessing to them and to you. It’s a win-win situation all the way around.
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