I am married to a man who buys me clothes. Pretty ones.
If I am cranky or feeling uncreative, he will pull my morning outfit together before work.
Sometimes, when I come home, there is a new skirt laid out on the bed that he found for me on sale or at a thrift store.
He naturally buys and bestows presents. He is also blessed with the gift for thrift, so chances are, the outfit cost him just a few dollars.
Unfortunately for my dear husband, I am not gifted with gifting. I like showing my love and affection by reserving the plane tickets for our annual trip to see family back East. By organizing our bills and paying them online. By planning the week’s meals and picking up his favorite Redbox movies each Friday night. It’s not really natural for me to cruise through a store and select a gift for no reason. And sweet man that he is, he has accepted my way of showing love, although I know he wishes I were just a little bit more “gifty.”
Embroidered skirts and striped sweaters aside, though, what gifts do we give each other in marriage?
With thanks to Melanie Chitwood and her amazing devotion on marriage over at Proverbs 31, I have been pondering this lately. A lot.
“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29 (The Message)
Each word a gift.
So many words come out of my mouth. Words of condemnation, words of grace. Words of frustration, words of praise. Words that are sloppy, and some that are like sweet, cold water.
I have a choice of what words I use. Words of life or words of death. Words to build up my fragile and powerfully strong girl-children. Words to bring hope and comfort to my husband, upon whom my life is messily and lovingly intertwined. Are these words really all gifts? Each one?
Yes and yes.
I try to picture my words as prettily wrapped presents. Each one decorated with pink and fuchsia and chartreuse tissue paper. I wrap the words, tying them with a slip of satin ribbon I see in Real Simple, but does not actually reside in my house. Ever.
So it is this package that I deliver to my husband. Or the girls. Or my neighbor. Or my mother. And are they words that encourage or slander? Offer hope or despair? Jesus, did you really mean for each word to be a gift? Or just some? ‘Cause I don’t know if I can do all that wrapping. It’s too much work. It’s not easy for a non-gifty person like myself.
If I read Ephesians a little bit further, I am reminded all of this present giving is only possible by the Holy Spirit residing in me as a believer in Christ. “His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”
So, I pause and remember the power within me, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And as I prepare words for everyone around me, I think of them as gifts. Given to me to give to others.