Today was especially cool for the band, because we ended the service with a video. Which meant that we got to come down to the seats after the set-up song (which was "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles, and no, I am not kidding, and if you think that's weird, you oughta come check it out. We believe God moves through and redeems anything when He's invited, and He used the Fab Four today...but I digress...)
We came to the seats and I found my husband and actually asked some folks to rearrange their seats so that I could sit next to him. And hold his hand.
Because I knew what was coming. I'd heard the message twice already, and I knew I wanted to sit next to my spouse as my pastor talked to us about how to have a marriage that didn't settle for good. And I love the way he put the teaching together. Brian leans hard into the truth of scripture but always brings out things that are fresh and new. Honestly, I think that God just moves in our services and opens our ears up in ways that allow us to really be touched and moved and impacted. We learn things. I knew that would be the case today.
Adam and Eve and helpers and horses and pomegranates and the Song of Solomon and Proverbs 31 and a little bit of chastisement and some personal illustrations, and then this:
"Write down three traits that you have ever appreciated about your spouse- even if it only happened once. Funny. Exciting. Sexy. Caring. Sweet. Assertive. Anything that was positive. Now, share those three things that you came up with – share your list – with your spouse some time this week in an hour that you schedule together. Don’t talk about negative things - “See, you know how to clean up after yourself, I appreciated that about you 10 years ago, but you’ve changed and now you never…” Don’t do that. If that’s the thought that comes to your mind, you’ve probably already told them. No, this hour is just for the positive. From each of you. Do the reflection, book the time, keep the appointment. You’ll be on your way to a GREAT marriage. And the roots of this exercise are Biblical, because the value you recognize in the person you married was made in the image of God himself."I started making my list immediately. And when we went out to dinner tonight, we took about 15 minutes to make light conversation while we considered what we had to share.
And then we took turns, telling each other the three things that we appreciated about one another. We each had examples from the past, things were foundational to who we are, and specific instances. I'd been thinking about this all day, so I cheated - I had points 1, 2, and 3a-b-c.
(What can I say? He's a great guy!)
Later in the message, Brian said, "You have so much power with the words you say to your spouse." That truth unfolded over enchiladas and chips tonight. I learned things, heard that there are things I do and say that are incredibly meaningful and important to Tony. I told him how greatly I value some things about his character and some specific things he does, and he really heard. He affirmed me with his words in a way that impacted my heart and my head and my soul.
We had a "Three Things Date", and it literally changed us. I am grateful tonight, for a pastor who is faithful to God, to his role as a teacher and shepherd. For the opportunity to hear today.
And for my husband. He's pretty darn awesome.
You can listen to the message in it's entirety here; just click on the January 16 message, "Don't Settle For Boring" and download or stream. You'll be glad you did.