I want to be upfront with you from the start of this short article. I am about to share 5 gifts that our spouse deeply needs from us and they are very costly gifts. As a matter of fact, we don’t have enough money or the ability to give our spouse these gifts, which is actually really good news.
The gifts our spouse deeply needs are the same gifts we deeply need, yet often we don’t realize it.
We get distracted and try to fill the void, pain or even boredom we feel with lesser gifts. But God designed us in such a way that we are most fulfilled and blessed by the gifts of His Kingdom.
So, how do we receive gifts from God’s Kingdom to give to our spouse? We seek the King. We begin with our own hearts and an honest look within. What has our attention? What are we seeking to fill the void, pain or boredom in our lives? What are we looking to for relief from the stress of 2020? And then we do something radical. We invite Jesus into the messiness of our hearts and lives. We pray a big prayer like, “Jesus, I need you and I want you.” And then we open our hearts to Jesus and receive His presence, His peace, His joy, His truth…the gifts of His Kingdom.
So, what do you need to receive from Jesus this Christmas? Do you need His peace? What about His joy? Or perhaps, like me, you need His forgiveness. You need His grace. You need to be reminded that your worth and value are not dependent on your performance, looks or accomplishments, but on who God says you are as His son or daughter.
If I am being super honest, I would say that I need healing from the trials, storms and losses of this year. I would also say that I need more hope, faith and determination to stand firm against the fiery darts of the enemy.
But most of all, I need the presence of Jesus in my life, which can be found in a profoundly beautiful way in our marriage.
We find the presence of Jesus in our marriage when we admit that we don’t have what our spouse deeply needs and that our spouse does not have what we deeply need. We find the presence of Jesus in our marriage when we simply agree with Jesus that we can’t love and bless our spouse apart from the Spirit’s help. And we experience the presence of Jesus the most when we see ourselves and our spouse in desperate need of Jesus and His Gospel Gifts.
1. The Gift of Forgiveness
We receive forgiveness through the Gospel and we can extend forgiveness through the Gospel.
Are you holding onto past hurts or disappointments? Do you need to forgive your spouse? You may have been hurt deeply by your spouse, and that requires a lot of healing and forgiveness. If this is you, perhaps you can take the first step towards forgiving your spouse by praying and asking God to help you.
Then, consider meeting with a counselor or a trusted friend to pray and ask them to pray for you. Or, perhaps your spouse has not deeply hurt you, but he/she has still hurt you in some way, such as not meeting your needs, or saying something that was hurtful. A good way to know if you need to forgive your spouse is to ask God to show you what you need to forgive your spouse for and write it down. Then, take the next step, which is to agree with God that you don’t have the power to forgive.
Scripture tells us in Ephesians 4:32, “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you, in Christ.” What this verse is telling us is that we need the grace of Christ to forgive, so we need to ask Him for His grace to forgive our spouse.
2. The Gift of Kindness and Compassion
Jesus is kind and compassionate to us and we can extend kindness and compassion to our spouse. How do we do this? Ask Jesus to help us receive His kindness and His compassion. Be honest with yourself and with Jesus about what you are struggling with or stressed about or what is causing you pain and disappointment. Receive the kindness and compassion you need from Jesus and then ask Him to help you be kind and compassionate with your spouse. Speak kindly to your spouse. Listen to your spouse without offering advice or trying to fix their problem. Simply speak kind words, showing compassion for how they are feeling.
3. The Gift of Prayer
As God’s sons and daughters, we are given the incredible gift of prayer. We receive healing, freedom and so much more through prayer for our own hearts and lives but we can also give our spouse the incredible gift of praying for them. So, here is a “Christmas Prayer Gift” that we can give our spouse this Christmas.
Set aside 20 minutes and ask the Spirit to speak to you about how to pray for your spouse. Ask the Spirit to tell you 3 or 4 specific ways to pray for your spouse this Christmas. Write them down and set aside 10 minutes each day (put a reminder on your phone) and pray for your spouse at least 10 minutes each day. Of course, we want to pray for our spouse throughout the day, but this is a way we can intentionally give our spouse the gift of prayer.
4. The Gift of Words
Because of the Gospel, we have a brand new identity as God’s sons and daughters. We have victory over darkness. We have hope and a future and the promises of God are spoken all over our lives. We can give our spouse the gift of words by speaking words of truth, identity, hope and encouragement over them.
Scripture tells us in Ephesians 4: 29, “No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” Let’s ask Jesus to help us receive His words through Scripture and the Spirit and speak His words to our spouse to build them up and extend His grace to them.
5. The Gift of Love
Scripture tells us in Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore, be imitators of Christ, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
You and I are dearly loved Children of God. What does it mean to be “dearly” loved by God? I think the Gospel defines it for us. God gave His only son to die on a Cross for us so that we could be forgiven, set free, healed and in a forever relationship with Him. We may not feel worthy of the Gospel, but God sees us as worthy because we are His dearly loved children. And that is the deepest need of our hearts, to receive the love of God. And that is our spouse’s deepest need as well.
How do we receive and give the gift of God’s love?
We slow down. We pause. We open our hands. We open our hearts and we ask, invite and receive the love of Christ to fill us – heal us, free us, consume us. And then we ask the Spirit to help us and show us how to love our spouse.
I hope you “pause” for a few minutes after reading this article before jumping into the next thing on your list. Pause and think about Jesus. Think about His gifts to you. Ask Jesus to help you receive deeply whatever your heart needs today. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you to love your spouse like Jesus loves you.