Once a year, in February, I take my three daughters for a night out at the Broadmoor Hotel here in Colorado Springs. They dress up, and I suit up. We have dinner at one of the high-end restaurants there, and stay the night. The idea is to treat them like princesses and set the bar high for how their future husbands should treat them.
The evening isn’t cheap; the idea is to give them a small taste of how lavish God’s love is and make sure they know I love them. It’s an evening they talk about throughout the year.
As we were driving to the Broadmoor last week, one of my teenage daughters said “most dads don’t do this.” She’s right. Earlier that day I got my hair cut by a single mom in her forties. When I told her what I was doing with my girls that night she choked up; she said if her father had treated her like that, it would have made a big difference in the men she went out with.
Every once in a while it’s important that we go over the top and lavish our loved ones with kindness. All too often we take our spouses and children for granted. It’s easy to get caught up in the “I’m too busy” rat-race and neglect the most important relationships God has given us.
Some of you are misers when it comes to money. You scrape every penny and follow the Dave Ramsey way to the letter. Gotta get that bank account padded for retirement. Your spouse and kids aren’t going to remember or care how big your bank account is, but they will remember those times when you went over the top and showed them by your extravagant actions how much you care for them. I’m not talking to those who are barely making ends meet, but to those who have made the size of their bank account and 401k more important than their family.
Two weeks ago, my wife Michelle started placing one note a day expressing love to me on a door. She did it for 14 days straight. It got to the point where I was almost embarrassed and it was hard to receive it all.
I counsel couples (as well as individuals); it’s amazing how often I’ll ask them “when is the last time you went away for a weekend together,” or, “how are you expressing love to your spouse or family?” and get blank looks. The treadmill of life has run them ragged and they’ve forgotten what the basics of a relationship are: caring for each other, enjoying each other’s company, and having fun at times. You can do all the Bible studies and family devotions on love you want, but it’s not until you take the actions of love that it will make an ounce of difference.
I’ve seen loveless parents who try to brow-beat, preach, and guilt-trip their kids into obedience, yet rarely do anything fun with them (it’s worse if they’re in ministry). Then they wonder why their kids go into full blown rebellion or even turn away from the church when they hit their teen years. While some kids will rebel regardless of how their parents treat them, legalistic parents who focus solely on the rights and wrongs and “being good” will more than likely turn their kids off to the God of love. (Some of you read this and realize I just described what a legalistic church looks like).
For those who are trying to heal your marriage from porn or adultery, rediscovering your relationship is a part of the healing process. Most men we work with who have been ensnared to porn have long forgotten how to show love to their spouse or kids. Couples can stay stuck for years because one or both have their arms crossed and are demanding the other do for them what they want before they will give the other a crumb of kindness. Love can’t get through when two fortress-hearts are perpetually walled up and armed for battle. Someone has to take a risk and make a move to reconciliation.
When is the last time you went over the top in showing love to your spouse or family members, regardless of whether they deserved it? Is there something your spouse or family member has been saying they’d love to do with you that you’ve been ignoring?
Jesus asking God the Father to forgive the Pharisees as He suffered on the cross comes to mind. We may never be more like Him when we show grace and love to others.