We’ve been so blessed lately. We’re settled into our new apartment, Jude is healthy and growing like a weed, Derek is doing well at his new job, and for the first time since we’ve been married we aren’t looking ahead to a seasonal lay-off. Last week, God provided us a new vehicle that fits our needs much better. Yes, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.
However, this time of year a flurry of ads pile up in our mailbox, advertising the latest shopping deals. I admit that lately I’ve been bitten by the bug of discontent. It’s a constant struggle to focus on what I DO have instead of what I don’t.
For the past week or two Derek has been eyeing a flat screen TV. He had tucked away enough money a little bit at a time for the past few months, so we had the cash. Growing up with limited screen time and hand-me down televisions, to me, it seemed like a silly luxury we don’t need. So I had a bad attitude about him considering this TV. When he would look at online reviews, I would grumble and list all of the things that were more important to me (a better sofa, painting the living room walls, etc.) and what I would rather spend the money on. This went on for several days. He didn’t say anything–I knew he wanted it badly but respected my feelings and wouldn’t get it if I didn’t want him to.
We went out the other night, just to walk around and window shop. I brought up the TV again, hammering another nail in the coffin. “We don’t even have a camera. Why would we need a better TV when we can’t even take decent pictures of Jude growing up? Wouldn’t that be more important?” I have always wanted a good camera, ever since we’ve first been married, and we had talked about it before. I wasn’t asking for one, just trying to convince him that a TV should be low on our priority list. I was focused on myself, forgetting that this kind of thing was just as important to him as the things I wanted were to me.
He wanted to go to Best Buy, and I just knew it was to look at the TV. We walked around and looked at everything, and then Derek told me he had to go to the bathroom. He took a long time (those of you who know him well know that this isn’t unusual!), and I just walked around with Jude. When he got back, we left the store and grabbed a bite to eat in the car. He pulled out a box…and it was a camera we had looked at in the store that cost what he wanted to spend on the TV. “Merry Christmas,” he said. “I didn’t really have to go to the bathroom…I bought you this and I want to give it to you early so you can use it for the holidays.”
Friends, I felt so bad for my attitude. I was overwhelmed at such a big gift, his generosity, and that he spent all that money on me when I had so discouraged him from getting what he wanted. I didn’t know what to say. “Are you sure?”
He was just matter of fact. “Yes. This is what I want to spend the money on. I decided before we left the house that I was going to get it for you. It’s good for me to let go of having that TV. I didn’t get it because I felt like I had to. I just thought about it, and I really want to do something that will bring you joy, because I love you.”
So I’m learning to use this new camera, and so excited to be able to realize a dream that I’ve had for years.
I’ve learned something bigger though, from the example Derek set for me. I knew it before, but God saw fit to remind me again. It’s not a bad thing to have a different opinion or to want something different than your spouse. But things go too far if you lose perspective and can’t let it go. Doing things with love is more profitable than proving your point. Showing grace to each other is most important, and our actions and attitudes speak volumes about who we are putting first–each other or ourselves. Sometimes you need to do things that wouldn’t be your first choice, just to bring another person joy and let them know we love them more than getting our way or what we want.
Yes, I’m blessed. Today, I’m humbled and so thankful for a husband who models Christ’s love to me on a daily basis, in big and little ways.