a christmas wish list for every marriage

Ah, Christmas. The season of tapping your toes to “Jingle Bell Rock” and wishing your spouse would finally figure you out.

I know it sounds harsh, but it’s too often true.

As a woman who loves gifts, both giving and receiving, I have walked this road many times.

I’ve made lists and crossed my fingers that he will use them.

I’ve bought him the “perfect” thing and then found out he’d rather shop himself.

I’ve bought myself gifts and handed them to him to wrap, pushing away my deep longing for a surprise.

I’ve closed my eyes and decided whatever we give and get will just have to be good enough.

I’ve wrapped up presents that fail to say all I long to say to the man who chose me as his favorite person, who believes in me when I fail, who holds me when I’m scared, and who wants the best for me even when I don’t deserve it.

I’ve walked this road with friends, too.

I’ve listened to friends lament their inability to decipher the Da Vinci Code that is their husband/wife’s deep need to be seen, known, and loved inside a box wrapped up in a bow.

(I’ve also been the Da Vinci Code wife. Poor Morgan.)

I’ve watched as other friends open  beautiful presents, smile, say thank you, and then long for things that don’t fit inside a box.

I’ve heard friends express anger because, once again, the gift proves there is a problem in their marriage.

I’ve seen friends want a present to make up for all they have sacrificed for all the years: the sleepless nights, the difficult move, the broken promise, the failure that cost more than they could pay.

The irony of Christmas is that with all the parties and purchases, it’s easy to forget what love is at this time of year.

I have a Christmas wish for my marriage and for every couple out there. It’s better than a little blue box from TIffany, or a luxury car with a big red bow. It offers more than the most successful investment of all time.

I wish we could remember.

I wish we could remember the way we felt the first time we kissed.

I wish we could remember that before the mistakes, we said we would be merciful and love through good times and bad.

I wish we could remember that before our jobs and kids and parents and problems and illnesses wore us down, we didn’t hold each other hostage for debts that can never be paid.

I wish we would remember how miraculous our love is.

I wish we would remember that expectations kill relationship.

I wish we would remember that love given without any strings attached is the kind of love that changes the world.

I wish we would remember all the good and honorable and loving things we have shared, and let our weaknesses lie where they ought: in a pool of blessed grace.

If we could remember all of that, it would be the best Christmas since the Son of God lay in a manger, tended by human hands and beloved by His heavenly Father.

We need a Christmas to remember that long before our hearts beat and chose to make forever promises to each other, God made a forever promise to us.

The gift of His Son proved we are loved more than we understand. Jesus loved us to the end. And then He asked us to love one another in the same way.

Because more than gifts and parties and carols, what we all really need at Christmas and all year long is to love one another in better, deeper, and truer ways.

Merry Christmas, you guys. Let love reign.