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Too often couples overlook the very gift that will bring the most happiness to their spouse. We’ll share a few situations that will reveal what the perfect gift is.
We’ll start with an experience shared in a conference talk by President Russell M. Nelson. He said, “On a recent flight, I sat behind a husband and wife. She obviously loved her husband. As she stroked the back of his neck I could see her wedding ring. She would nestle close to him and rest her head upon his shoulder, seeking his companionship.
“In contrast, he seemed totally oblivious to her presence. He was focused solely upon an electronic game player. During the entire flight, his attention was riveted on that device. Not once did he look at her, speak to her, or acknowledge her yearning for affection.
“His inattention made me feel like shouting, ‘Open your eyes, man! Can’t you see? Pay attention! Your wife loves you! She needs you!’” (Russell M. Nelson, “Nurturing Marriage,” Ensign, May 2006.)
President Nelson’s story reminds us of a comment by a client who said of her husband, “He walks through the door after work, sits down, pulls out his iPad and starts scrolling through Facebook posts. He’s glued to it for a good hour or more! Why can’t he see I need his help, I need him to care about what I’m doing to help the family. Is he that blind? Or just plain selfish? I need his help! And I need his companionship.”
Lest you think it’s only husbands doing this type of thing, it goes both ways. We have seen couples out to dinner where the wife spends most of the time texting friends instead of enjoying the time with her husband. Sometimes husbands have complained that their wives have become Pinterest addicts. Whatever the online venue, when it replaces your relationship with your spouse, it’s a huge mistake. Time to ditch those devices and enjoy each other.
Interfering Callings and Work
What about the mate who spends so much time doing church work that he/she has little time left to be with his/her spouse? There needs to be a balance. That’s why bishops and auxiliary leaders have counselors, and a multitude of other helpers. Whenever possible the work needs to be shared with these helpers, whatever calling we may have. Delegation, right?
True there will be times when things cannot be balanced, but those times can be compensated with undivided attention given to the spouse whenever possible. It becomes the duty of the busy spouse to create the “possible” time. A wife of an in-demand surgeon and bishop said, “He’s needed by so many, but when he comes home he’s mine!” He has made his wife a priority at every opportunity. He carves out times when the two of them can “get out of Dodge” where they cannot be interrupted. So when demands for his time are out of balance, she knows her time for his undivided attention is coming. She can count on it. She also makes that time at home pleasant, which makes him want it all the more.
Life gets complicated and without effort the marriage can suffer from some of those complications. We’ve named only a few problem issues here—there are so many more, but the answer is the same. So many problems can be resolved by giving that simple all-important gift to your spouse: YOUR TIME! Your undivided attention is truly one of the most loving gifts you can give your husband or wife.
President Hinckley put it this way: “I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion. Any man who will make his wife’s comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come.”(Gordon B. Hinckley, Anchorage, Alaska, Regional Conference July 18, 1995) This is equally true for a wife regarding her husband.
Portions of this article are from the Lundbergs’ latest book Because We Love Our Marriage: 12 Ways to Safeguard Your Eternal Relationship. To learn more about the book visit https://www.garyjoylundberg.com/