Sarah and I got the chance to spend a year living in a beautiful house on a lake. There were two docks. One faced the direction of the sunrise and the other towards the sunset. Some of the views were unforgettably breath-taking.
If you ever get to live by a lake, don't forget to do the following:
- Spend evenings with your wife on the dock seeing who can spot the first star.
- Watch the sky’s colors change with each passing minute of the sunset.
- Wake up early to see sunrises over still, quiet and misty waters.
- Canoe under star-lit night skies that stretch out over a dark and quiet lake.
- Ice skate (with someone you love) in the lonely, cold winter air.
When the decision was made for us to move to the lake, I couldn’t believe that I was going to get a chance to see such beautiful sights every day.
And the sights were breath-taking. At least they were breath-taking for the first few days and weeks of living there. I remember eating dinner by the westward facing windows and thinking, “Wow! I can’t believe I'll get to enjoy this view everyday!”
But as the weeks passed, I started to notice the lake's beauty less and less. Soon after we settled in, there were too many days (and sometimes even a whole week) that would go by without me taking a moment to even look at (much less enjoy) the lakeside views.
Why did I stop noticing? Why did I stop enjoying?
Did I see it so much that it stopped being interesting to me?
Is it hard to remember that something's beautiful if you live next to it on a daily basis?
One thing was true: my lack of noticing the beauty of the lake didn’t mean that the lake decreased in beauty. Without fail, every visitor we had would breathlessly say, “Wow! That’s an amazing view,” or, “What an amazing location for a house!” or, “I didn’t know something so pretty could be found in Southern New Jersey!”
The lake never stopped being beautiful. I just forgot, or neglected, or became overly accustomed to it's wonder. For some reason, I stopped treating it as it should be treated.
Beauty, if it's seen and noticed, will always cause an individual to pause and wonder. Beauty will inspire long, slow, relaxing evenings. Beauty will always be memorable.
But it's easy to miss out on Beauty's blessing. We seem to forget the wonder of beautiful things if we are around them for very long.
I think that’s why it’s refreshing to watch a 1-year-old child. They explore everything they can get their hands on. Everything in life is new to them. They bang their hands on a shelf because they like exploring the feel of solid wood. They splash their hands in the bath because they notice that water doesn’t behave like solid wood does. They laugh delightedly when an adult gently blows into their face/hair because they are interested in the feel of wind. They lay in bed staring at their fingers because they just realized that they can intentionally make them move.
We like watching infants because they remind us of how we should behave in this world. They teach us that it’s happy to have eyes that are full of wonder. Their curiosity inspires us to take life at a slower pace so we can enjoy being awed by the awesomeness of creation.
One thing that I’m unwilling to grow overly accustomed to is the beauty of who my wife is. I’ve decided that if I don’t…
take the time to admire her,
remind myself of her attractive qualities,
use a tone of voice that honors her preciousness,
look at her the way her beauty deserves,
take the time to explore and draw out her deep and wonderful emotions…
…if I don’t do these things, I will be mistreating her beauty. It will be as if I'm walking past a beautiful sunset without taking the time to notice or enjoy it.
There are many things that I do to cause me to remember the beauty of who she is. But the thing that I’d like to share in this post is that...
...I try to make sure that I give her a lingering, affectionate kiss at least once throughout the day.
I’m not talking about:
a quick, “Good morning,” kiss as we’re rushing to get breakfast on the table.
a quick, “I hope you sleep good,” kiss as my eyes are half shut before my exhausted head hits the pillow.
an, “I almost forgot to kiss you before I left for work. So let me squeeze in a peck as I rush out the door,” kiss.
The kind of kiss I’m talking about is…:
...a "I want to stare into your eyes before we kiss,” kiss.
...a “I know our morning is starting to get busy, but let me just slow us down for a few moments and give you a kiss that reminds you that I see you,” kiss.
...a “you need to be reminded that I enjoy you,” kiss.
...a “no matter what we go through, always remember that you’re my wife and that I’m your groom,” kiss.
I’m finding that these kinds of kisses keep the daily grind from robbing me of enjoying the wonder of my beautiful wife. Again: it’s not the only thing that a husband has to do if he wants to treat his wife’s beauty well. But it’s one good thing you can do to keep from forgetting, neglecting and mistreating your wife's beauty.