This blog is very personal, but I believe it will speak to and encourage the hearts of some men. The last few days have been unsettling and stormy. My soul has experienced gray clouds and distracting thoughts. I haven’t been present for my wife.  Instead I’ve been nursing my selfish ego.  It’s difficult for me to acknowledge that I’ve been having one big pity party as I nurse self-pity and self-loathing.  I want to be a spiritual man, but I’m acting like a spoiled brat.  

A couple from church came over for some fellowship.  I decided to confess my sinful self-pity to my brother in Christ, Bruce.  After he and his wife left, I went for a walk alone, seeking some direction out of my inner storm.  Along the way, I met another friend, David, and shared my struggle with him as well.  He seemed to understand my situation.

Then, as I continued my solitary walk, this thought came me, clear as a bell: You need to think of your wife as a “blossoming flower.”  When I got home, I went to the Song of Songs, where the beloved says, “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”  The lover responds,  “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens” (2:1-2).  Lilies were common in Israel.  “Perhaps the young woman was saying,  ‘I’m not so special,’ to which lover replied, ‘Oh, no, you are extraordinary – a lily among thorns.’  Solomon  used the language of love.  Nothing is more vital to a lasting relationship than encouraging and appreciating the person you love” (NLT Application Bible).   

So what does this mean for me?  

First,  I need to remember that my wife is a special lily among the rest.  As we grow older, she becomes ever more precious to me.  She has been by my side for 58 years.  She is the most consistent believer I know.  I am to continually let her know that she is a beautiful lily who continues to blossom.  I find joy and gratitude when she is able to express her natural beauty as a person.

Second,  it’s my task to create an environment in which she can flourish.  My wife has grown and matured into a beautiful, faith-filled woman.  Our life together in these senior apartments is what we call our monastic space.  We each have our own “cell” for time alone with the Lord.  We both consider this a gift.  I believe God has called me to be a watchman,  tuned into what the Lord is saying to my wife, to me, and to the church of Christ, and to be alert to danger. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel, so hear the word I speak, and give them warning from me” (Ezk. 33:7). 

Third, I am to provide spiritual  protection for my wife in our monastic space.  The enemy continues to tear at the very fabric of our culture as he demeans the sacredness of marriage. We are in a spiritual battle.  Nehemiah 4:14 speaks to me, “Don’t be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and homes” (Neh. 4:14).  

Fourth, I need to nourish my lily of the valley with words of encouragement, support and delight.  My wife blogs each day, reaching countless people.  It takes an open heart and and listening ears to get a message each day from the Lord.  I call it a “gift from God.”  My wife need my encouragement to keep up the good work.