When my husband and I were engaged, we decided, as a very “modern” couple, to do all our gift registering online. One evening as I logged on and started going through the myriad of options for towels, bathroom accoutrements, kitchen appliances, and more, I would show him pictures and ask for his opinion. After a few noncommittal responses were given, the following conversation took place:
Me – “Honey, I want you to be involved in the process. What if I pick out a vase and every day you come home and think ‘I hate that vase.’ I don’t want that.
My sweet hubby – “If I were to pick out a vase it would probably be a Lakers one so really, whatever you pick out is fine.”
It was a reveling moment for me. I realized that what I thought was doing good to my husband was different than what he considered. I had heard so many stories of brides who many every decision about the wedding and the husband felt like he had no part in it. I didn’t want that to be true for us, so I tried to involve him in the process, forgetting to actually find out what was important to him, until that very moment.
It’s a lesson that’s important for every relationship. We hear the “Golden Rule” and in an attempt to follow it, we think about what what we would like and then do the same thing for others. What we forget is that the particular expressions may change for individuals. For example, most people would like to feel included. But some people want to feel included by being invited to a large social event, while others would prefer a one-on-one conversation over coffee. Doing good to others, especially our spouse, means finding out what those particular differences are and seeking to bless them by doing those things.
In my husband’s case, he could care less about which vase or brand of kitchen mixer we registered for. What he did care about was having all his groomsmen wear Red Converse sneakers and asking one of his friends to play the keyboard. Both of those things happened at our wedding. And in the process, I learned an important lesson about what it meant to embody the characteristic of Proverbs 31:12 that an excellent wife does good to her husband and not harm “all the days of her life.”