Proverbs 5:18 says, “May you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” The author of Proverbs challenges a husband to rejoice in his wife just as he did on his wedding day, no matter how long they have been married. The strong principle of marital celebration arises from this passage of Scripture. God wants a husband to cherish and celebrate his wife daily for her entire life.
Celebration should be tied to a person’s unique existence. There are two basic ways of celebrating someone. Take our celebration of the anniversary of our day of birth. Birthdays are wonderful, meaningful events, because on them, we celebrate someone’s existence. Such a celebration has nothing to do with physical appearance or achievements in life—a person is celebrated simply because he or she is. No one has to do anything to deserve a birthday celebration—except to keep on breathing! A wise man or woman will communicate to his or her spouse, in both word and deed, “I celebrate you!”—with no “because” attached. Don’t pick out things to celebrate about your spouse; rather, celebrate the mere fact of his or her existence.
Another effective way of celebrating your spouse is to focus on specific things that are unique and meaningful about your spouse’s personality, physical appearance, and abilities. In our home, we have a family birthday tradition whereby each person shares one thing that he or she appreciates about the person whose existence we are celebrating. Receiving so many compliments at once can be a little embarrassing for that person—but he or she will long remember what was said and how good it made him or her feel. My wife explained to me once that she was grateful that I thanked her for things that she did for me—for example, cooking a delicious supper—but explained that she found such compliments less meaningful than when I highlighted something connected to her being: who she was. There is a subtle difference between saying “that was a great meal you just made” and “I think you are a great cook!” The first compliment focuses on the act, the second on the person. Ten years ago, for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, I tried something creative that brought great results. I wrote a short note every week for twenty-five weeks, listing twenty-five specific things I loved about Julie—things that were uniquely her, not just things she did for me. For example, some weeks I told her physical things I loved about her (her voice, her hair, her eyes, etc.), and other weeks I wrote about her personality traits (nature-lover, book-lover, laughs easily, and so forth). Blessed is the wife or husband whose spouse communicates in word and deed, “I celebrate you!”
REFLECTIONS: Take some time to reflect on how you felt about your wife (or husband) on your wedding day. Think of a practical way to remind yourself daily how you felt on your wedding day or during your first weeks/months of marriage as newlyweds. Put a wedding day photo of yourself and your spouse somewhere you will see it every day to remind you to rejoice in the wife (husband) of your youth.
“May you rejoice in the wife of your youth . . .”