I am no good at gift wrapping. I usually limit myself to lending a well placed finger every now and then while Beloved wraps. His meticulous attention to detail, expert tweaking of corners and neat tying of bows bespeaks care and attention whereas my own fumbling attempts look far more like something the fishmonger threw together! It's the thought that counts where a gift is concerned and a well wrapped gift shows far more thought and attention than a fishmonger's parcel!
I was thinking about this the other day and it made me think about the gift that I give Beloved every day - myself. You see, I believe on our wedding day I made that commitment to give myself to my Chosen every day. Each day is a choice to honor that commitment and give myself once again to Beloved.
I must admit, my gift wrapping for Beloved in this department has often resembled my expertise in wrapping other more tangible gifts! I don't like shopping for clothes, nothing seems to fit and it is all so darn expensive. My wardrobe often consisted of men's clothes bought at a discount shop (cheep, modest, good quality, practical, what more do you want?). For many years I viewed the putting on of make up and the use of skin care as needless frivolity limited to air heads and bimbos. Not worthy of the time of 'sensible' and 'intelligent' women like myself. The result wasn't all that pretty!
Then a few years ago our marriage hit the skids. I won't go into detail, but think of a really, really bad place for a marriage to be, times it by about ten and you have where we were! As part of our long haul out of that very nasty place I decided to put aside all my preconceptions and all the well meant advice of others to check out what the BIBLE said about being a wife. I figured there wasn't much I could do about changing HIM but at least I could be the best wife I could be and make it so it wasn't MY fault!
I learned a lot from that time and continue to make being a Godly wife a large part of my prayer, study and meditation time. One small thing I picked up on was my attitude toward presenting myself. The woman in Proverbs 31 had clothing of "silk and purple" (verse 22). Rich, beautiful garments. She didn't seem to do this to make herself beautiful in a vain or conceited way, but none the less, she did it. Why? Surely her time could be better spent than in caring for such garments? Surely the family budget could use those funds or she could give the money away to the poor if needs be and wear simpler, more practical garb? Then it hit me, she may well have chosen her clothes as a way to honor her husband. The same way we carefully wrap gifts, she carefully dressed herself, knowing her appearance would please her husband and reflect well on him in the eyes of others.
It bought into perspective my own choice of men's shirts and jeans!
Wardrobe is a fairly personal thing, touched by culture, background, personality and practicality, but I added "pleasing my husband" to my priorities in clothing myself. Slowly, since then, my wardrobe has changed. It is still essentially practical and modest, requiring little in the way of up-keep, but it is filled with 'code'. Certain garments are chosen because Beloved has commented that he liked the colour or cut. My wardrobe now has skirts in it because I like dressing to celebrate my femininity and inviting my husband to celebrate it with me! Certain garments are a way of saying privately "I care about pleasing you" or "I am glad I am your woman". My 'at home' clothes are chosen with the same amount of care as my 'going out' clothes because surely I should care equally, if not much more so, for pleasing the eye of my husband as for pleasing the eye of strangers.
The way I take care of my body has changed too. I haven't started spending hours in front of the mirror, but I do take a minute to apply make-up and do my hair MOST days now. I have a tube of foot cream in my bedside table that I rub on every night so that when Beloved reaches his foot out to mine in the night, his doesn't get a sandpaper welcome! I apply lip balm and face cream as I come to bed each night to give him a soft face to touch and a welcoming mouth to kiss!
The object is not to turn the heads of strange men on the street, but to make my husband feel like the luckiest man alive when we walk down the street together.
Will a change of wardrobe alone save a crumbling marriage? No. But the change of attitude it symbolises will go far to repairing a severely damaged one. When your actions are crying out to your Beloved every day that you care about him and want to please him, that WILL do good things for your marriage
And guess what? I've started having a little more respect for what is inside the package too. I've realised that this body that I have been blessed with can bring great pleasure to my Beloved AND to me. It does an amazing work bearing and feeding babies and deserves a little care, respect and maintenance. I see myself not as "house-slave" but "homemaker", not as the least important but deserving of a fair portion of my OWN time and attention, not only as companion but also as lover.
I am still no super-model and a day spent wearing my purple flannel PJ's with the pink pigs all over them sounds like heaven to me! BUT, because most days I make that effort, my marriage, my self-esteem and my self image all benefit.
How are you going in the gift wrapping department?