Guest Post by Terri Anderson
For my 10th birthday, I received an “autograph book”. Back in the day, that was a small, hardcover book full of blank pages for your friends to write wonderful things about you, and sign with their “autograph”. What a perfect gift for me! I’ve always loved words, and relationships. This particular gem had a zipper closure, and the cover contained two of my favorite colors at the time – sky blue and spring green. This was the 10-year-old’s equivalent to having your high school yearbook signed.
One of the entries has remained in the back of my mind for decades. It went like this:
“I love you, I love you, I love you so well,
If I had a peanut I’d give you the shell!”
At first glance, I thought it was cute. Then I thought, “Hey – you’re keeping the peanut. That’s the best part!” Maybe my friend loved herself a little more :)
Anyhow, as an adult, I’ve actually seen this type of “love”. I’m afraid I’ve known both husbands and wives who are peanut keepers, shell sharers. (Note: this example applies to most things, but NOT chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, it’s every man for himself, to the victor goes the spoils, finders keepers, and every other quip you’d like to insert.)
Sometimes, I am the peanut keeper. Yet, that’s not the woman I want to be. My 6th grade teacher taught us that “To love someone, means to want with the whole power of your soul, what is good for that person.” Love doesn’t withhold the peanut, love gives the best parts. Loving and giving are closely related. They hang out together! Loving and withholding – they’re barely aware of each other.
Here are a few questions you can ponder:
- Am I patient with my man? Do I give him the benefit of the doubt? Do I let him explain why he did or didn’t do something when I don’t understand? Do I give him the freedom to do things “his way” as opposed to “my way”?
- Do I speak kindly to and about my husband? What do my actions toward him say?
- Am I jealous about things he gets to have or do, that I don’t?
- Do I enjoy being “better than him” in any areas, and put him down in the process?
- Am I the kind of wife who always has to get my way? When I don’t do I resent it? Do I ever “punish” my husband for some way in which I feel wronged or neglected?
- Do I get happy or smug when it turns out he’s wrong about something? Am I delighted when he is right?
We women are tricky people. Our wiring is complicated. When we don’t understand ourselves, we can really be nasty to others, whether we realize it or not. When we don’t understand our men, we can be even worse. Giving love is a wonderful cure for the nasties.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22 NRSV
How do we do that? How do we love deeply, from the heart? Many of us have suffered emotional damage over our lives, and don’t function well when it comes to our emotions. Others feel they themselves have never really been loved. Whether we have the understanding and/or know how may not matter. I’ve found that when I simply want to obey God, and ask for His help, He shows me. But I have to listen for His voice, watch for His opportunities. That can take practice, but you can begin at any time, wherever you are.
Do you want to love you husband deeply, from the heart? Get rid of the peanut shell. Toss it. Tear it off of yourself.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT
Then give him the peanut. The peanut is patient, the peanut is kind. It does not envy or boast. Though delicious, the peanut is not proud. It doesn’t dishonor him. It doesn’t look out for itself. It is not easily angered. The peanut keeps no record of wrongs (note that “wrongs” is plural). The peanut does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. The peanut protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.
You, dear one, are the peanut. Give him the best of you – mentally, physically, emotionally, daily. If you want to go deep, just ask the Father. He will show you how. Don’t worry about what you may or may not get in return. God gave us Jesus. Have we returned His love that fully? Don’t think so. Does He withhold because of our ineptness, faithlessness, apathy, whacked priorities or stupidity? No.
Our world has a tremendous need to see women love their husbands deeply. We can do that! Our daughters need examples to follow. Our sons need to see real love in action. And we need to obey our Lord.