Tuesday, October 9, 2012


By:  F. Kong

Tony attended the men's prayer meeting and heard a visiting psychologist speak on the topic of showing appreciation to the important people in one's life.  Tony decided to start with his wife, so after work that night, he went to the shopping mall, where he bought a dozen long-stemmed roses, a box of chocolates, and a pair of earrings.  He chortled with self-satisfaction as he contemplated surprising his wife, showing her how much he appreciated her.  He stood at the front door with the roses in his right hand, the brightly wrapped box of candy under his arm, and an open jewelry box displaying the earrings in his left hand.

With an elbow he rang the doorbell. His wife came to the door, opened it, and stared at him for a long minute. Suddenly she burst into tears.  "Sweetheart, what's wrong?" asked the bewildered husband.  "It's been the worst day of my life," she answered. "First, Jimmy tried to flush his diaper down the toilet. Then Eric melted his plastic airplane in the oven. Then the dishwasher got clogged and overflowed all over the kitchen floor. Then Susan came home from school with a note from the teacher saying that she beat up a boy in her class. And now you come home drunk!" 

Tell me now Mr. Businessman. When was the last time you ever bought a gift for your wife in order to show your appreciation? You know what? While I’m asking you that question I might as well ask myself the same and the embarrassing answer is that I can’t remember.

Let me tell you another story.

When Barbara and Jim were dating, Barbara became concerned over the lavish amount of money Jim was spending on her. After an expensive dinner date, she asked her mother, "What can I do to stop Jim from spending so much money on me?" Her mother replied simply, "Marry him." 

When I was dating Lilia before we got married, my only concern is that the most expensive restaurant in town was never good enough for her. When I shopped around for a birthday gift the task took many days to complete because I had to make sure that the girl of my life deserves the best. And now that we’re married suddenly, everything becomes a matter of practicality.  “We don’t need to spend that much money on that expensive restaurant. “We’re simply eating the name of the place, not the food” the mind would reason. A bag becomes very expensive. A piece of garment was exorbitant and a vacation spit becomes too luxurious. Practicality becomes the tune of the day but if the heart would be transparent and honest, it’s not because things are expensive. It is because there is a lack of a visible show of appreciation. 

Make no mistakes. The love is still there. But when the kids came along, when the Peso devaluated. When the tuition fee skyrocketed and when the loans are maturing and the rent increasing then we just have to be practical.  Somehow for people like me in business, we begin to be too business-like in our relationship with our spouse. You know the type, got to keep the overhead low we reason. At least, for the sake of the kids.

This is where everything goes wrong. The priority in the family is not the kids. It all starts with the spouse. The bible never says that man shall leave father and mother and cling to his kids and they shall become one flesh…..no such thing. Man and wife shall cling to each other and in the bounds of marriage they become one flesh. That’s why the priority will still be the spouse.

The secret to a healthy marriage is to always show appreciation. Gifts may not need to be expensive but it should cost you. Meaning it should be something that doesn’t come only from your wallet, but it should come from your heart. A written note. An honest to goodness compliment articulating your appreciation. And if you can afford it, an expensive gift wouldn’t hurt either.

But have you ever consider the fact that your continuous prayers for her is of equal importance? Maybe a little help in the household chores wouldn’t harm either. What ever it is, be creative but learn to show your appreciation. And when you do, make sure she doesn’t think you’re under the influence of alcohol and that’s why you’re behaving that way.

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