Many years ago, back in the day when I was so unsure of just about everything, my husband and I were dressing for a wedding. I had a pretty new pink dress on and, I have to admit, my hair had turned out just right. As I applied lipstick and picked up my little purse, my husband came back into the room and saw me in this prettied-up state for the first time. He looked at me and said….wait for it…."Ready to go?"
I told this story recently in front of a group of women and I heard a collective gasp. Really. They all knew exactly what I was talking about! They knew the feeling of wanting to be told. They identified with the pain of not getting what I needed in that moment: to be assured that I was OK, that I looked pretty, that I was special to him.
Needless to say, we had a tense drive to that wedding.
Later, after processing a bit, I was able to sit with him and express how I felt and my need for his verbal approval. He,who is such a sweet person who would NEVER do anything to hurt me, took this advice and tucked it into his understanding for later use.
I told him, that by telling me his thoughts about me he was building a protection around me. My little girl heart needed to hear that I was pretty. I needed to hear that I was his favored one. All of that solid reassurance and understanding could have been communicated in one enthusiastic, “You look great!” It didn't have to be over the top. His simple regard and admiration would have felt like a warm blanket around me; a shield that could help me feel secure. Perhaps it could even keep me from trying to find that favor in the eyes of someone else.
I know my husband loves and approves of me. He is the one I run to when I need reassurance. His practical and steady ways keep me secure! I know I don’t need to search for that kind of assurance any where else.
I have also learned ways to communicate my favor toward him, enabling him to feel his own sense of admiration and approval from me.
It also needs to be said that I have grown to like myself better. My husband was not the only one who needed to learn to express approval to me.
I think that is why I love this verse in Psalm 5:11-12. But let all who take refuge in you (God) be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
The psalmist is telling God that he knows that He loves His people! His love protects them from looking toward other "false gods" or lesser things to worship or to fill themselves up. His approval provides a solid place on which to build their lives.
My husband’s approval delights me. God’s approval knocks my socks off. These dependable relationships allow me the freedom to be me and to express my one little life fully in the joy of a protected one. I live thankful... amazed, really, because it feels so undeserved and unearned.
I encourage you. If you don’t feel solid with God, go to the Bible and find out what He really thinks of you. A few places to start might be: Zephaniah 3:17 (he takes delight in you), Jeremiah 31:3 (he loves you with an everlasting love), 1 Peter 5:6-7 (he cares for you). These may be difficult to comprehend. If you can’t get your heart around them, then read about what Jesus did so that God could love you like this. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)
And my husband? He's gotten better at telling me that I look nice. I have to be patient and let him express himself the way he is comfortable. But this far into this marriage thing, I know how he feels about me and I rest in the comfortable grace that surrounds and protects us both.