We had lived in Germany for a number of years before our first trip back to the United States. The flight was expensive for a family of five in 1993 living on a Captain's salary, so this trip was a big deal! We loved living in Germany, but we missed home. Germany is a beautiful, clean country that loves children and values family, and during our years in Germany, we spent many weekends with the kids completing volksmarches, which are basically long strolls through the woods. These were great, inexpensive ways to see Germany and explore its beautiful country side. We also loved the German food - schnitzel and spaetzle are delicious! I loved German bakery goods, but they did not begin to compare with good ol' melt-in-your-mouth Krispy Kreme doughnuts! They were the one thing my American heart, mouth and tummy craved. While living in Germany, we would often take a walk to the local bakery and try various doughnut-like German pastry items. My husband loved them, but I would turn up my nose and say, "Not as good as a Krispy Kreme!" I would daydream about those delicious, airy doughnuts, that when purchased HOT, literally thrill the senses! I also argued fiercely that a Krispy Kreme was nothing like a Dunkin' Donut - the inferior cousin to the Kreme King!
I grew up eating Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, so my desire was based on more than just the sugary concoction - I hoped. The doughnuts reminded me of home and my childhood. When I was young, my family took many trips down to southern Louisiana to visit my grandparents. We traveled there twice a year. We would leave around 10:00 pm. My brother and my two sisters and I would wrap ourselves in a blanket, with pillow in tow, and pile into the family station wagon. My dad drove all night as we would make our way down to the Louisiana coast. This was back in the 60's and 70's, and before safety belt laws, much less car seats. We would lay on the floor board, across the middle seat, and in the "way back," as we called the cargo compartment of the fake wood veneer-paneled wagon. We would be asleep before dad got beyond the city limits of our home town, and didn't wake up until 8-9 hours later as dad pulled into a Krispy Kreme somewhere near New Orleans - only a couple of hours from the homes of both sets of grandparents. It is a sweet memory, and to this day I still love these doughnuts and associate them with family and happiness.
So on our first trip home from Germany, both sets of parents, Jody's and mine, met us at the airport in Charlotte, NC. Before we left Germany, my Mom asked what I missed most about the US. I replied how much I hoped to taste a good ol' Krispy Kreme doughnut. So, Mom greeted me at the airport with a dozen glazed doughnuts. What a treat! It was great to be home with family, and once again the doughnut completed the picture and added to my joy - it met the craving of my heart. As I ponder all of the things my heart has craved through the years, I wish they had all been as simple as a donut. But our hearts, when not carefully guarded, have the potential to crave many less benign things. In today's society, we crave leisure and recreation like our grandparents craved the necessities of life. Because of the continuous bombardment of commercials, we find ourselves desiring the latest and greatest of everything. We are seldom content. Given the myriad of home improvement shows on TV, we all desire the perfect home, complete with the latest flooring, perfect shade of gray paint and stone counter tops. And don't get me started on Facebook. It lets us peek into the best moments of our friend's lives, and forces us to compare these with the undesirable parts of our own. These cravings, and our lack of contentment, are not invisible to those around us. People in your life know what you crave by your speech, by how you spend your time and money, and by what deeply moves your heart. Your spouse knows the true desires of your heart. So do your children and friends.
If you crave better accouterments, you probably discuss fashion, shop until you drop and wear out your credit card. If you crave recognition at work, you work longer hours, hoping to be noticed. You might even sacrifice outings and time spent with family and friends to get what your heart is longing for. If you are reliving your youth, or correcting some of your mistakes through your children, you may be craving success for them. If this is true of you, you are most likely way too involved in their school work and their friendships and all their goings-on! If you crave leisure and want to relax at all costs, you probably have a stack of unfinished projects that resemble work! If your crave money, you probably rarely pick up the tab when out with friends, and conveniently forget to take your checkbook with you to church on Sundays. I think you catch my drift. I can go on for days. But since this is a Christian blog on marriage, let's get to the truth about our desires for our marriage, which includes our desire for God and our spouse.
If you desire your marriage to be a true reflection of the Gospel, you will spend time separately and together with your spouse seeking after God through study of His word, through meditation and memorization of His precepts and through prayer and rest in His presence. You will discuss with your spouse ways in which you can reach out to others in times of need. You will use your resources for the kingdom! Your money and free time will be well spent investing in the lives of those around you. You will not hold grudges or be easily offended when brothers or sisters are not kind - you will turn the other cheek! If a Gospel-centered marriage is what you crave, it will be obvious to the whole world - your home will be a beacon of safety, salvation, joy, peace, and love! But If this is not your true desire, if this is something that you just talk about, it is obvious to all who know you. The words will be heard, but the beautiful mystery (Ephesians 5:31-32) will never be seen.
Now let me meddle just a little bit more - I pray you don't stop reading. I've tried twice to erase this part and not include it, but I find myself retyping it again and again. I believe it is what you may need to read, sweet friend, and I want to be obedient in my writing. If you are craving an intimate relationship with your spouse, it will also show and be apparent to all, especially your spouse. If your heart is filled with desire for your mate, your behavior will be that of a person who can't be satiated. Husbands, you will come home on time, excited to care for the little ones, and clean the kitchen because your desire is to serve your wife. When you walk in the house, you know what she needs. We are all different, so there is no play book. Sorry guys. If your desire is her, you will already be a student of her. You will know what she wants and needs. She may need a moment of peace or a lingering hug to feel loved and secure. She may need some conversation that requires more than, "uh huh," and instead includes insightful repartee and your complete attention. She may need to watch you father your children well in order to feel at ease. But there will not be a doubt in her mind that she is important and your priority! Love her with 150% of your interest and she'll always notice. She will know that she is your heart's desire.
Now wives, if your desire is truly for your husband, you need to know what makes him tick. It may be as simple as him being the king of the castle with everyone rushing to the door to excitedly greet him at the door when he comes home after a long day. He may need 30 minutes to unwind before he joins the family. It may mean that over dinner you compliment him in front of the kids, or the in-laws, etc. Toot his horn and leave no doubt that you are his number one fan. And sisters, although men have no play book, they are designed with intimacy needs that we cannot ignore. They need to be desired physically, and maybe even more, emotionally. Please do not place your man on the proverbial "to do" list. They'll know it, and it will sting. Instead, meet his needs with joy, creativity, spontaneity, and a smidge of black lace. Your husband will know by these actions that your heart's desire is for him. And he will walk on the clouds! In the same way, he will know he is "second fiddle," and that all of your best is given to the children or your ladies group. It is up to you to set the record straight.
Our heart's desire is something that can be cultivated. If in reading this post you realize, like I do sometimes, that something other than God has usurped the throne in my heart, spend some time on your knees. Confess the sin of worldly desires. God will be faithful to forgive and reclaim your heart. If you realize that your desire for your spouse has waned, seek God in this matter as well. Pray for God to rekindle your love and show you creative ways to demonstrate this love each and everyday! And if your heart craves Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you better exercise for hours, for a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips! Just keeping it real!
Keep reading friends! I pray that your marriage is a beautiful reflection of the Gospel, and a light in this dark, hate-stained world!
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.