Greet one another with a kiss of love. — 1 Peter 5:14
I once heard a professional counselor speak who declared that she could tell a lot about the health of a marriage by how a couple greets one another. I thought, at the time, that was a mighty bold statement! How many times have I come into the house, knowing that my dear husband was home, and stopped to check the answering machine first—or go through the mail—or checked email. . . . and then hollered out, not knowing which room he was in, that I was home. What’s wrong with that??
But I could see it from the other side, too. Used to be when my husband got home I was ready to bombard him with all of the things that he “missed” while gone, and giving him my to-dos to fix immediately (an error message on the computer, problem with the kids’ projects, funny noise coming out of the heat pump). This day’s dare was a gentle, okay—not so gentle, reminder that better would be to give him a hug, tell him how glad I am that he’s home, ask him about his day. . . . and then let the details of the hour be addressed.
I’ve experienced this over the phone, too, with acquaintances who call to ask a question or to pass along information. They jump right into the message . . . and I have learned to stop and ask how they are doing before connecting with the answer or acknowledgment. We teach our children telephone manners, but have you ever had an adult call you and not even identify themselves, assuming that you know who they are? Love would have us try harder.
How do you try harder to initiate or close communication when you’re deployed? How do you “greet” your spouse with love when separated by such a time and distance? You’re wanting to say “Good Night” and they’re wanting to say “Good Morning.” It may take practice—but I have learned that this particular kindness goes a long way in promoting peace in a relationship.
Enhancing your method of greeting over email or telephone may mean something simple. For example, instead of saying “Hi Babe” add “Hi Babe—I missed you today.” Or “The first thing I did this morning was to look at your picture. It got my day off to a good start.” If you communicate in the evening you can close in a similar way “I’ll look at your picture before I go to sleep. I’m sure it will give me sweet dreams.” Sappy? Perhaps . . . but isn’t that a more loving approach to greeting each other than just “Hey.” As married couples, we have invested our entire lives and futures in each other—why not make them as pleasant as possible? And isn’t it likely that if your spouse knew that you were really glad to “speak” with them that it might make their day go better?
Here is today’s dare during deployment: Greet your spouse today, by email or phone, with enthusiasm and a “smile.”
In the Bible, we can read many such greetings, especially in Paul’s letters. Here are scriptural examples to encourage you in truth:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Corinthians 1:3,4
Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints . . . — Colossians 1:3,4
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. — 2 Peter 1:1,2
Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name. — 3 John:14b
Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey Him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! — Paul’s closing statement of Romans 16:25-27