A friend in North Carolina introduced me to “standing for your marriage” as a concept and movement. I had always known there were those who refused to give up on their dying or dead marriage—but I had never heard it called “standing”. Since then I have paid close attention to articles, books, websites, testimonies, and seminars about standing. I know in the military community the stresses on a marriage can cause either the husband or wife—sometimes both—to say, “Enough! I’m done!”
Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
A wise son brings joy to his father . . . — Proverbs 10:1a
It’s unusual for a wife to speak at her husband’s military retirement ceremony.
More “normal” is for him to give her a gift—maybe a bouquet of roses—and then speak about her sacrifices as a military wife. Then she usually receives a commendation—pictures are made with her—and much applause is given to her, as it should.
So when I heard about this poem, recently included in the printed retirement program of a dear friend, I was impressed and thought, “This is excellent AND praiseworthy. We need to share this.”
Not that his wife physically spoke at the ceremony, but she may as well have. Because these words speak volumes about this man’s character. They also speak volumes about their relationship—his love for her . . . and her respect for him.
The Man I Know
I know you thought you and your Dad would be here on this day
But it appears God had another plan.
I know if Dad was here he’d whisper in your Mom’s ear to say
“Our son has made me one proud man.”
I know the values Dad tried to instill while you & Sister were growing up.
It is evident in what you say & do.
I know Dad taught you to be the husband I can trust
And the father our children can look up to.
I know this season is coming to an end and another about to start.
So much you wanted your Dad to see.
You know although Dad’s residence has moved from Detroit to your heart.
He still sees you being the man God called you to be.
With unshakable Love, Michelle
This wife was pronouncing a blessing—something we find in Scripture. In John Trent and Gary Smalley’s classic book, The Blessing, we are told, “Abraham spoke a blessing to Isaac. Isaac spoke it to his son Jacob. Jacob spoke it to each of his twelve sons and to two of his grandchildren. Esau was so excited when he was called in to receive his blessing because, after years of waiting, he would finally hear the blessing. Later, the apostle Paul wrote eloquent words of blessing to growing churches all over the Roman Empire. In the Scriptures, a blessing is not a blessing unless it is put into words and actually communicated.” p. 76
Under the heading “The Power of Words” these authors go on to write, “If you are a parent, your children desperately need to receive words of blessing from you. If you are married, your wife or husband needs to receive words of love and acceptance on a regular basis. This very week with a friend, a coworker, or someone at your church, you will rub shoulders with someone who needs to receive words of encouragement.”
Do you believe words are important? Scripture says, “The tongue has the power of life and death . . . “ (Proverbs 18:21a).
Whether spoken or written (sometimes written is even more powerful because letters can be kept and re-read), words shared can either lift up a spirit—bringing “life”—or cast down a spirit—causing “death”. No doubt we have all experienced both.
During deployment, words of blessing—of life—might sound something like:
- “You are doing a great job of ‘holding down the fort’ while I’m gone. Thanks for your positive attitude even when it’s tough.”
- “Your unit is fortunate to have someone like you who works so hard.”
- “Thank you for standing by me so faithfully during these difficult assignments.”
- “We are all so proud of you. You’re being very courageous.”
Blessing someone with your words goes beyond just encouragement (“I know you can do it!”) and speaks to the character of a person (“I have seen you endure and persevere during tough times. I know you can do it!”).
Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book The Five Love Languages, writes that “verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love” (p. 39). And in Dennis Rainey’s book The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents, we read how to put words together to honor our moms and dads.
Certainly blessing the people we love with our words is something we can all work on—it’s that important.
From John Trent and Gary Smalley’s book I mentioned models for blessings from Scripture. Yet another great example of a blessing in Scripture—that of God to His Son, Jesus—is described in 2 Peter 1:17, “For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’” And as Christians we long to hear the blessing conveyed by these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).
Thank you, Michelle, for honoring and blessing your husband at his retirement with such beautiful words. By doing so you are demonstrating for us the gift of blessing each other, with our words.
Chapman, Dr. Gary, The Five Love Languages (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 3rd printing, 2004)
Trent, Dr. John, and Gary Smalley, The Blessing (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 3rd printing, 2011)
Questions to Share:
1. Think of one character trait of your spouse which you admire. Thank God for your spouse and that trait specifically . . . and ask Him to bless your spouse today.
2. Tell your spouse what one quality in them you have thanked God for today, and why.