Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Aroma of My Marriage

Happy Autumn! Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love everything about it....the cool air, the changing colors of the leaves, and all the smells of fall....leaves burning, apple cider, pumpkin bread, and so many more.

Isn't it interesting how smells can evoke emotion in us? When I think of the aromas I just mentioned, it makes me feel happy, warm, nostalgic. I mentioned earlier that one of the things I love about coffee is the aroma. It is one of my very early memories. My parents are both coffee drinkers, and there was almost always a pot on in our house. I love the smell, not only because it smells good, but because it reminds me of my home and family, of sweet companionship and good night kisses.

Our devotion this week began with thinking about our attitudes being like aromas. People may not be able to touch them or see them, but our attitudes identify us nonetheless. How can we apply this to our marriages?

I. The Perception of My Spouse

Think about it this way, how would my husband describe me as if he were describing my attitude as a "scent"? Would I be more like a rose or a skunk cabbage? Would I be more akin to a hot cup of coffee or a cold cup of vinegar?

Our attitudes determine the atmosphere of our homes and families. Ever heard the saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"? As a wife, if I have a "stinking" attitude, that odor will pervade everything about my marriage, and eventually everything about my entire family.

There are many attitudes we could discuss, but there are a few that are clearly commanded in the Bible. One, is that I am to have an attitude of reverence toward my husband (Eph. 5:33; I Pet. 3:2). If I have an attitude of disrespect toward my husband, it will create great problems in my marriage. Another attitude that goes right along with this is submission (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18). A wise person once said, "Obedience is action; submission is attitude." In my own life I have found that I may be obedient, but still not have an attitude of submission. If I am not submissive, my attitude is not pleasing to the Lord.

One more attitude I would like to mention is an attitude of contention (which will lead to being contentious in action). The book of Proverbs speaks much of the contentious, brawling, angry woman. It has nothing good to say about her. One interesting passage in light of this topic is found in Proverbs 27:15-16. " A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself." Here we see that a contentious woman is both annoying, and cannot remain anonymous. If you try to hide her, it's like trying to hide the scent of a strong ointment.....it will tell on itself. When we have a contentious attitude, it will reveal itself, and it will never be perceived as something pleasant. Do you always have to have the last word? Do you need to "speak your piece" about everything? Proverbs 25:24 says, "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house." I think sometimes we drive our husbands to their "corner", and then wonder why they don't want to come back out!

So, what is your husband's perception of your attitude toward him, and toward your marriage? Do you think it is positive, something sweet and attractive, or negative, something disgusting and repulsive?

II. The Purpose of My Scent

Our attitudes reflect what is going on in our hearts. Just as a scent can whet our appetite, warm our hearts, and bring back memories, a good attitude can do the same. In our marriages, our attitudes can make our relationship with our spouse sweet, warm, and desirable. On the other hand, odors can do just the opposite.

When there are difficulties in a marriage, they can sometimes be hard to define. Often that is because they are the result of attitudes more than actions. An attitude of ungratefulness, of disrespect, of superiority, can often be the wedge that comes between a husband and wife.
You may say, "But you don't know what kind of attitude my husband has." That's true, but the only person whose aroma you can change is your own. If your attitude begins to reflect the attitude of Christ, it will influence those around you. Aromas are pervasive. If you start a pot of coffee, you will soon be able to smell it, not just in the kitchen, but throughout the house. If you change your attitude, you will soon see the effects of that throughout your marriage.

The purpose of our "scent" is just like everything else in life. It is first of all to be pleasing to Christ. Then, in my marriage, it should be pleasing to my husband.

III. Some Practical Suggestions

On a practical note, think about using aromas in your marriage. Do you know what your husband's favorite scents are? Do you know which ones he doesn't like? What is his favorite perfume? Does he like candles? Fruity, flowery, warm and spicy? If you don't know, find out! As I already mentioned, scents can evoke strong emotion. Find a "signature" scent that you only wear for your husband. Ask yourself, what aromas greet your husband when he walks in the door (more on this on Thursday)? In your bedroom, does it smell like dirty socks, or a relaxing spa?

The strange woman of Proverbs is a horrible person, but one of the "tricks" she used to entice a man was the power of scent. She perfumed her bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.(Pro. 7:17). Now, I would never recommend that we have the attitudes or actions of a strange woman, but if we want to guard our marriages against the likes of her, we might want to consider trying to keep our husband happy at home!

To conclude, all the scented candles in the world won't disguise a bad attitude. But if we work on the aroma of our marriages, first in our attitudes, then with some practical action, we may be surprised how much sweeter it will be.

Tuesday's Topic: Take Time to Smell the.......Coffee!

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