You’ve covered some serious ground so far in this journey. Learning to demonstrate aspects of love patience, kindness, and encouragement are not always easy but are certainly crucial to a healthy relationship. So dealing with the way you greet your spouse each day may seem inconsequential, but this small issue carries surprising significance.
You can tell a lot about the state of a couple’s relationship from the way they greet one another. You can see it in their expression and countenance, as well as how they speak to each other. It is even more obvious by their physical contact. But how much importance should you give a greeting?
The Bible has more to say about greetings than you might expect. The apostle Paul took time to encourage his readers to greet one another warmly when they met. In fact, near the end of his letter to the Romans, he asked fellow believers to greet twenty-seven of his friends and loved ones for him. He even took time to list each one by name.
It’s not just about your friends, however. Jesus noted in His Sermon on the Mount that even pagans speak kindly to people they like. That’s easy for anyone to do. But He took it a step further and said that being godly included being humble and gracious enough to address even your enemies with kindness.
This raises an interesting question. How do you greet your friends, coworkers, and neighbors? How about acquaintances and those you meet in public?
You may even encounter someone you don’t necessarily like yet still acknowledge them out of courtesy. So if you’re this nice and polite to other people, doesn’t your spouse deserve the same? Times ten?
It’s probably something you don’t think about very often – the first thing you say to him or to her when you wake up in the morning, the look on your face when you get in the car, the energy in your voice when you speak on the telephone. But here’s something else you probably don’t stop to consider – the difference it would make in your spouse’s day if everything about you expressed the fact that you were really, really glad to see them.
When someone communicates that they are glad to see you, your personal sense of self-worth increases. You feel more important and valued. That’s because a good greeting sets the stage for positive and healthy interaction. Like love, it puts wind in your sails.
Think back to the story Jesus told of the prodigal son. This young, rebellious man demanded his inheritance money and then wasted it on foolish lifestyle. But soon his bad choices caught up with him, and he found himself eating scrapes in a pigpen. Humbled and ashamed, he practiced his apologies and tried to think of the best way to go home and face his father. But the greeting he was expecting was not the one he received. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed” (Luke 15:20).
Of all the scenarios this young man had played out in his mind, this was likely the last one he expected. But how do you think it made him feel to receive his father’s embrace and hear his thankful tone? He no doubt felt loved and treasured once again. What do you think it did in their relationship?
What kind of greetings would make your mate feel like that? How could you excite his or her various senses with a simple word, a touch, a tone of voice? A loving greeting can bless your spouse through what they see, hear, and feel.
Think of the opportunities you have to greet each other on a regular basis. When coming through the door. When meeting for lunch. When saying good-night. When talking on the phone.
It doesn’t have to be bold and dramatic every time. But adding warmth and enthusiasm gives you the chance to touch your mate’s heart in subtle, unspoken ways.
Think about your greeting. Do you use it well? Does your spouse feel valued and appreciated? Do they feel loved? Even when you’re not getting along too well, you can lessen the tension and give them value by the way you greet them.
Remember, love is a choice. So choose to change your greeting. Choose love.
Greet one another with a kiss of love.
– 1 Peter 5:14
Think of a specific way you’d like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.