By Branden DesCarpentrie

Every morning I walk past it.  It hangs on our bedroom wall next to the bathroom door…my poem.  The verses are romantic and filled with prose expressing how beautiful my wife is, how much she means to me, and how incredible I think she is.  When my two oldest children were just babies, we did not have much money at Christmas, so I wrote this poem, matted it, and framed it for her.  I thought I was a genius.  After all, who writes a poem for their wife after 6 years of marriage?  I was expecting tears of joy and thankfulness for how romantic I was.   She opened it, read it, and was very polite…but not much more.  We hung it on our bedroom wall, and it moved with us to Little Rock.

A few weeks ago (and years later), we were reminiscing, and I finally asked about her less than gushing reaction to my penned feelings.   She looked at me and gently said, “That’s because the words were not reality.  They were beautiful, but what you expressed in the poem didn’t match how you treated me.”  What she said hurt, not because it was unkind, but because it was true.  During that time in our married life, the best of myself was given to our kids and my job.  What was left was given to her:  short temper, weariness, poor communication, insensitivity…the list could go on.

Here is what I learned after 12 years of marriage.  A jerk who can write an occasional rhyme is not nearly as impressive to your wife as a man who consistently uses kind words.   An absentee husband with flowers on special occasions does not mean as much to your wife as a man who makes regular time for her.   Begrudgingly doing the dishes once a week is not the equivalent of regularly communicating how much you value her.

So back to the poem on the wall.   Now that I am a bit better husband, I have thought about replacing that poem with another one.    But I have decided I like it…it reminds me of this: don’t expect my wife to fawn all over me for a five minute romantic gesture after months of ungodly behavior.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18).
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered (Proverbs 17:27).
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4: 29).
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…(Ephesians 5:25)