The Gift of Contentment

We don’t live in a world that values or encourages contentment. We’re constantly told that the grass is greener on the other side or the next best thing is just around the corner. As Christ followers, we are urged to be content. The Apostle Paul even shares the secret to contentment:

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)

Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is key to our contentment.  Our marriage is designed to be another source of contentment and that is easy to see when our spouse’s embrace becomes a personal oasis. Right now, my husband and I are growing in our ability to gift one another with calm and contentment. He is, has been, and always will be my favorite person. Often times, I find just being in my husband’s presence produces deep satisfaction. So much so, that I strive to just be with him and find that snuggling up next to him on the couch or at the end of the day leads to an almost audible sigh – all is right when we are together. The world is still crazy, the demands on our time are not reduced, but we can escape into one another.

When our schedules collided in a new way recently – I was speaking at a woman’s conference one day and he was teaching adult Sunday School the next – and we were each busy preparing in the days leading up to our events, I dreamt about us getting engaged. The story line didn’t follow our actual engagement, but in the dream, joy was bubbling over because being engaged meant that we had big plans of spending time together. The thought of just being with my husband brought great gratification.

Earlier this fall, my husband and I went on a 24-hour getaway.  We both felt relief when the date was set on the calendar and we knew some quality alone time was soon to come.  Barely any preparation went into our overnighter, but it was a wonderful time of refreshment. We napped, we read books, we were skin to skin, we talked without interruption – and we did it all together. There was a freshness of just being able to give one another our full attention, uninterrupted, without the routine demands of life. We were being still together.

I have to admit, I momentarily questioned whether we somehow didn’t maximize our time together by not making it a wild night that kept the neighboring room awake, but quickly concluded that the gift of being satisfied in each other’s presence is oh so valuable, too. Even though the physical aspects of our getaway were characterized by old favorites, we explored new territory emotionally and spiritually. My husband was surprised by my never before mentioned affection for Tom Kha Gai soup and I heard my husband’s heart with new clarity. We were refueled and made new memories.

One of the passages that addresses contentment in our marital relationship that has struck me again and again is Song of Songs 3:1-5.  In this section of Scripture, the bride to be is battling insecurity and questioning her lover’s feelings for her.  As their relationship gets serious, and her feelings for him are sure, she wonders whether he has fallen for her, too. The passage, which tells of a bad dream, says she goes out to find her lover, presumably to be reassured, and when she “found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go.” (Song of Songs 3:4) She didn’t blame him for making her to feel insecure or badger him about why he doesn’t say he loves her more often.  Instead, she was reassured and contented by his presence.  It’s simply beautiful.

The Bible certainly encourages us to be content and what a blessing it is when we choose to make our marriage a source of contentment in our lives.  I’m thankful for the oasis that I find in both God and my husband.  How have you experienced contentment in your marriage?

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