Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill. This is the second post in the series called: The Chronicles of Marriage. Please come back next week for part 3.
Love ever gives,
And ever stands
With open hands.
And while it lives
For this is love’s prerogative
O give, and give, and give. by: John Oxenham
The concept of love is multi-faceted in expression and experience. If you were to poll 100 people for a definition of love, undoubtedly you would likely receive 100 different answers. Why? Because we all give and receive love differently.
The salient differences become even more pronounced when discussing how men and women express love. As men, we tend to get a bum rap when it comes to understanding and expressing our love. As I pondered why this was, and began to search out reasons for this paradigm, I came across an astounding model of love. There is a fascinating species of the bird family we’re all familiar with called the penguin, which changed my perspective about a man’s responsibility to exhibit love.
Searching For A Soul-Mate
Is there a such thing as a soul-mate? This question is definitely a hot topic of discussion, especially during this season. I don’t really subscribe to the vox populi as it relates to soul-mates. Most people believe that a soul-mate is a singular person that is meant for you, and no one else, and if you don’t find that one person in the whole, wide world, then you’ll never really know true love. I do believe, in many cases, God gives us the ability to choose who we love, and based on that decision, we grow in love with that special someone for the rest of our lives.
I am definitely an advocate for monogamy, and this is where penguins shine. Generally speaking, penguins are monogamous. Once they choose a partner, they stick with them. Some species (i.e. the Adelie Penguin) even keep the same partner for life. It appears that there are certain laws of attraction in play when it comes to choosing a potential mate. We all have different things that we are attracted to, but there are certain common threads of attraction among the sexes. Woodrow Wyatt once stated,
“A man falls in love through his eyes, a woman through her ears.”
When it comes to finding a suitable partner, I believe it boils down two things:
These two things together act as a compass for finding “the one.” Don’t make it exclusively about one or the other. Utilize both prayer and attraction to guide you to that right someone. I remember the first time I laid eyes on my wife. I sensed an amazing initial attraction to her that I couldn’t articulate. It was like when I saw her, I just knew I had to meet her. Our first conversation reaffirmed that attraction and the rest is history. Thinking back to those moments, I ask myself, when did I know I loved my wife? Was it a feeling? Was it butterflies? No. Although these feelings were (and still are) present, feelings are fleeting; they come and go. I knew I loved my wife when I chose to love her. I believe when we mutually chose to love each other, we became soul-mates at that moment. I chose to surrender to love’s work within me when I first saw my wife, and later realized that it was love in its infant stages. One day my wife asked me “How do you know you love me?” My answer: Because I choose to love you. I don’t believe in love at first sight in the traditional sense, but I do believe in love at the point of decision, which can take place “at first sight.” When you choose to love someone, that is the most powerful aphrodisiac there is. Choosing to love a person, just because you want to, is like Super Glue; it holds you together forever.
Submitted To Sacrifice
The penguin shows us a powerful picture of paternal piety. Once the female penguin lays the egg (usually 1-2), she hands it over to the male penguin, and departs in search for food. The male penguin incubates the egg carefully by balancing the egg on the top of his feet in a body pouch for up to 70 days.
During this time, all of the male penguins gather together in a huge huddle and brace themselves for some of the harshest conditions on Earth while incubating the delicate eggs. Temperatures drop as low as -40 degrees with shearing winds. Huddling in a group is the only means of survival during this period. While the female penguins are absent in search of food, the male penguins patiently await their return, which can take up to 2-3 months. By the time female penguin returns, the male penguins will have gone a full four months without food, and lost roughly half of their body weight. How about that for sacrifice? This brings true perspective to sacrificial love.
Sacrifice requires love, and love is an investment. When we, as husbands and fathers, invest our love into our families, we reap love compounded, and this is one of the greatest returns on an investment. Love always softens the blow of sacrifice.
Sensitivity To My Spouse
As a husband, I am realizing daily the importance of knowing my wife’s voice. By voice, I don’t mean the tone of her voice, but rather the heart of her voice. Can you hear what your spouse is really saying when they communicate certain things to you? I encourage you to invest some time learning your partners love language. (Recommended reading: The Five Love Languages by: Gary Chapman)
The 5 languages are as follows:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
When the group of female penguins return from feeding, they call out to their mates in the huddle. Amazingly, each male penguin recognizes the voice of his partner when she calls. He is so sensitive to his partner, that he knows the sound of her voice among the hundreds of other female penguins. When we learn this type of remarkable sensitivity, I believe we will fulfill our roles as husbands, and become amazing lovers.
In conclusion, whether you want to admit it or not, your partner is a reflection of you. You chose your partner based on your value system, because what you value is what you seek. When you come into contact with that special someone who speaks to your value system, they become irresistible.
Love is a choice, so let’s take a lesson from the penguin and choose to love for life.
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