Strength for the Soul

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR COUPLES: SEVEN WAYS TO SPLURGE ON YOUR SPOUSE EVEN WHEN MONEY IS TIGHT

When Couples Walk Together book cover

When was the last time you really splurged on your spouse?

We don't seem to have a problem splurging on our children when they do something fantastic, or on a best friend or someone who has helped us out a great deal. But how often do we take the time or money or effort to pour it on for the one we are married to?

Some couples are able to splurge on each other all the time. But having always lived on a pastor's salary, we've never been able to splurge regularly on each other, especially when it comes to spending money. Thankfully, splurging on each other doesn't have to take a lot of money. You can splurge by being creative and working with what you have. That's what Hugh did the other night during another one of those "tight budget" weeks.

We were getting ready to watch a movie. Hugh likes eating ice cream while watching movies. But we had only enough for one of us. I conceded. I didn't need it anyway. And really, I was fine going without the extra calories. But Hugh, to my surprise, got an idea. He told me to get the movie ready and not come into the kitchen. In the meantime he whipped up a treat for mea banana split complete with the remaining ice cream, slices of our last banana on either side of the dish, some chocolate syrup and some blueberries. It was creative. It was a sacrifice (because he went without any that night) and it was a splurge. Banana splits never tasted so good!

Splurging on the one you love implies going the extra mile, whether it be effort-wise, financially, sacrificially or with your time. You are giving beyond what you normally would because the one you love is priceless.

God set the splurging model for us, when He lavishly loved us by sending us His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. In 1 John 3:1 we read of how God splurged on us: "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" He set the splurging bar rather high when He spared no expense in sending His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. We're also told in the Bible that God is able to do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." (Ephesians 3:20). That is not a God who holds out on us. That's a God who splurges to show just how "wide and long and high and deep" His love is for us (Ephesians 3:18) If God lavishes that kind of love on us daily, can you splurge a little to show the extent of your love for each other?

To splurge on each other does not mean heaping material blessings on your spouse, although you might take that approach once in a great while. Here are seven ways you can splurge on each other when money is tight:

1. Save it Up Rich and Ashley save their spare change in a jar all throughout the year. Then every Valentine's Day they take the entire contents of the jar and spend it on a special date for the two of them. This past year, they had more than $100 in the jar and Ashley thought about only spending part of it on dinner and using the rest on something the family might need. But Rich insisted that was their splurge money and so they had dinner that night at a very expensive restaurant they wouldn't ordinarily have been able to visit. So now, each year, they can truly splurge on Valentine's Day.

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