Why I Prefer Not to Wear a Cape
By Justin Talbert
When my dad’s birthday rolls around, he says the same thing.
“Don’t get me anything. I’ve got all I need. I know where Best Buy is!”
But then we have his grandkids make him a craft. And, like magic, those crafts take up prime real estate in his office by day’s end.
We know him too well to fall for the annual ruse. And he savors it.
Every human has the longing to be known. Paid attention to. To experience someone picking up on details we don’t even know about ourselves.
But we’re all distracted. These days, humans are giving and receiving less attention. We’re less likely to look beneath “I’ll go to Best Buy.”
Social media isn’t helping. But we can’t blame our phones.
How do you hit mute on everything else demanding your attention? How do you offer your spouse an unhurried heart, allowing them the full weight of your attention, where they come alive?
Two words: human finitude.
See, I attend to my wife best when I understand my limits most: “Yeah, I’m no superhero” is a healthy mindset. And it’s not just that a flapping cape would get caught in the car door.
God made you finite on purpose. You will never complete the to-do list. There’s never enough time in the day. Nor do you possess an infinite supply of attention. No, you’re working with a limited resource.
Painstakingly study your spouse. Acknowledge them. Have you missed a key detail? What is your spouse saying but not meaning (like my dad)?
How can you, today, let them know that you’ve (a) noticed them and that (b) you like what you see?
The Good Stuff: My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.” (Song of Solomon 2:9-11)
Action Points: Take a moment right now to ponder your spouse. What’s something ultra-specific you can compliment them on when you next see them? (It could be a character trait.)
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