You’ve probably been in situations like myself, at conventions, seminars or other work related functions that include social time, sharing meals, drinks and light conversation unrelated to career and work topics. I enjoy these times, having the opportunity to know people on a more personal level and it strikes me that over the course of 20+ years, I can recall the people who’ve offered words of praise for their spouse.
I can recall them because they’ve been few. It seems much more common practice to disparage the spouse in their absence, ie “I’ve left the ball & chain at home this time”. Some comments are said with a smile, seeming to be light-hearted and seeking a laugh at the table, while others are down-right mean-spirited and have hushed the crowd. No matter the intensity of the comment, these types of remarks invite a foul air to the room.
Conversely, consider the words of St. John Chrystotom:
“For there is nothing which so welds our life together as the love of man and wife. For this many will lay aside even their arms, for this they will give up life itself. ...
...Because when they are in harmony, the children are well brought up, and the domestics are in good order, and neighbors, and friends, and relations enjoy the fragrance. But if it be otherwise, all is turned upside down, and thrown into confusion.” (emphasis mine)
At one such gathering, one man said to me with a smile (paraphrase) ‘She’s a good woman, long-suffering ....she has to be to stay with me’ Another one told me (paraphrase) ‘she’s the best thing to come into my life....God knows, we’ve been through a lot’ Still another wrote as his status on Facebook, “I am thankful for my wife who loves me, makes me a better person, makes my heart go crazy when I see her...she is where all of the GOOD comes from in our family”
The words of praise were said in their spouse's absence and, indeed, a lovely fragrance emanated from their hearts for all of who could hear/read. It’s much like casting a stone into still waters...simple words of praise, like the flowing ripples traveling to distant shores, convey grace and love to more hearts than you can imagine.
More precious than flowers, this is beautiful way to honor your wife ...praise her in her presence, but especially in her absence.
Painting is by Russian artist, Maria Pustovalova