This past year our family got our first dog. Our boys had been begging for a dog for years and finally this past summer we relented. Having a dog- well a 7 month old puppy- is just as crazy-making as I thought it would be. But it’s also as wonderful as we hoped it would be. Her name is Wonder and she’s the cattle-dog lab mix in the above photograph. I’m not a dog person but she is a cutie!
As any dog owner knows, one of the perks of having a dog is they are always happy to see you when you come in the door. It’s one of those things never fail to make you smile. The way the tail wags and the jumping and there’s so much happiness it really is like you came back from the dead. And usually whoever is being greeted returns the love to Wonder and tells her how much we missed her too. More jumping, more tail wagging, more kissing, more smiles.
A few months ago when Joe and I were going over our Re|Enagage lesson, we were asking each other ways that we can love and serve each other better. We occasionally can get lazy in answering that question and say, Aw, babe, you do such a great job loving me! Which is the truth- but not the best answer if you’re really wanting to grow. So we’re working on being more honest in saying, well, this is one area you can improve. (Keep it to one!)
Learning to ask and answer that question with grace has such power to grow your marriage! How can I be a better husband/wife? How can I love you better?
So I told him, “I would really like a Wonder Welcome more often!”
When I come home from somewhere, Joe is always great about saying, Hi honey! Are you okay, do you need help, from across the room. He’s not failing in this area at all. But in my mind, it was a place I wanted him to improve. I said I would like a little more of a welcome when I come home, for you to be more intentional and excited in greeting me. I love it when you get up right away and kiss me and tell me you’re happy to see me- it makes me feel very loved. You know, pretend you’re Wonder.
I love the ESV version of Romans 12:9 :
” Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
What a great challenge! To try to “one-up” each other in how much honor we can show. (And of course with our spouses, we can love with more than just “brotherly affection”!)
Family members coming and going is very commonplace. The more our kids get older, the more coming and going there is in our home! But that doesn’t mean we have to treat it as commonplace. There’s something special and life giving about a warm welcome home. To be greeted by someone who is truly excited to see you and not just with “Oh. Hey. It’s you.”
Being the husband that he is, Joe accepted the challenge. And now he hugs sand kisses and pants and wags his tail more often when I come home. 🙂 And that make me feel loved! In return, when Joe returns home, I’ve had to work on greeting him with joy and not a list of complaints or even worse, something I need him to do. That’s been my default. I can be excited to just see him and put my other worries on the back burner for that moment.
One simple way to honor each other is to give them a warm welcome. Leave no doubt in their mind that you are happy to see them! Take time from your day to say, “Welcome home! I’m really really happy to see you!” whether that’s said through a smile, a hug, a kind word, or a tail-wagging!
Do you have any family routines for greeting your spouse or family members when they return home?