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Well, Christmas Day has officially passed, and what a day it was.

As the parents of three children (ages four, three, and one), I must say that my wife and I had been anticipating this day for months. Outside of our youngest, we knew this was probably going to be the first Christmas our children could actually understand what this gift-giving, tree-decorating, light-hanging, eggnog-drinking, and last, but certainly not least, The Christmas Story / It’s A Wonderful Life Marathon-watching day was all about.

Like most families you and I know, our children woke up on Christmas Day at an ungodly hour to begin tearing through the gifts we laid for them under the tree. In fact, most of the gifts we had for them we had just finished wrapping just a few minutes before they woke up; a rather difficult feat since wrapping paper always seems to come with a built-in siren.

Just as we finished wrapping up the last box of toys, and sat down on the couch to rest and finally enjoy a silent night (courtesy of The Temptations), the stampede began! I reached for the video camera to quickly capture their reaction, but I was no match for them that day.

Box after box, the kids tore through the bows and wrapping paper as if they weren’t even there. As I watched the pile of wrapping paper grow taller and wider by the minute, my attention all of a sudden shifted away from the kids, and onto my wife.

What she was doing simply amazed me. In fact, it confused me.

My wife (Imani) was folding the wrapping paper.

I repeat; she was FOLDING the wrapping paper.

When I asked her why she was folding it, she responded with, “I want to KEEP some of it.” And when I asked her why she was keeping some of it, she then responded with, “Because I like this WRAPPING paper.” I suppose the face I was making at her demanded some further explanation, so she quickly added, “It’s PRETTY.”

I have to give credit where credit is due; God is truly a master at providing life lessons at the most awkward of times. Especially to those of us who are married.

It is amazing that when it comes to gift-giving, men and women are totally different. While most men prefer to put more emphasis on the gift, women, more often than not, tend to examine more how a gift is actually presented. You can travel to the most exotic resorts, dine at the most expensive of restaurants, and perhaps even walk that long green mile down to the jewelry store, but I promise you, if your gift is not WRAPPED in unconditional love and respect for your wife, it may be accepted, but overtime, rarely respected.

As husbands, what we fail to realize is that what we tend to THROW AWAY, our wives often have a desire to KEEP. As men, we are often consumed with being goal oriented, while our wives not only enjoy our goals, but the JOURNEY it takes to reach them.

{Wow. I just said a mouthful right there, but I’ll have to discuss that some other time!}

Today more than ever before, marriages across this country are being broken not for the lack of gift-giving, but how those gifts are actually being WRAPPED.

The unrealistic expectations many have prior to getting married concerning their spouses and what he or she NEEDS to be doing for them are rarely aligned with the kind of love and respect God commanded us to demonstrate towards each other in Ephesians 5:25-27v.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing by the word…

…and that He might (I love this part) PRESENT her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

As we finish up this Christmas holiday season, I encourage you to examine how you PRESENT your PRESENTS to your spouses next year.

Let’s take the initiative to cut any strings that remain attached to how we share our love with one another, and show those who have given up on the idea of marriage what a GLORIOUS church truly looks like.

Read more: http://elev8.com/daily-offerings/milanford/what-they-keep-we-often-throw-away/#ixzz0azqFRYR3