August 3, 1970
Every so often Nate and I stopped to analyze our marriage, hoping to always stay up-to-date with each other’s feelings. Several friends had married and were sorry they’d done so, and we never wanted to get to that place.
After these analyzing conversations, I always recorded the results in my journal. That way we could refer back or even re-set if necessary. As we approached our 25th birthdays, we decided the time was right for another moment of scrutiny.
One reason I was looking forward to the conversation was to apologize for something. Nate had always been a champion at complimenting me –whether it was something I did or the way I looked. I loved it, especially since each compliment usually came with a hug and a few kisses.
As for me, I wasn’t good at reciprocating. I felt a deep admiration for Nate and never tired of looking at the man I thought was the most handsome in the world. I often wrote complimentary notes about him in my journal, but often these praises didn’t reach his ears.
We talked at length, and my entry that night summarized our conversation:
I went on about trying to be honest with each other so that not even the slightest uneasiness could develop between us. Nate told me he didn’t feel “un-complimented” and assured me it wasn’t an issue with him. “I feel your love in lots of other ways, not just in compliments,” he said.
He followed that up with a string of fresh compliments for me… saying he loved my openness in marriage and my desire to be a good wife. He thanked me for loving him and, as always, expressed gratitude that I said yes to marrying him.
I knew no matter how I tried, I’d never be able to match Nate’s expertise as a complimenter. So I figured the only thing to do was to keep trying. I started by giving him a compliment on the heels of the ones he’d just given me: “You’re so good at making me feel secure in your love.”
It wasn’t the greatest, since there was a “me” in it, but it was a start. And if worse came to worse, I could always read to him from my journal:
“Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2)