“Did you see the owl over by the swamp?” My ears perked up – I LOVE OWLS!! I have seen them in the wild only a couple of times, and my whole being shook with excitement.

Great Horned Owls are majestic, powerful, huge, and become nearly invisible, camouflaged in the bare branches of a tree. And we saw TWO of them! If we had not had that brief conversation with a couple of strangers in the park, we would have totally missed this glorious sight.

Why did this couple tell us about the owl? They weren’t telling everybody. The answer is really very simple. We were carrying binoculars. We might as well have had a sign around our necks saying “we’re birders.” This is what spurred them to share their exciting find. I’m so glad that they did!

Did you know you inform people all of the time about what matters to you? Sometimes it’s deliberate, like a political bumper sticker or logo-laden clothing. Sometimes it’s more subtle, like carrying binoculars or wearing a Toastmasters pin; or a gentle hug that shows your love for your spouse.

Some people will miss your message altogether. However, someone might cross your path that catches on and adds to the quality of your journey by saying, “Did you see the owl by the swamp?”

What message do you give about your marriage? When people know that you value your marriage they are more likely to tell you about a retreat they attended, a great book they read, or a CD that made a huge difference for them. Every now and then someone points us to the owl we otherwise would have missed. So, how do we inform people that our marriages are important to us? Wearing your wedding ring is a start. Don’t take for granted this symbol of unity and eternity. Spending time together – walking, dating, dancing – declares that you value each other. As a subscriber, you’ve read my posts in the hope that they will add to the quality of your marriage, showing that your marriage matters.

Let me suggest a couple of more deliberate actions to affirm the value of your marriage:

Brag about your spouse to others, especially when he or she is not around. This has an interesting way of getting back to your spouse. Of course, there are no guarantees, but if it does find its way back, what kind of response do you think your spouse would have? Will he feel respected and valued? Will she feel honored and cherished?

Affirm your spouse as often as you can. This sends the “I love you” signal and helps you to appreciate the good things about him or her. I’m not suggesting you fool yourself into believing that your spouse is perfect. Instead, embrace the power to choose your focus, as Peter 4:8 instructs us, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Encourage another couple in their marriage. Invite them to a marriage event. Tell them about a romantic restaurant. Double date! Offer to watch the kids so they can get away. This affirms the value that you see in your marriage, and helps remind you to invest in your spouse and yourself.

Let me know if you want to see the Great Horned Owls. I’ll tell you where we saw them, and do what I can to help you enjoy them, too. Let me know if you want to invest in your marriage. I’ll tell you what has helped us, and do what I can to help you enjoy each other, too.