I’m the kind of person who likes to give the perfect gift. I always want each gift to be as unique as the person who receives it. So when my husband’s fiftieth birthday was approaching, I found myself praying weeks ahead of time for inspiration. I just wasn’t sure what to get him.

Drew loves history, so I thought a book might be nice. Thick warm socks are always a favorite. (I know socks don’t sound very exciting, but my husband loves them.) Those ideas weren’t bad for a normal birthday. However, for his fiftieth I wanted to do something memorable that would last well beyond his birthday — a gift that would tell him how much I loved him and how thankful I am for his influence in my life.

I started thinking of things that would influence me. Drew knows that I love the written word. Words have such power. They can calm a heart, share truth, or cut like a knife. They can brighten your day or haunt you with their bitterness.

I appreciate having his special words of love for me recorded in “black and white.” That’s probably why I’m always so excited to get a card or note from him. I treasure each one because they are tangible reminders of the love that sustains us on our journey together. Words don’t cost anything. And yet when used the right way words are priceless, truly a gift of the heart … and perfect for this occasion!

A Statement of Love

My idea was to create a collection of words that would tell the story of our 25 years together. Much more than a romantic love letter, this “Statement of Love” would describe why I loved my husband, detailing the character qualities that make him a man of honor and esteeming him for the choices he has made in life. I wanted this statement to recall the good things we have shared as well as the challenges that have brought depth to our marriage. Here is an example from my statement to Drew:

Before we were even married you asked my opinion about giving more money than I had ever seen, to the Jesus Film. Money you had earned, that I had no part in, and yet you included me. That was one of the first qualities I discovered, your generosity. From school children to worldwide ministries, your desire to give has always been a joy to others.

There are so many other qualities that I admire in you. Your creativity, that makes me look like I’m not creative at all compared to you. Your entrepreneurial spirit and original thinking; just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t stop you. You have a sense about you that you can do anything and that’s pretty much true from what I’ve seen. You’ve used that “I can do it” spirit along with your vision and leadership skills to inflame the hearts of many men and women to make their lives count for Christ. The reason they believe you is because you truly believe they also can do anything, as they trust our great God. Your nurturing qualities that cause you to plant trees, grow roses, and invest in the lives of young couples. Your faithfulness, your intuition, your servant heart towards me, the list goes on and on.

I spent weeks working on it. Once the writing was completed I had my “Statement of Love” printed, matted, and framed and gave it to my husband for his birthday. To say he was overwhelmed would be an understatement. “This is my best present ever,” Drew said with tears in his eyes.

A couple of years later, when I turned 50, I received my best present ever. Even though I had written a Statement of Love for my husband, I didn’t have any idea he would write one for me. When Drew handed me the frame I was speechless. His Statement of Love contained words of love for me, but more importantly it explained why he loved me. It was the story of our lives together told from his perspective.

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Nowadays, both “Statements of Love” are displayed in our foyer, hanging on either side of a picture of my husband and me in our first year of marriage. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into our home. These statements are filled with words of intimate understanding, encouragement, and an appreciation for all God has done in bringing us together.

Unfortunately, in our busy day-to-day lives we don’t often stop to tell each other all that is in our hearts, but our “Statements of Love” are readily available for us to read. Often after we’ve had an argument we meet each other at the frames. We stand together, reading our “Statements of Love,” and instantly our perspectives change and our commitment to each other strengthens.

Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Our “Statements of Love” are a testimony of our unity — two people becoming one. They are black and white documents of the miracle of marriage — a unique gift from God.

Writing Your Own Statement of Love

I would like to encourage you to write a statement of love to your spouse. Choose a special occasion to give it as a gift, and then start working on it. Don’t wait until the last minute — take your time, and make it special. Before you begin, ask yourself a few questions:

1. What characteristics do I love about my spouse?
2. What special memories do we have together?
3. What challenges have we gone through together?
4. How has my spouse changed me for the better?

This is not the time to be critical or sarcastic. This is your chance to pour out your heart. As you write, don’t worry about editing. Just put everything down, and then start rearranging. Soon, you’ll have a lovely document of love for the one you love most.

Used with permission of FamilyLife, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, www.familylife.com.

Copyright © 2007 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.