Autumn is almost here! Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love everything about it….the cool air, the changing colors of the leaves, and all the smells of fall….leaves burning, apple cider, pumpkin bread, and so many more.
Isn’t it interesting how smells can evoke emotion in us? When I think of the aromas I just mentioned, it makes me feel happy, warm, nostalgic. I love coffee, and one of the things I love about it is the aroma. The smell of coffee perking is one of my very early memories. My parents are both coffee drinkers, and there was almost always a pot on in our house. I love the smell, not only because it smells good, but because it reminds me of my home and family, of sweet companionship and good night kisses.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from “Facing the Giants”, and goes something like this, “Attitude is the aroma of your heart.” This is so true! An aroma is not something tangible, and yet it is really important. It helps us to identify things as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, even safe or dangerous. Aromas also have a great deal of influence in their surrounding environments. Attitudes are the same way! People may not be able to touch them or see them, but our attitudes identify us nonetheless, and our attitudes have a great influence on us and all those around us.
What about our homes, our marriages? Most of us love pretty perfumes and scented candles, but what about the aromas we are creating in our marriages?
What is the perception of my spouse?
Think about it this way, how would my husband describe me as if he were describing my attitude as a “scent”? Would I be more like a rose or a skunk cabbage? Would I be more akin to a hot cup of coffee or a cold cup of vinegar?
As women, our attitudes usually determine the atmosphere of our homes and families. Ever heard the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”? As a wife, if I have a “stinking” attitude, that odor will pervade everything about my marriage, and eventually everything about my entire family.
There are many attitudes we could discuss, but there are a few that are clearly commanded in the Bible. One, is that I am to have an attitude of reverence toward my husband (Eph. 5:33; I Pet. 3:2). If I have an attitude of disrespect toward my husband, it will create great problems in my marriage. Another attitude that goes right along with this is submission (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18). A wise person once said,
“Obedience is action; submission is attitude.”
In my own life I have found that I may be obedient, but still not have an attitude of submission. If I am not submissive, my attitude is not pleasing to the Lord.
One more attitude I would like to mention that we need to avoid is an attitude of contention (which will lead to being contentious in action). The book of Proverbs speaks much of the contentious, brawling, angry woman. It has nothing good to say about her. One interesting passage in light of this topic is found in Proverbs 27:15-16. ” A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.” Here we see that a contentious woman is annoying, and she cannot remain anonymous. Trying to hide her is like trying to hide the scent of a strong ointment…..it will tell on itself.
When I have a contentious attitude, it will reveal itself, and it will never be perceived as something pleasant. Do I always have to have the last word? Do I need to “speak my piece” about everything? Proverbs 25:24 says, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” I think sometimes we drive our husbands to their “corner”, and then wonder why they don’t want to come back out!
So, what do you think is your husband’s perception of your attitude toward him, and toward your marriage? Do you think it is positive – something sweet and attractive, or negative -something disgusting and repulsive?
What is the purpose of my scent?
Our attitudes reflect what is going on in our hearts. Just as a scent can whet our appetite, warm our hearts, and bring back memories, a good attitude can do the same. In our marriages, our attitudes can make our relationship with our spouse sweet, warm, and desirable. On the other hand, a “stinky” attitude can do just the opposite.
When there are difficulties in a marriage, they can sometimes be hard to define.
That is because many marriage conflicts are the result of attitudes more than actions.
An attitude of ungratefulness, of disrespect, of superiority, can often be the wedge that comes between a husband and wife.
You may say, “But you don’t know what kind of attitude my husband has.” That’s true, but the only person whose aroma you can change is your own. If your attitude begins to reflect the attitude of Christ, it will influence those around you. Aromas are pervasive. If you start a pot of coffee, you will soon be able to smell it, not just in the kitchen, but throughout the house. If you change your attitude, you will soon see the effects of that throughout your marriage.
The primary purpose of our “scent” is just like everything else in life – to be pleasing to Christ.
Then, in my marriage, it should be pleasing to my husband.
Finally, some practical suggestions.
On a practical note, think about using aromas in your marriage. Do you know what your husband’s favorite scents are? Do you know which ones he doesn’t like? What is his favorite perfume? Does he like candles? Fruity, flowery, warm and spicy? If you don’t know, find out! As I already mentioned, scents can evoke strong emotion. Find a “signature” scent that you only wear for your husband. Ask yourself, what aromas greet your husband when he walks in the door of your home? In your bedroom, does it smell like dirty socks, or a relaxing spa?
The strange woman of Proverbs is a horrible person, but one of the “tricks” she used to entice a man was the power of scent. She perfumed her bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.(Pro. 7:17). Now, I would never recommend that we have the attitudes or actions of a strange woman, but if we want to guard our marriages against the likes of her, we might want to consider trying to keep our husbands happy at home!
All the scented candles in the world won’t disguise a bad attitude. But if we work on the aroma of our marriages, first in our attitudes, then with some practical action, we may be surprised how much sweeter it will be.