Yesterday night I got to have a longer quiet time than usual because of one person.
He let me rest as soon as I got home, got his hands to work again. This time, he took upon everything. I know it was INTENTIONAL. His work is demanding too. Mentally and physically, so I know it wasn’t just about obligation – it ran deeper than that.
He took out our girl for a bike ride, played with her, gave her a warm shower, ran around with her, played, built tiny houses, played peek-a-boo, hide and seek and let me not forget the part of her trying to shave off his beard!
All the while, I was tucked in our warm duvet.
It had been a really long day for me and what he did etched so deeply in my mind, it will take me a lifetime of service to repay everything back. But how could I ever pay back?
The debt is too great to be tangible anyway. I can only ask of the Lord to help me love him with the kind of love that reminds him of Christ, a love that will make him know that he’s valued above all. It reminded me again of Ephesians 5. The beautiful letter of Paul to the church of Ephesus on the instructions to the church, the masters, husbands, wives, servants and children.
But am interested in the instructions to the husband. The Lord calls a husband to love his wife as his own body. Nourish, protect, cherish, and love.
Sacrificial love nourishes.
You may tell me, “Mary, you guys seem to be perfect, you have figured all out! “
No, we are not perfect, but what we do best is persevere. We press on with intentionality. We refuse to give up or give in – not by own strength, but by His grace.
We are just but marriage “practitioners” who happened to have an opportunity to show our scars and impact (hopefully) lives of beautiful souls.
There is no “easy” in the land of marriage.
Nothing in marriage is done without intentionality.
The Bible says this in Ephesians 5: 28, 29
Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.
Men generally love and look out for themselves. I have never seen a man hate himself not matter how unappealing he looks.
Some spend a fortune on themselves. Getting the latest fashion trends in town and investing so hard on cars or status symbols that they otherwise parade – for show off or to feed their otherwise starved or oversized ego.
Whichever way, they love themselves.
As a man you love yourself.
But why then is it so hard to love someone else – that person being a beautiful being that God joined you to?
As I pondered on this question, I remembered the word in 1st Peter 3:7
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
Here’s the thing, the reason why a husband finds it so hard to love his wife is because he doesn’t live with her in “understanding.”
Understanding requires hard work of which most husband’s do not like to invest in.
How do you gain understanding? By spending time with her to know what makes her tick. By listening to her. By increasing your time together. By learning her language of love.\By observing her and understanding her patterns.
It’s hard work, and that’s what most men run away from.
No we don’t need FIXING, we need UNDERSTANDING.
If you learn that she appreciates gifts, then put your energy in gifting her!
We never get tired of hearing the 3 magical words! “I will help”, “I will cook!”, “Go sleep now!” of course, “I love you!”
Notice how God calls husbands to love their OWN wives! Not someone else’s. There is no room for looking outside your marriage covenant. You need to till your own land.
You need to cultivate your OWN family.
You need to nourish your OWN wife.
You need to protect your OWN wife.
You need to invest in your OWN wife – and make your wife and marriage a priority.
You need to love your OWN wife as you love yourself.
You should be willing to love her through the seasons, protect her with your strength and your provision should surpass the material gains of this world.
You need to love her soul, her heart, her life, her body (and all the changes that have happened), her calling, her all. There should be no one out there who moves towards her with a focused energy like you.
You don’t get to pass your Christ laden burden of loving her to someone else, since you don’t want the hard work!
You should touch her innermost being and overwhelm her with your kindness for nothing is the ultimate personification of the gospel like the marriage covenant.
Your mind should be on her. When people see you, they should see her because you have projected her as your main and only agenda.
Well, it’s easy to think that once you say, “I will love her right”, things will automatically fall in place. It’s not just about trying harder, it’s all about relying on the power of the Holy spirit.
Only the Holy spirit can rid of the pride, the chauvinism, the ego-centrism, or perhaps the “tyranny of urgent” that tends to spin you off the radar, pulling you towards others and not your family.
Allow Christ to teach you how to live in understanding with your own wife and he will teach you how to love her sacrificially.
Marriages work, but you need to work it out intentionally.
Nourish your wife.