I am an admitted neophyte in the ways of being a good husband. I’ve been in the church for years. I’ve had a lot of great teaching about manhood, womanhood, and marriage. I’ve read books and been to conferences. So has my wife. And yet, somehow we miss each other. Often.
For the 10 years we’ve been married, I’ve asked myself, “what is the deal, why must we go round and round”? A large part of our problem rests with me. I’ve struggled with being a good leader. I thought I knew what a good leader was, but I’m convinced now that I’ve not understood the most important part. Eph. 5:22-24 says, “husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her”. I’ve never fully understood how to make this verse translate to my marriage, because what Jesus does for the church is so multifaceted. When my wife does something which hurts me, I become sullen and angry. I quit serving her because she doesn’t deserve it.
The insight I think I’m getting comes from Rom 5:8 in tandem with Eph. 5:22-24. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. In other words while I was doing horrible defiant acts to God, He died for me so that I might know a better life with Him. So, how did Christ love the church? Yes He came, He put aside His glory to do so, but the greatest love He showed was doing all this WHILE I was fully indulging myself in things that hurt Him. He went first. The take home point for me is to do the same for my wife. I’m to go first. I’m to forgive. I’m to serve. I ‘m to show love. Whether she deserves it or not. To quote Tommy Nelson, “the measure of my behavior is never to be the behavior of my wife”.
Gentlemen, this is first rate man stuff. If you’re like me, you’ll have to bite your lip off trying not to respond. Especially if you feel she’s been disrespectful to you (you’ll know it’s disrespect because it’ll make you mad as a hornet). The parting thought is, it’ll take Jesus help to get you through this if you’re like me. I’ve taken a few wobbly baby steps, but really do believe that this “going first” is the bedrock of true manhood and the exit off the round and round behaviors I’ve been engaged in for so long. I’ll let you know.