I thought we knew, but we didn’t.
Nine years ago when I stood face to face with my husband and declared my vows in front of God and our families, I was head over heals, butterflies in my stomach in love with him. I still am…but it’s different now. I thought I knew exactly what love was then. The truth is, what I felt all those years ago pales in comparison to what I feel for him sitting here today.
Love isn’t always just a feeling. It’s also a choice. Boy am I thankful I made that choice. The best and most important choice I’ve ever made, second to giving my life to Christ.
I don’t do the roll of wife perfectly. I never will. But I truly feel I have come to a point in my life where I’ve realized what it takes to have a successful marriage. I have learned that I have to put Julie aside. It’s not always easy: setting myself and my selfishness aside to serve my husband. Yet it makes so much sense to me because I’ve seen it work. It works in my marriage. And it will work in yours as well. When I do this, a few things happen: My life is better. Jess’ life is better. Our marriage is better.
So how do we put ourselves aside?? Here are some of the ways I strive to serve Jess (again, I don’t do this perfectly, but can definitely see a difference in the strength of our marriage when I am intentional in serving).
- I pray that God will help me to love Jess the way that He loves him.
- I look for ways each day to make his day easier.
- I pray with him and for him (I’d like to add that I fully believe that praying for our husbands is the most powerful and effective service we can offer them. We are able to pray for them as no one else can, because we know them intimately as no one else does).
- I listen to him when he’s talking to me.
- I compromise.
- I quickly admit when I’m wrong (which is quite often).
In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives (we have four kids, so to say we are busy is an understatement), God does not want me to lower the standards of loving and serving my husband…
Thus my personal motto has become, Don’t give away to others what you have not first given away at home. This saying has served as a daily reminder of my God given priorities. I am to first, serve my husband, then my children, and then share with others…not the other way around. It’s easy to get this backwards sometimes. When the people in our homes are taken care of, loved, and served, it is then that we go to the church and out into our communities and tend to others. THAT is a wife’s job, priority and PRIVILEGE. That is what a wife after God’s own heart does.
Our calling as wife doesn’t hinge upon how faithfully our husbands are walking with the Lord. Although I’m thankful mine tries his hardest to let Him be leader of his life. Being called by God as the head of the home is not an envious burden. Our husbands shoulder responsibilities before God that are immense, not limited to but including the love they are called to give us. And although our eyes tend to naturally fall on areas in which our husbands need improvements, we should instead be looking for ways to bless them more with encouragement. As we intercede in prayer for them, our actions and attitudes will fall in alignment. As we speak words and practice actions that build up our husbands, we in turn revitalize our marriages (Ephesians 4:29).
Submission is a controversial word in Christian circles, but Ephesians 5:21 is clear we are to serve one another out of reverence and respect for Christ himself. When a husband and wife will place the needs and desires of his/her spouse ahead of their own, the marriage WILL thrive.
God knows that we cannot do this alone. We cannot be the wives HE has called us to be of our own strength. And thankfully, He does not expect us to. When self moves out of the way, then His spirit is free to take over. We are able to pray when we’re tired of praying, and love even when the feeling may elude.
We tend to overcomplicate our relationships at times, but if we’ll sincerely just love each other deeply, truly, selflessly, and wholeheartedly, love tends to overpower the imperfections and flaws that we all have. Love is patient and kind, so be patient and kind to your husband. Love is not jealous or proud, so be humble and selfless with your husband. It almost sounds too simple, and yet our selfish nature makes it so complicated. Simply love and serve one another, and your marriage will be so solid.
Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave. -MLK
Happy 9 years Jess Clark. All the prayers for many many many more together.