The words intentional and consistent continue to come to mind often. You can listen here to a thought I had about them. I continue to realize the impact those two words have on my health physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally.
Most recently, I was thinking about those two words in the context of marriage and a verse was brought to my mind. Ephesians 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Did you catch that? Husbands: L-Y-W (love your wife). This is one of the most challenging and most inspiring verses I have encountered in scripture. It seems impossible to do but is it? What if I as a husband, I could practically – not perfectly – walk this verse out for the lifetime of my marriage? How would that change: (1) my view of my wife (2) my marriage (3) my kids (4) other men around me and heck (5) the view of my own self.
I will not speak for other husbands but I read that verse and think; “There is no way I can do that. I ain’t Jesus.” And if deeply honest with myself, the reason why is that I wonder what I get in return? Is it really worth the effort put out? That may sound selfish but many times – as much as I try not to – my love can be self-motivated. Here is the deal, I want to love my wife well – not saying perfectly – but well. I heard a quote one time that made consider how well I love my wife. It stated, “You can tell the spiritual depth of a man by the countenance of his wife.” So I must consider; what is Jen’s countenance and how does it reflect on my love or lack thereof.
As I process this verse, I wonder, “Is it possible? Is it really doable to love my wife as Christ loved the church.” As I considered that question, a verse came to mind. John 14:12-14 reads, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” If this verse is true and I believe it to be true, then I can do ‘even greater things.’ I think we look at this verse and think missions, revivals, church plants, etc…but what if one of the most foundational ‘greater things’ is for husbands to love their wives? Would that not be world changing? Then I look at the verse again and it states, “…ask anything in my name and I will do it…” What am I asking for as a husband that is more important than loving my wife well? Heck, do I even consider asking for such a thing in the first place or am I waiting for her to love me so I can love her in return?
Based on John 14; it seems loving my wife as Christ loved the church may be more possible than I originally thought. And why? Because Christ gave me (husbands) an example of being intentional and consistent with His bride (the church). If He chose to find value in those two words, should not I do the same? As I consider all the ways I see in scripture of how Christ intentionally and consistently loved the church, four words seem to sum it all up.
(1) Sacrificed: Christ sacrificed deity for humanity. He sought us out – sacrificing His time, energy and resources not only to be with us but to see us thrive.
*** Do I sacrifice my time, energy and resources for the sake of my wife? Am I willing to put that hobby, want-list, etc..aside just to seek her out? Do I desire see her thrive in all the gifts and talents God has blessed her with?
(2) Served: Jesus served to win hearts not applause nor approval. He could have set himself up as King yet he chose to wash feet.
***Do I care more about getting her (and others) applause and approval than I do winning and tending to her heart? Am I willing to humble myself and get off my ‘high-horse’ to wash her feet? Do I expect something in return when I think I have served ‘above and beyond?’
(3) Died: He gave all regardless the cost. He was beaten and rejected; He still forgave.
***I may never have to die physically but am I willing to let my personal wants, likes and desires die so hers can come alive? When I feel rejected or beaten down, do I still forgive?
(4) Rose Again: He defeated death so we could live an abundant life.
***Regardless of the previous day or what transpired a week ago – whether fantastic or horrible; do I arise with a heart of gratitude knowing I have the ability to bring a smile to my wife’s face?
Right now, you may be thinking to yourself, you do not know my wife, I have tried – I have reached out – now it is her turn. A verse comes to mind, Romans 12:18 reads, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I know for myself, I often forget that “all” includes my family, especially my wife. As far as it depends on me, huh? What does that look like? Betcha’ it has to be intentional and consistent?!?
Another thought about how Christ loved the church. Yes, he sacrificed, served, died and rose again but Christ was never a doormat. Christ knew who He was, who the Father was and what He was called to do. He knew His identity and purpose. Those two things allowed him to have clear and healthy boundaries which propelled Him to love God, others (the church – His bride) and even himself. I think of Ephesians 5:28; “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Husbands, do you know your identity and purpose? How would that make a difference in not only marriage but daily life? Click here to read about two foundational questions that speak to this very issue.
What will this look like practically – again, not perfectly – in our daily lives? As each day presents itself with challenges and opportunities, I know I must be intentional and consistent to love my wife well. In regards to this, I think of a Helen Keller quote. It reads, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” The mundane of life is where I must be intentional and consistent. The mundane of life – the day to day operations of home – is where I must sacrifice, serve, die and rise again and in doing that over and over and over again – the pursuit of my wife becomes the reality of Ephesians 5:25. For those who are wondering – what about the wife? Well, there is an Ephesians 5:24 which is not the topic of this blog post but I have to wonder; if I – as a husband – did Ephesians 5:25 well – would Ephesians 5:24 even be an issue? To get a broader context of these two verses, click here.
Lastly, a few helpful links:
(1) Want a ‘Fierce Marriage?’ – click here.
(2) Want a ‘Connected Family?’ – click here.
(3) Men: Fight-Live-Rescue? – click here.
(4) Speak Love: click here.