Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. Eph. 5:25
Years ago, I went to meet a church pastor for some marriage counseling. Within seconds of sitting down the tears begin to flow because I hated the fact that I was about to complain about my marriage, really about my wife. I did not want to do this, and I was ashamed, heartbroken, and lost. I simply did not know what to do to move forward from where we were at. Here is the saddest part; the counsel I received was, basically, in a sentence, that a husband is not called to be a martyr for his wife. That man bolstered me up momentarily. I wiped the tears away and left his office prepared to stand my ground for what I believed. As I started my truck, God spoke and gave me His counsel: “Chad, being a martyr for your wife is exactly who I want you to be.” This was the totally the opposite direction I was just headed in, and as I accepted His counsel, I was FILLED with His peace in all things.
Romans 3 talks about how none of us are perfect and we all fall short. Yes, all of us. It is so easy to focus in on how others make our lives uncomfortable, and when it happens close to (or at) home, it can be the most painful. My tongue and the way I talk to my wife is the way that I hurt her the most. It is truly sharper than any two-edged sword. My words that I speak to my wife can be a beautiful carving of delight or can cut her down to fear of her husband. When I feel disrespected, I feel uncared for and begin to stuff and stuff and stuff until defiled words surface like a big nasty pimple on the tip of my nose. I begin to cut, slash, and destroy my wife with my tone and my words. Then, like most men I withdraw, seek out that wonderful cave to hide in and be selfish, essentially feeding the flesh because after all I deserve it! What a loser. This is not how God intended us to live. We are all sinners, each and every one. You and I both will never be as good as Jesus Christ, but moment by moment and day by day, we can continually inch closer. And the more we try, it becomes easier to do.
Here is what I do. When I feel myself approaching the point of harshness; I have a choice, to step back a take a breath and ask for God’s help to give me a soft heart and wise words before I engage with my spouse. Or I can let my sinful, selfish, know-it-all nature have its way with my wife and my marriage, in a way fulfilling the goal of the enemy to destroy what God has put together. I have done it both ways and harshness has never worked. Ever!
A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of the fool pours forth foolishness.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A wholesome tongue is the tree of life,
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
My wife is really an outstanding, remarkable woman. Those who know her will readily agree. She is a daughter of the King of kings. It is my duty as her husband to live with her in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7). She is a sinner, as am I, and we both hate that we fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that we do things in our lives that hurt and damage what God had intended to be great. Our marriage.
The fix? Humility. I am not perfect; my wife is not perfect. I have to choose to seek God in all things and ask Him to direct my words and my steps to love my wife and nurture my family, ultimately bringing glory to the King and His kingdom.
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