Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Our look at romance in America has been interesting. For those who are reading this at the blog, I invite you to come to Deeper Waters at TheologyWeb where a discussion is going on around this topic. Tonight, I’d like to look at devotion, and that would be devotion in marriage.
One major prayer I pray for my relationship with my wife is to be more devoted every day to her well-being. A month or two ago, I had some Mormons visit us and during the conversation, we talked about covenants and promises. Whenever this came up, I’d indicate my ring and let them know that I take promises very seriously.
Saying “I do” is a huge promise. Incidentally, whenever you become a Christian, it is essentially what you are saying to Christ. The call to believe in Christ is really a marriage call. Of course, we must be careful to not read in to the text modern ideas of marriage. The Bible has nothing in mind of many young single women who say they’re in love with Jesus and that Jesus is their husband. (I mention the women since it would be a bit awkward for the men to call Jesus their husband)
These ideas can often be based on emotional highs. Some people are more wired that way. I just want to make sure such people also have those emotions grounded on a firm reality. Our faith does not need to be a shallow faith and while it is good to have zeal, remember that Paul said we need zeal according to knowledge. Christianity is not meant to be just a high for people.
The rest of us who aren’t like that do differ in our Christian walk. For instance, I saw an atheist recently say the reason I was posting on an atheist blog in argument was because I’m on a mission to let others have the peace and joy of salvation that I have. Well, if you’re talking about an emotional experience, no. I do not have strong emotions over my salvation. If you’re talking about an internal awareness that I am at peace with God and He loves me, then yes.
We must remember in our Christian walk as well that it is not our choice to serve God. It is our duty. We are to do this and that is irrespective of our mood. I recall in the past, and I’m sure there will be some in the future, days when I would get up in the morning and I would be angry with my God on how my life was going, but I would get on the computer and serve Him anyway. My service was required of me regardless of my feelings at the time.
Why not in our marriages as well?
Now I’m largely going to be speaking to the men, though sometimes to the women as well, but I hope the women will pay attention to what I say and draw the necessary parallels.
We men can often once we get married fail to keep chasing our bride. It is easy to take them for granted at that point. While in the past, we’d make every move we could to sweep our brides off our feet, there are some marriages where I fear that that goal has gone away. The bride has been caught. Now we can relax.
Instead, make it a point to romance your wife every day. I often tell people that my wife has made me a master of one-handed driving. When we’re driving down the road, I have a hand on the wheel, but my other hand is locked in hers and hers in mine. It’s a great bonding experience when driving. Every now and then, I’ll have to move away to check directions on my phone, but when done, it’s back to normal.
Of course, before we even get in the car, I will open the car door for her and get her in. Even if someone else is driving the car, I do this anyway. When we get to our destination, I do the same thing. I recently was visiting some friends of mine and as I was leaving, their parents were leaving after me. I saw their Dad do this and I was quite impressed.
Be willing to take the lower place for your wife if need be. Right now, my wife is sick, and I ask your prayers for her recovery. Because she could still give the sickness to me, our doctor suggested we might avoid the same bed for the time being. Therefore, I am taking the position of sleeping on the couch. She wasn’t too keen on this for awhile, but I did state that it was a man thing. As a man, I just can’t make my wife sleep on a couch while I get a bed.
Remember that also women. Always let your men be men.
There have been times when something has happened that it would be easy to get angry over. Before getting angry, ask yourself what it would accomplish. Is your wife feeling guilty enough over this behavior already? Don’t make it worse then. You can express disappointment at something, but that’s no reason to get angry. Let it go. Give her the love you can rather than say something you can’t ever take back. I can gladly say that having it be 13 weeks today, my wife and I have yet to have an argument or fight. Disagreements? Yes. Arguments? No. When we have a disagreement, we sit down quietly and talk things out.
Men. Be ready first also to look for deficiencies in yourself. C.S. Lewis said that we’re all hard to live with, and he was right. Before you begin to think critically of your spouse, I recommend you look and see if it could be a deficit in you first that needs to be dealt with. What is your attitude to what is going on? Why is it that way? Could it be you that has the problem?
Ironically, one experience I had I described in a sermon I gave at my church on holiness and marriage. I spoke on how on a recent night, I had been upset internally with my wife over something thinking I was in the right. At night after going to bed, I was awake still analyzing the situation and then realized I was in the wrong and she was right. When she woke up for a bit that night, I told her what I’d found out in my pondering and asked her forgiveness admitting I was sorry for it all. She gave it, although she still says she was wanting to get back to sleep as well. What I told the congregation was that I wanted to be sure I had peace with my wife before going to bed that night.
What I didn’t tell them, was it was that very night before that that had happened.
If you must get angry about something however, find something substantial. Right now, the new atheists are wanting to destroy religion. Get angry and then get educated so you can deal with them. Muslims are wanting to build a mosque at 9/11. Homosexual activists are wanting to totally redefine marriage.
Or heck, be real gutsy. Look in the mirror and get angry at your own sins for a change.
Be willing to help your wife out. Fellow men. It won’t kill you to do some housework. Be there to help your wife with the laundry and the dishes. In fact, I’d recommend learning some about cooking so you could cook something special for her every now and then. (I’m still working on that, although we did cook pizza together tonight)
Make sure when you do this, you’re not doing it for ulterior motives either. We all know what we men want of course, but that is also your wife’s choice and that choice is to be honored. The reason you are to do housework or bring home a gift or anything of that sort is because you love your wife and you want to show her how much she means to you.
Make sure you’re giving her what she wants also. Women. For you, I can stress that a husband can like a clean home and a good meal, but because those are fixed, he’s not going to be celebrating entirely. He’ll be appreciative, but if you are a housewife, it is also what he is used to seeing when he gets home every day. Do something special for him that is what he’d want and not what you’d want. Fix a romantic dinner. Get a movie that he’ll like. Put on a really nice outfit that you know he’ll really enjoy.
We men need to do the same. My wife and I were recently at the apologetics conference. It might surprise some of you, but my wife is not really into apologetics. However, she does support her husband in this field and wants him to be the best that he can be. Thus, she was willing to go with me and join me. If I’m traveling for ministry purposes and she’s available, she’d want to go as well to join and support me.
On the other hand, my wife loves anime and so if I wanted to do likewise with her, then we’d be on our way to an anime convention. Now there are some things there that I think I’d enjoy, but overall, that convention would be for her. What is important, or should be important to me, is that she is enjoying herself.
Also, pray and read Scripture. This is a nightly ritual for my wife and I. We end our nights with Scripture and prayer. One question we ask each other before going to bed is “How may I pray for you tonight?” It is not much of a shock to each of us that our prayers are consistently about how we want to be better for one another.
Remember every day to get up and love your wife. For me, it is my joy to get to take care of the woman I’ve chosen to pledge my life to. As I believe I’ve said, my in-laws know that while I am using calm and peaceable, if anyone ever dared to harm my wife, they would find a fierce side of me that they weren’t expecting.
Devotion takes work also, but it’s worth it. Talk to married men and women and learn from them. Read good books on the topic. If you were wanting to do well in school, you’d read material for the course and learn the topic. Why is it that we don’t do the same when it comes to marriage? Some aspects can come naturally, but some do take work.
And I close with what someone recently said at a marriage talk we attended together, the best way to be a better husband or wife is to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.
Holiness will always improve your marriage.