Four Things I Learned That Helped My Marriage
by Wood F.
Oringinally posted to The City on June 3, 2012
I’m a fella who did not get what he deserved – I got grace, forgiveness and love. Real love. I’m coming up on a very important, personal anniversary this June 15th. As I refect on these last 21 years of my life, I see some things God had done in the process of transforming me.
I’d like to share just some things, not all of them – and my sharing does not imply that I have acheived perfection in these things, just progress. Perhaps by my sharing these things, you will find something helpful that you can usetoo.
First, I learned to communicate with my wife. Nothing strikes utter fear and terror in the heart of a husband than to hear his wife say, “Honey, we have to talk”. But, I learned how to listen to her and hear more than her words – I learned to hear her heart. She learned that I am not always in touch with how I’m feeling or thinking about something, so she learned to help me get in touch with my own thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t easy to accomplish this – but, we worked at it, hard, everyday – and still do. I learned the art of communication cannot be accomplished passively.
Second, I learned that Betty is My Bride. I call her that often, in fact, as often as I can. I find it changes my attitude towards her. Calling her “my wife” just seems like I’m identifying a possession, but calling her “My Bride”, well, that’s different. I see her as a personal gift from God, like Eve was to Adam. If I ever want to know how God feels about me, I just look over at her, and there is living, breathing proof that God knows me, cares for me and loves me. I learned that when she challenges me and calls me into accountability, that I should listen to her. I find that if I’m getting defensive about something, then that usually means she is right. I don’t always respond well to that kind of chastening, but I have discovered that she sees things I often overlook. She fills in my blind spots for me and if I listen to her and heed her advice, life improves in many ways. Her challenges to me, often save me from making foolish decisions. See what a gift from God she is? She is My Bride.
Third – I learned to spend time with her. In fact, I would rather hang out with her than anyone else. I would rather sit next to her on our Love Seat, than do anything else in the whole world. That is a fact. I would rather go to a movie, eat out, watch TV, clean house, do laundry, cook, drive somewhere, go camping or pretty much anything – as long as I can do it with her. She is my best friend. I carve out moments of the evening, days of the weekends, nights of the weekdays – just to be with her. I text her, email her, call her – just to be in touch. She is priority number one.
Fourth, I learned to be her encourager. I love nothing better than finding out what she would like to learn or experiment with, and make sure she can do it. I love to brag on her talents, encourage her explorations and cheer her on when she is doing what she loves. I don’t really care if what she wants to do costs money – so what? I spend it on her and for her. If I earn extra money by doing some side jobs, I love to give it to her or spend it on her.
My basic philosophy that guides me in all this is found in Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
What that Scripture tells me, is that I am to give up my life for My Bride, just like Jesus gave up His life for His Bride. I am to do all I can to make certain she knows how precious she is. I am to do all I can to make certain she knows how loved she is.
If your marriage is in need of revival – if you feel your marriage is in trouble and you are looking for a sliver of hope to hang onto, then remember these words from Isaiah 42:3a, “
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
God wants to your marriage to be a source of peace, contentment, restoration, fulfilment, satisfaction – and so many other good things. Marrage is supposed to be a blessing. If you will surrender your will to God, and allow Him to be in charge, your marriage can be so much more than you ever thought it could be. You cannot do this apart from God.
I guess my words are meant mostly for husbands, so, fellas, get out there and love your Bride the way Jesus loves His church.