Marriage is the best. I recently celebrated my second wedding anniversary with the most amazing and beautiful woman in the world. These past two years have been the best of my life. My wife is great at caring for me, loving me, feeding me, listening to me, spending quality time with me, and (above all, this is what she is best at) putting up with me. I love marriage. It’s the best, despite what many would lead you to believe. It is a beautiful union of two people that gets to put the gospel on the display via their marriage. The husband: modeling Christ in laying down His own will and interests for the betterment of his wife. The wife: lovingly and willingly submitting to the spiritual headship of Christ just as the church does. God’s intended design for marriage is beautiful…but I need you to know that it’s not always pretty.
I’m not naïve. Marriage is also one of the most difficult things in the world. It’s not always sunshine, daisies, and puppies frolicking through the meadow singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music!” There are days that no amount of dating and premarital counseling will prepare you for. So, I want to talk to you about some realities that we need to face. These are some things that the “5 ways to be a better husband” or the “Seven keys to a happy marriage” books might not cover. These are hard truths. And we need to face them if we’re going to be the husbands that God has called us to be. So, let’s get started:
- You’re both wretched sinners. (Romans 3:23)
This is a bitter truth for all of mankind. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. We all have a sin nature. We must take this into account with our wives. Our wives are not always going to be perfect. I know many of us (especially in the dating and engagement periods) put our significant others up on a pedestal. Which can be great. Our wives should be cherished and they should be abundantly loved. We need to go the extra mile when serving out wives as Christ loved the church. But, eventually, something is going to happen that causes her to fall of the pedestal. Sin is always waiting for an opportunity. And it may not be pretty when it happens. Some fall and are able to get right back up. Others fall hard. She may lash out in anger. She may undermine your spiritual headship. She may do something unthinkable. What we do in that moment of failure is crucial. Remember, you’re both wretched sinners. We’ve got to keep that at the forefront. Remember that the sin that ensnared her could just as easily ensnare you. We must humble ourselves when dealing with situations like that.
- You’re not always going to like each other. Heck, sometimes you’ll just dislike each other.
My wife is my best friend. We spend a lot of time together. A commitment that I made before we said our vows was that I would never forsake quality time with her. Which, being called into ministry, will be a hard commitment to keep. But I intend to keep it with everything that I have in me. But sometimes, your wife (or yourself) will wake up one day and just not like you. Which, if we’re being honest, can you really blame her? I mean, I have met me. I would get tired of me. I completely understand why my wife sometimes just gets annoyed by my presence. It’s a reality. Sometimes your breathing alone will be enough to drive her over the edge. When this happens, we must utilize patience, maturity, and love. As men, we tend to be a little more hotheaded than the other gender. When we take hits we want to hit right back. That’s not how we work this out. As cliché as this may be, we need to stop and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Look at the model that He brings us. He came for a bride that was unfaithful, that mocked Him, scorned Him, rejected Him, beat him, belittled His name, and ultimately killed Him. But He loved her anyway. He didn’t lash out, He didn’t make her feel small, He didn’t abandon her. He loved her unconditionally. If that’s not a perfect model, then I don’t know what is. In those times where we may not be the most popular guy in our households, we have to take a step back, breathe, pray, and do what Jesus would do.
- “It” ain’t happening every night bro.
I’ll just be real with all of you: sex is great. It’s one of the best things that God ever gave mankind. It’s a beautiful experience. As Christians, we should be pro sex – within the biblical confines of marriage. But it’s just not going to happen every night guys. And unless they are brand spanking (pun intended) new newlyweds, don’t believe the guy that says otherwise. He’s full of crap. There’s going to be days when we come home where our wives will just simply not be in the mood. Get this straight – we don’t deserve our wives, gentlemen. They do more for us than we will ever really know and appreciate them for. For those of you who have children, you know this to be true. While there are many great fathers in the world who devote much of their time to their children, there’s just something about moms that blow fathers out of the water. There will be days when you will come home and are ready to spend some “quality time” with your wife. She’ll be tired. She’ll have worked, cooked, cleaned up the kids, put them to bed, gotten ready herself, and then she’ll just want to pass out for the night. Come together during that time and minister to her as she needs. You will have to put her needs before your own and love her as Christ loved the church.
- It is all worth it.
Amidst all of the hard truths that we face as husbands, just know this – it is all so worth it. It may be hard. It may stress you out to the max. You might just want to quit. And if you’re struggling with that kind of situation, I want to stop and plead with you to not give up. It’s all so worth it. Take time and devote yourself to prayer and reading God’s Word. It is so much easier to love others when you realize how much you are loved by the Creator Himself. I love my wife, but sometimes it’s hard. But every night, no matter what, I get to fall asleep with the love of my life. Every morning I get to wake up with the love of my life. Every day I get a kiss from her before I leave and every day I get kiss when I get home. She gets to be my ministry partner for life. I get to put the gospel on display with our marriage to our friends, family, and community. I get to glorify God through our marriage. I get to lover her for the rest of my days. It is all so worth it.