Becoming A Husband of No Reputation (Part Three of Three)
Sometimes out of fear and pride, I obsess over my reputation as a husband. Do I meet all my wife’s expectations? What if my small group of friends think I am an unfit husband or I am not sensitive to Rita’s every need? Do my children respect me as their mom’s husband or do they quietly wish I would be a better listener, emotionally engaged and not so selfish? I am learning these are not the right questions, because I cannot control my image of being a flawless husband. Only when I am a man who desperately needs my Savior’s love and grace can I become a husband of no reputation. Only as I abide in Christ, am I able to serve my wife as she needs to be served and loved. In time, I can acquire new skills and a mindset that surrenders my reputation.
“Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 30:8).
Channel Anger Into A Deeper Understanding
“In the same way, husbands, as you live with your wives, understand the situations women face as the weaker vessel. Each of you should respect your wife and value her as an equal heir in the gracious gift of life. Do this so nothing will get in the way of your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7, The Voice).
I get mad on occasion, not for good reasons. Mad at myself for not responding in an understanding way to my wife, instead I react defensively and playing the “I feel disrespected card”. Disruption in my soul surfaces when I lose the perspective of seeing my sweetie as the Lord’s “heavenly sandpaper”, smoothing off my rough edges of unrighteousness and making me more like Jesus. When I first seek to understand what is behind her questions, I see her heart of love, which thinks the best of me and wants what’s best for me. And when she misunderstands or is misinformed, prayerfully, I can patiently clarify and assume the best of her intentions.
Sometimes she will discover unaware, she hurt me. For example, her public criticism instead of private confrontation, is an occasion to lovingly remind her. I seek to forgive first and fast, and keep no record of wrongs, but I make sure to share my “sads” as well as my “glads”. Yes “sads”, likeNehemiah, downcast in face of the injustice his family suffered in a foreign country. Instead of bottling up anger that later erupts in an ugly display, I channel those negative emotions into my desperate need for God’s grace expressed in seeking to understand and honor Rita. Calm, constructive conversation dispels my anger and repairs my relationship with my wife.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, NKJV).
Love My Wife As Christ Gave Himself Up For The Church
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
What does it mean to love my wife as Christ gave Himself up for the church? Jesus ultimately died for the church. He gave His life, so others could find life in Christ. So a better question for me may be, “How can I die to myself and give life to my wife?” I can start by being an engaged listener to what’s important to her: her day, her fears, her happiness and her concerns about me. When I die to crafting the conversation around me, I can better understand what my wife needs. Also, I can die to the expedience of making decisions on my own, and instead take the time to involve Rita in my thinking process. Processing together takes longer and can be clunky, but she provides a valuable voice and brings better ideas. When I give myself up, I gain a grateful wife.
“Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right” (Proverbs 8:6).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me into a husband of no reputation, so my only concern is to please Christ and love my wife well, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Application: What are ways I can give myself up for my wife?
Related Readings: Proverbs 12:15, 15:1, 18:13; James 1:20