I’ve been married for just under twenty years. When I met the girl who knocked me off of my feet, I didn’t think, “If she was just a little better here, she would be perfect.” No, I fell in love with her, (figurative) warts and all.
Why was it that shortly after “I do” I started wanting her to change? As you can imagine, this created a set of insecurities in my new bride. What I had intended as constructive criticism turned out to be destructive. Part of my role was to be the biblical leader in my home, but it was clear I didn’t understand how to do that in my young marriage.
My wife married me so that I would give her protection, special care and attention. Through this, she would know she had a special purpose, set apart from the world.
This was what Christ did for us. I need to love her in the same way he loves both of us and like Jesus loves the church. I need realize that He is committed to removing all of her blemishes so He can present her in all her glory and beauty to Himself. He loves her as much—if not more—than I do.
Ephesians 5:25-27 talks about setting apart your wife, something I wasn’t diligent about early in our marriage. Removing the influence of the world isn’t impossible, but I made it harder due to the hurt that I caused and how comfortable we both became with the world’s influence in our marriage for so many years.
As I reflect further on my role as husband, I’m further convicted by 1 Peter 3:7 – to live with understanding towards my wife, showing her honor. I’m a poor example of this, understanding means patience, and patience means dying to myself. For too many years, I was unwilling to do this. By God’s grace, I am again enjoying the exercise of studying my bride like I did when she was my girlfriend.
Instead of finding faults in my wife, I should have been working on my own impurities. I should have—publicly and in full view of my wife—gone to God’s words to make the changes in my heart. I should have modeled this dependence on the Bible from the beginning.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 exhorts men to enjoy life with their wives. This is so subtle, to find joy in my spouse. She was given to me for my pleasure! As I change, I am starting to discover what God promises.