I have said it before, but it seems like the lessons I learned 2 months ago are the same lessons I am learning again and will probably be the same lessons I am learning 20 years from now. Marriage is hard, and it seems like I just can’t get it right. Praise God for His continual sanctification and graceful, patient teaching!
I was reading Matthew Ch. 10: 37-38:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
Now I know Jesus didn’t add, “and he who loves husband or wife more than Me is not worthy of Me,” but don’t think you are out of the boat yet married folks. The emphasis in this verse is that “more than me is not worthy of me” phrase, not to mention vs 38 where Jesus sums is all up with the phrase: “And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” I talked about this verse in one of my earlier posts discussing the implication of taking up your cross and following Jesus: the walk to your grave.
As I meditated on this verse I thought to myself, “sure, if Christ asked me to leave my husband for the sake of His name I would do it.” Now obviously divorce is disobedience to the Word, and that’s not what I am talking about. But what about on the mission field? What if we are being persecuted and taken away from each other? What if my husband has to leave our family for a time? What if God takes him away from me completely? I can sacrifice and send him to India for two weeks, but my struggle comes in the daily sacrificing, the daily taking up of my cross.
One of the most difficult parts of marriage is esteeming my husband better than myself: to lay down my rights, my desires, my hopes, all these things to pursue a marriage that glorifies the Lord. But I am so selfish and prideful that I rarely consider Jordan better. Instead, I often assert my rights, my desires, my wants, my needs. I voice my opinion harshly, don’t think about my words, and often get angered when I am wronged against.
There have been times when I have hated my duties as a wife. Hated dishes, dirty floors, um pregnancy, marriage? Hated that I am tied down without the freedom of a single person to make my own choice, to go where I please when I please.
Told you, pride.
Now before the feminists raise up and start talking about my “duties as a wife,” that I am oppressed in my roles, stuck in front of the sink, my husband lazing around on the couch expecting a 5 star meal every night, let me remind you the picture is much bigger than that. The call to love someone goes far beyond the marriage relationship and far beyond my roles as a wife; it’s about taking up my cross and crucifying myself.
The real problem is that I consider my desires and feelings above everyone around me, most especially my husband. As a wife I am called to love Christ more than my husband, but a huge part of that is loving my husband the way the Word commands. It is through obedience to God that I will find joy in marriage. It is through submitting to and respecting my husband that I am set free from oppression, not asserting my “rights” as a woman or a wife. How can I love Christ more than my husband if I ignore the commands He gives me as a wife? How can I follow after Christ if I profane his name with a haughty, disrespectful spirit toward my husband?
I can’t. And since I truly desire to care more about the glory of God then I do myself, it’s not my roles as a wife that get my panties in a ruffle, it’s that I am being disobedient to the Word, and as I child of God with the Holy Spirit inside of me, I hate it!
My only joy is Christ and my joy will lack when I take my eyes from His glory to my own.
“Wives submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord…for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the Church, because we are members of His body…Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.” Eph 5: 22,29-30,33