Lessons of a Newly Married Man
Being Married Reveals Selfishness
I’ve been married almost two years now, and I can say that being a husband has overwhelmingly shown me how selfish I am, and how easy it is to damage my wife. In trying to minister to her and love her, I would be too stern or scolding and the Lord, in His mercy, gave me this realization as I was reading Ephesians 5:25.
“Husbands, love your wives as, Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
— Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
Gentleness is Manliness
My greatest strength as a man and husband is my gentleness and patience, not my machismo or “manliness”. My wife didn’t need me to “fix” her, she needed me to die for her. She needed me to prove to her that my love wasn’t going away, and that nothing she did or said could stop me from desiring her. She needed me to pursue her as Christ had pursued me, in all of my wickedness. The more I praised her for her godly beauty the more she thrived, the more she grew. We see this displayed in Proverbs.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all”
— Proverbs 31:28-29 (ESV)
Cause Your Wife to Thrive
If you’re a woman, you’ve done no less than five study groups on Proverbs 31 in your lifetime, but if you’re a man, you might not have even considered it to be a book for you. Men, let me tell you, this is a book for you.
Notice how the woman thrives in the praise of her husband. She provides for her household and the town knows who her husband is because of her strength and beauty and work ethic. The book ends with, “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”. As a husband, it is my responsibility to make sure that my wife does not fear me more than she fears the Lord.
Your Wife Doesn’t Need to Earn Your Love
This is the tough part of the conversation. I see so often men that believe that the number one priority of a marriage is for the wife to submit. They read Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord”, and they stop reading there. If she meets the requirements that the husband has set for her, only then will she have earned his love. Men, do not be so prideful as to believe that your wife needs to earn your love. Without Christ, you are nothing more than a wicked corpse. The most important part of that passage is not addressing the women to be submissive, but charging the men to lay down their lives for their wife.
Love Your Wife
It reads, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27, ESV). There is no way, after reading that, that you can still think that the most important call in marriage is your wife’s submission.
The Greatest Challenge
Men, when you bring your wife to church on Sunday, is she bringing in a fake smile to hide the blemishes you’ve left on her soul? Is she submissive to you only because she fears you more than the Lord? Are you worried about something she might say about your marriage to somebody? Are you afraid she might expose your sin?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, I call you to repentance. I call you to understand that your marriage is not about you. Our call is one that we can never fill, to love our wives as Christ has loved the church. That is arguably the most unattainable command in the bible, and we are charged with pursuing it.
Be A Husband Worthy of Submission
Do not be so concerned about whether or not you have a submissive wife and become a husband worth submitting to. Bathe yourself in the scriptures and pray with your wife. Teach her in the ways of the Lord in and out of family worship, in both action and word. Let your diligence to build her up in Christ be a selfless pursuit, acting with all longsuffering and gentleness. Let her self esteem be a reflection of how you talk to her. Love her in such a way that you know her testimony of you will bring your name honor and the Lord glory.
In all things, love God and cherish His character.