A few weeks ago I did something that had repercussions on our family, our finances, and our emotional and physical health.
And do you know what Mr. B. did?
He loved me.
He showed me kindness where I deserved frustration. He extended grace where I deserved punishment. He was patient where I deserved anger. And he was compassionate where I deserved an I told you so.
I kept waiting for him to snap out of it – for the patience and grace and kindness to run out.
But it hasn’t.
(And I don’t think it ever will. Hubby, please confirm this in the comments section.) 😉
As we drove to work one day last week, I thanked him for the way he was treating me and I told him that he was a picture of Christ in my life.
So many times we choose impatience, criticism, and pride in our relationships instead of the narrow path of love. Culture tells us to serve ourselves – to put our personal happiness before holiness and to do what feels good instead of what is biblical.
Mr. B. could have done that to me as I wrestled with my poor choice and my many other struggles as a human. And there have been seasons where I could have done that to him as well. But we have learned that marriage is an opportunity to daily share and experience the Gospel together. Doing this then shares the Gospel with our communities and builds the kingdom as we walk in a covenant that mirrors the powerful, redeeming work of Jesus.
Are you wondering how to get there in your marriage? Here are 3 simple phrases you can start using today to be a picture of Christ to your spouse and build a marriage that builds the kingdom.
I APPRECIATE YOU
We tend to want to focus on everything that is wrong or lacking in our lives. This is often especially true in our marriages. We can grow so critical of our husbands that we fail to notice all of the good that they do every day! So instead of trying to fix him, choose to thank him. Your husband may have weaknesses – just like you – but I guarantee that he does things every day that serve you and your home. Is he helpful with the kids? Does he make dinner on occasion? Does he take out the trash? Does he handle the bills? Does he go to work every day? Does he put his clothes in the hamper? Does he keep your toes warm at night? THANK HIM.
Further Reading – How Gratitude Transforms Marriage
I NEED YOU
When Adam and Eve fell, one of Eve’s consequences was that she would desire to control her husband (Genesis 3:16). We must be careful not to think that we can do his job better. If we are always making him feel like we know best, he might lose his sense of purpose in our homes. There are respectful and loving ways to communicate with our husbands, but the big idea is that our men need to be encouraged regularly that they are a valuable and necessary part of the family.
My husband is a strong and wise leader in our home. He is clear-headed, brave, in the business of rescuing, and he is hilarious. As much as I embrace fun, there are times my perfectionism can get me circling the drain when things with the boys (and everything) don’t go as I had hoped. My husband knows how to make the boys and I laugh when we are tangled up in all-the-emotions. He also humbly unclogs toilets and exterminates the bugs in the house. He gives me godly advice whenever I ask. He is an example of biblical manhood to our boys. And I am SO thankful that Mr. B. handles the “birds and the bees” talk with Noah and Jet. I couldn’t do this without him and I tell him that every day!
I WANT YOU
Speaking of the birds and the bees, if you haven’t already figured it out, 😉 physical intimacy is extremely important in a marriage. It is good for us to take time to try to understand our men’s need in this area, because a man’s ability to perform and serve in the bedroom is central to his confidence as a man. I know it can be hard when you have kids, or live in a small house (AHEM), or are TIRED every second, but we are wise to celebrate this as a gift because God created it for us to enjoy! Need help finding a few fun ways to connect behind closed doors? I share a few creative and slightly PG-13 (wink) ideas HERE.
Further Reading – Understanding Your Husband’s Sexual Needs
Marriage will never be perfect, but it will be fruitful – for both husband and wife – if we commit to loving and seeing our spouses as God does.
Then these 3 little phrases will flow off our lips without a second thought and the Gospel of Christ will reign in our homes – even if he doesn’t put his clothes in the hamper. 🙂
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2