"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Christ-Like Husband?

We sat down as a family to watch The Retrievers, a 2001 movie about a family of four (Mom, Dad, teenaged girl and young boy) who move from Manhattan to a rural California town, and are immediately "adopted" by a golden retriever named Pilot. They discover early on that Pilot is pregnant.  The family decides to do the customary thing by giving away the puppies. 

But that's just the beginning.  You see, Pilot runs away and the little boy chases after him, causing the father to leave work (at his new job) in the middle of the day to search for the pair.  Mom and kids all agree that the pooch was searching for her pups (no one actually asked the dog).

Anyway, the father decides to help the family seek out the puppies one by one and get them back so poor Pilot won't be so sad.  As a result he ends up losing his job, and neither his wife nor either of the children show any sign of remorse whatsoever.

You're probably asking yourself why I'm writing about this on a christian marriage blog.  Well, there are several reasons.My wife and I both had some serious problems with the husband and wife relationship on the screen.

First, the family gave away the puppies to other people.  Granted they weren't all "good" homes, and the process through which they were give was questionable at best, but nonetheless the puppies were given fare and square.  Then they decided to take the doggies back.  Ummmm .... No matter how I try to convince myself otherwise, that is wrong.

Secondly, the wife, along with both children basically shames her husband into dropping everything to help them return the puppies to their mother.

Thirdly, When the father loses his job, there isn't the slightest hint of remorse from anyone, including him.

Where's the leadership??  Where's the submission??  Where's the respect for authority??

Why did this bother us so much?

When you take a close look at this husband and father, you see a man so devoted to his wife and kids that he would do anything to make their lives better.  He strives to bring about a happy life for his bride, and makes difficult sacrifices for her and the children, even losing his job in the process.

On the surface he looks like the very model of a Christian husband.  After all aren't we supposed to love our wives as Christ loved the church, giving His life for her?

Well, yes. BUT ...

Jesus always had the church's best interest in mind as He lived His earthly life.

What was in the best interest of the movie family with all the dogs?

Was it in their best interest to go against their word and take back all the dogs after they had given them to people?  Or to be allowed to shame their father/ husband into calling in sick day after day to look for the dogs? 

Where was I going with this post?  Oh yeah

My wife and I were uncomfortable with the role of the father as it was played out in this movie because he did what he though was right for the wrong reasons.  Did he sacrifice for his family?  Yes, but he did it to keep the peace in his home rather than to fulfill his God-given vision for his marriage and family.

I found myself cringing several times because I, too, am guilty of this all the time.  I would rather have a conflict-free home than stand for what I believe is the direction in which God wants our marriage and our family to go.  I don't stand my ground as a husband and father near enough.  I only stand up for so long, then I sit down and keep my mouth shut.

Does it benefit my marriage?  Is my wife happy with this situation?  What am I teaching my children?

Husbands, if you are feeling a familiar pang of "uh-oh," please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  Many husbands give up on major ideas to keep the peace in their homes.  Keep in mind that it isn't always a bad idea to back down from something (some of my ideas are just plain nuts).  But if you are not speaking up in an area in which you are being led by the Holy Spirit in a different direction from your wife, you have to make you voice heard.  You are doing a serious disservice to her and to your marriage if you continue to hold your tongue.

What to do??

  1. Get in touch with God.  Read your Bible and pray.
  2. Find a godly mentor who will pray with you and help you be the leader in your marriage.'
  3. Read Christian books and blogs about marriage.
  4. Practice what you learn.

With God's help we can become the husband-leaders He wants us to be, and we can have the one-flesh  marriages He designed for us.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Is She Better Off With You Or Without You?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
People have been getting married for thousand and thousands of years.  Some do it for love, some for money.  Some marriages are pre-arranged deals made by two fathers in business-like transaction where the lives of their young ones hang in the balance.

No matter the reason, marriages happen because we all believe being married will somehow make things better.  Marriage is supposed to be good for you - you are better off married than single.

Hmmm ...

Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."

I found a good thing when I found my beautiful bride.  According to the above verse, I obtained favor from the Lord. 

But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:9)

Apparently I got an outlet for my passion (an interesting way to refer to my wife).  Actually, she's far more than that.  Actually, I can't put into words all the things she is. 

What did she get out of the deal?   Besides a selfish, fat, lazy old grouch, that is?

That is the question.  I assume she married me because

A) she loves me, and
B) she thought she would have a better life with me than without me.

Has she had a better life?  Does her life reflect the wonderful benefits of being married to me?  Would her life be better or worse if we were never married?

That's a very good question.

I suppose it depends on whether I am doing my job as a husband.  God gives us many guidelines in His
Word with regard to the do's and don'ts of husbanding.

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19)

While I don't believe I've been harsh with her (in fact, I let a lot of things roll off my shoulders that other men most definitely would not), I'm not sure she would see it the same way.  I try to let many things roll off my shoulders, but not all things.  Sometime my words might seem harsh.  

Is this a better situation for her than before we were married?  Does she feel the harshness of my words?

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25)

Does this describe me?  Do I give myself up for her?
Not always.  Many times I fall back on my old, selfish, lazy routine and I don't do the things that would make her happy, make her more comfortable, more secure.  I don't fix stuff right away, I let the list (you know ... THE LIST) grow and grow when I should be chipping away at it little by little.

It seems she got the short end of this one.  Hmmmm .... Perhaps I could do better.

Why would she be happy when her husband is so selfish?

When I love and serve her, sacrificing things and desires that are important to me, she appears happier.  She smiles a little more.  She seems a bit more content.

Why, then, don't I serve her more, do for her more, sacrifice for her more?

Husbands, it is our job to make sure our wives' lives are better because they married us. Not in spite of marrying us.

How do we accomplish this?

  • Make sure we submit to the authority of God.
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

  • After Jesus, make your bride the main focus of your life.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, (Mark 10:7)

  • Learn to be content.  Make sure she knows you are happy with her, even those days when she doesn't make you happy.
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, (Proverbs 5:18)

I know I haven't always given my bride the best.  I haven't loved her with Christ-like love.  I haven't given myself for her.  But I intend to change.

I hope you will, too.