It was middle of the work day.
I was hit with a big thought, “J shared something with me he was working through the other day, and I haven’t asked him about it.”
I confess, I was saddened by my selfishness. I felt guilty, and a little heartbroken at my lack of attention to what’s going on in my husband’s heart.
I surrendered it to Holy Spirit because it was a weight I needed help working through. My own self-absorption. I may not be malicious self-centered, but focusing on what’s going on in my life only when I am one with this sweet, strong, but also human man of God.
I am his partner, his helper, his wife. I pray for him daily, but only occasionally do I ask how I can specifically pray for him on a particular day.
It hit me then: just because we’re married now, and we see each other daily and know the big things happening in our lives, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask the common questions of curiosity.
He’s my person. He is the man that God created to be my husband, the man I get to watch continue to grow in Christlikeness and husband-dom, and eventually fatherhood. He is only mine! He is my #1.
I know and believe and love all of these things with my entire being, but my daily choices haven’t truly been reflecting that.
God made me his wife, to support and love and pray for and be present with. This is a beautiful and powerful and important role; I never want to take it for granted or not value it as I should.
So I’ve been thinking… how can I better love my person? The one I am called to love as best as I possibly can?
I can ask more regularly what J is learning about God, lessons from studying the Bible, concerns and joys happening in his heart. I can be a true, real accountability for him by lovingly prodding when I see him choosing self over Christ, or prioritizing worldly pleasures over godly ones. We’re a team, and this life can be difficult. I can get down in the trenches with him and fight apathy and sin and lukewarmness.
I think of intimacy, but also efforts around our home. I can love him well, by prioritize him over myself. I can do my best to make him laugh, to bring joy to our home by playing our favorite games or watching a great movie. J doesn’t like doing laundry, so I can continue to do majority of the laundry, happily, knowing I am loving him in a particularly important way. I can help keep our home a pleasant, clean, and comfortable place (which happens to make me happy also), so he exhale at the end of a long workday.
I can flirt with him, leave him notes that tell of how much I care for him, make him feel special. I can join him in activities I know he loves. I can remind him how I am on his side always, and cheer him on when he is discouraged. I can share my feelings more honestly, giving him the chance to learn something new about me. I can give him my undivided attention when he is talking, instead of multitasking.
I both love and am continually convicted by this passage from John Piper,
Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh. If you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and His church.
Even once you’re married (I’m generalizing here), it can be easy to still think you’re on an island by yourself. You do things that make you particularly happy, you make choices to benefit you, you meditate about how you’re doing — not at all bad things! But as I learned our first month being married, and so often since then, that my happiness is hinged to J’s happiness. We are one.
On my own, in Christ, I have a capacity for joy and love and abundant life. And it’s a great capacity, because God is great.
But, J and I together? Our potential joy and love and abundant life together blows my alone possibility out of the water by a long shot. It makes my life much richer with J by my side, sacrificially and unconditionally loving him, putting him before myself.
In God is where we are both completely satisfied. In Christ we have all the love we could ever desire or need or dream of. This enables us to not require perfection from each other; it gives us the confidence and ability to work with God to make each other more like Jesus.
Lord, help me seek my joy in the joy of my husband.
“I no longer believe love works like a fairy tale but like farming. Most of it is just getting up early and tilling the soil and then praying for rain. But if we do the work, we might just wake up one day to find an endless field of crops rolling into the horizon. In my opinion, that’s even better than a miracle.” Don Miller