If you’ve ever wondered . . .
why you love your husband when you want to quit – keep reading!
With all this talk about the 31 Days to a Happy Husband challenge, I recently received a question that I’ve been asked by wives time and time again: How do you love and serve someone who doesn’t deserve to be loved?
This is a question I can relate to, especially since I’ve struggled with the very same reasoning. I wish I could tell you that I’ve out grown such contemplation, but that would be a lie (and my computer might get struck by a lightning bolt as I type…not a good thing!). As I’ve said before, it’s not that we struggle with sin (with doing what’s right – with living a righteous life); it’s giving into sin that’s the problem.
You know what? KNOWING that we have a lackluster marriage is a good thing. It’s really not a time to despair (it’s a time to hope!) because knowing is half the battle. It means that our heart is not completely hardened and that we still have a chance to work things out. It means that we’re hearing from the Holy Spirit’s still and small voice as He says, “Something is wrong. Don’t get comfortable. Do the right thing!” (Begin to hope!)
But after we know, after we acknowledge that there is more to be had, we should ask ourselves: what are we going to do about it?
It’s not natural for us to love someone when our love is not reciprocated. It takes a supernatural empowerment. Maybe some people are able to pull it off, but most of us want things to be “fair.” We all understand the concept of reciprocity: the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. We give people what they deserve or what they have earned. We are inspired to love when we are loved. We wither to death when we are not.
But there is a way to overcome the mindset which says, “I will give you what you *deserve* and nothing more.” We overcome it by obedience to God’s word. We overcome it by submitting to the Holy Spirit’s leading. We overcome it by caring enough about our relationship with God to do the very HARD things: to love the unlovable – even if it’s our husband.
Sometimes “change” can be hard and painful…
Experiencing growth in our marriage may require us to change the way we respond to conflict and our emotional pain. Experiencing change requires a death to self. Loving your *unlovable* husband will require a Death to Self – and death is always painful!
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20a)
This God kind of change requires us to take up our cross and follow Christ’s example: The cross represented death, shame and humiliation to Christ, yet he bore it for our sake! It was anything but easy for Christ to bear His cross, but he did it for you, and for me!
“Looking unto Jesus . . . ; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, . . .” (Hebrews 12:2a)
Likewise, taking up our cross is not an easy thing either, yet Christ demands it of us if we plan to follow Him: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Here’s the verdict: If we want to experience a satisfying marriage we’ll have to do the hard work of taking up our cross daily. We’re going to have to love like Christ.
Yeah, in the flesh that’s a tall order because it runs counter to what our flesh wants; but there’s got to be a discernible difference between the marriage of the righteous and the unrighteous.
Here’s the difference that Christ makes in our marriage…
We love better – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7).
We forgive and keep no record of wrong – We are continually letting go of past hurts: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14).
We give what is not deserved – In Christ, none of us are getting what we deserve. We deserve death and damnation, yet while we were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). “…he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).
We endure difficult relationships – ‘“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly”’ (1 Peter 2:21-23).
We hope and do not despair – In our time of Bible reading and prayer fellowship with the Father, He constantly purges our hearts of bitterness so that we do not despair. He gives us hope and motivation to begin anew; so that we can turn the proverbial page and start over fresh with our husbands the next day (hour, minute, or even, second!).
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isiah 40:31).
We don’t have to live a life of marital mediocrity? We don’t have to settle for less than God’s best for our marriage? We can give our husband love that’s *undeserved*. We can love like Christ to make our marriage glorious.
Through Christ, we’re up to the challenge!
Holla Back! What about you? In what ways has the Lord helped you to overcome a tit for tat mentality, empowering you to give your husband love he *doesn’t* deserve?