I have loved being married. There is a true mystery in the marvel of marriage that is quite difficult to describe. From the dream that a little boy / girl has of who the true one will be, to the mystique of the moment love bites and our world becomes preoccupied by 'the one'. In our case, I was 18 and M was 15. Three years of courting was raced to closure as a two year military stint was expected of me and we decided to let this defining moment be our call to the day.
I have loved being married. M has remained a mystery to me. She has intoxicated me by her femininity. She has delighted me in her many gifitngs. She has amazed me in her perceptions and insights. And so I can go on,,, but how do we husband "the Father's daughter" in this partnership of ministry? Here are some thoughts as I ponder on my mistakes of 29 years and as I have watched so many others over the years:
1. Never forget... "just the two of us, we can make it if we tried..." in the end the kids will leave home, and the church will follow others - and we will have each other,
2. Marriage is like a basket of fruit, one cannot just keep taking from it will run empty- we must top it up daily,
3. Ministry cannot be a mistress - she is a very difficult one for a wife to compete with - our wife deserves our first affection and our identity must certainly not come from a very flirty one who will never marry us.
4. Brothers our identity cannot come from the ministry. A bad Sunday [whatever that means] cannot be brought home and so the family suffers from the grizzly bear
5. Weekly dates are not an option. For years I hated the notion that we had to artificially enforce a day for affection and priority - not clever!
6. The family does deserve you to be fully home, to down tools, to turn off the phone, to close the emails... guys we cannot preach against absent fathers but in truth, be that our selves,
7. The day off has never been an optional extra. God took one off per week - so why don't we?
8. What inspires, refreshes, rejuvenates your lady? Is it the beach, the outdoors, the theater, galleries, romantic picnics, shopping for creative ideas... splash your calenders with those priorities and watch the wonder of it all,
9. Lead well, clearly and strongly - it does amaze me how many wives are so frustrated by poor communication in the home - for M and me, we love to talk together daily. The updates, the sharing of ideas, the dreaming, the how are the kids doing convos... are a daily delight - when we begin to miss those times, we find we are not walking hand in hand, in step with each other and the Spirit,
10. Pray for and with her. A wife who knows her mind has her on the top of his pray passion feel very safe and secure,
11. Be accountable. I cannot tell how often this has come up over the years- either "I can submit so easily to my man because he submits himself to others" or "I feel so vulnerable because my man just does his own thing and no one gets it right by themselves all the time"
12. When she looks at your to do list, how high are the home priorities - yeah, I know, it hurts.
13. Love her. Daily- with romantic words, in hugs and kisses, in thoughts, winks, with flowers, surprise gifts, unexpected phone calls, surprise times away... tell her just how wonderful she is, what a gift she is, reiterating all the incredible abilities she has.
Brothers our wives have to share us on so many fronts. Look at her. Speak to her, Engage her. Strengthen her with the word. Make her laugh, Take her to girly movies. Take her shopping. Take the kids so she can have her nails done, Ensure she has time with her friends. Honor her...
When God spoke to one time many years ago and rebuked me for doing a bad job, he reminded me that she was his girl that he loaned to me. When I was to give her back to him, she was to be a radiant bride...