Learning to Love Well, Part 2: Your Husband
“Loving your husband well requires death-do-us-part commitment, sacrifice, and humility. Believe me. None of these are easy. But without them, the marriage is in trouble.”
Welcome back to Part 2 of my Learning to Love Well series. Last time, we looked at a few ways to demonstrate our love to God—you can click to the post Learning to Love Well Part 1, God if you missed it. Part 2 looks at how to best demonstrate your love to the number one human relationship you have—your husband! (If you are unmarried, you can learn to apply this lesson to a boyfriend or future relationship even though an official vow hasn’t been made.) If you’ll remember, to love “well” requires your attention, focus, and effort to do what is needed, right, and good—in this case, for your husband.
Loving your husband well requires a “death-do-us-part” commitment, sacrifice, and humility. Believe me. None of these are easy. But without them, the marriage is in trouble. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but there are times when I really just want what I want. I can actually be pretty selfish! After all, I have my own interests, my own ambitions, my own needs, wants, desires, plans, and so on. But, while those are important to a degree, and I have every right to pursue them, it comes down to what I want my relationship with my husband to be like. Do I want a happy marriage, or not?
I promised him I would make him happy for the rest of my life.
I vowed I would love him, in a way he feels loved…
That I would cherish him, and never take him for granted…
And he would feel my honor in how I show him respect, appreciating how God made him to be!
And I meant it.
It’s hard because the temptation to do things my way is so dominant! There’s actually an explanation for this in the Bible, in Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, it upended the natural order of things, including our relationships with one another. God meant for husbands and wives to co-exist together in a compatible, complementary fashion, but because of sin and brokenness, wives have a tendency to want to dominate and be in control of the household. It doesn’t really work very well!
I can totally relate to this concept. Before I decided to put God first in my life, I was always at odds with my husband. Sure, I loved him and we even had what I would consider a great relationship. But truth be told, I wanted what I wanted. And when I didn’t get it, I could be pretty mean and manipulative. I was very comfortable with being in control and I did what it took to get my way, whether it related to career, clothes, sex, time I spent with friends, what I spent money on, you name it. I was constantly placing my priorities, my desires, wants, needs, my social calendar, etc., ahead of him, and it caused a lot of conflict between us. I wasn’t loving him well. Learning about Genesis 3 gave me a new perspective and showed me that I would always struggle with these things—it’s part of our nature! But because I’m a new creation in Jesus, I don’t have to be that way (2 Cor. 5:17). It’s a choice I get to make on a daily basis.
Loving your husband well requires you to stick to the commitment you made to him on your wedding day—to do whatever it takes as far as you’re concerned to keep the marriage healthy. This may require you to make sacrifices, and it will very likely require humility. I heard a quote from a marriage expert that said, “I’ve never seen a couple divorce because one of them was too humble. Humility is key!” I find that when my marriage isn’t doing so well, I hear a lot of “I,” “Me,” “Mine,” and “Myself,” in my own vocabulary; “I need…,” “I want…,” and so forth. These are signals to myself that I’m off balance in the relationship and I need to take a step back from my stuff and even be willing to let something go altogether.
Sacrificially and with humility, I may have to go make things right with my husband, which could possibly involve an apology or an afternoon doing what he wants to do. I may have to limit my time talking on the phone or stay off the computer when he’s around. I may need to put that book down or pause the tv show if he wants my attention. If a job or a hobby takes most of my time and focus away from home, I may have to be willing to sacrifice it for the good of the marriage and family. I may have to say “no” to some fun activities or getaways with others that take me away from time spent with him. Sure, sometimes I just need an afternoon out shopping or coffee with the girls—and he is happy to let me. But that’s because I’m very careful when I plan those times—almost never when I know it will interfere with my priority relationships, first my husband and then my kids. (If I know it will take time away from him or if my absence affects him, like leaving him with the kids, I pay him the courtesy of asking first.)
Some of this might seem pretty basic, but I see and hear about wives who regularly put themselves first and now their marriage is a mess. The good news is that a quick shift in perspective can remedy the situation, along with a renewed commitment, a willingness to sacrifice, and humility.
I would love to hear from you about ways you’ve learned to love your husband well. Please leave a message, or you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Next time, we’ll look at truth about loving your children well, which might be different than you think! I hope you’ll join me.