When God created the world, he saw everything he made and said “it is good.” The first time the Lord declares something to not be good is Adam standing alone in the garden. After bringing every animal to Adam for him to name and not finding a suitable helper for him, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. God removed one of Adam’s ribs and fashioned it into his wife. When Adam awakes, his creator presents his wife to him and Bible translators bracket what he said as if it is a song. What comes from his mouth rings of poetry as he exclaims “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” He recognizes that she is what he is, but better.
The writer of Genesis inserts the important statement, “for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The husband and wife join themselves together before God into a one flesh union. This union forms the basis for Jesus’ command to not tear apart what God has joined together. Paul appeals to this verse as he explains the union of husband and wife points to the relationship between Christ and the church.
In this union we do not merely want to just continue existing the rest of our lives. We want our union together to be happy, helping each other grow as believers in order to bring glory to God and joy to each other. This takes work, and many times men experience confusion when they think about how to grow as a husband.
I’m going to take several posts over the next few weeks and share what I’ve learned reading the Bible, eleven years of marriage, and a lifetime of watching men who are good husbands. Through this I hope to help men grow both as husbands and followers of Jesus. My original inclination was to write a quick bullet point post on how to be a terrible husband and make the point in a humorous way. After looking over it I felt like sarcasm probably wasn’t the best way to deal with this issue and what is at stake is way too serious. Here is the first way a man can grow as a husband.
Close Off All Your Escape Routes
A man never knows the depths of his sin and selfishness until he gets married. He begins to wrestle with emotions, failures, and anger in a way he never dealt with it before. Left to himself, a man will assume that any difficulty in his marriage is his wife’s fault. When the man gets honest with himself, he realizes nothing could be further from the truth. He and his wife are both the problem, but the husband needs to take the lead in repentance and growth. This means the husband needs to get on his knees in front of his Bible and plead with God to change him. He will have to repent of sin and apologize for his sins to his wife.
Then there are going to be difficulties. There will be times when family finances run low. The stress of infertility, miscarriages, raising children, losing jobs, changing jobs, moving, dealing with in-laws, and the death of parents test even the best marriages. The idea that a relationship where two people love each other will be effortless is a crock. This idea slipped into the way we think about relationships and it bears no resemblance to the truth.
What keeps a couple together through this. How does a man face his sins and grow into the likeness of Christ? How does a man not only endure though these difficulties, but do so in a way that his love for his wife and joy in her grows? This only happens when a man commits himself to his wife for the rest of his life. He closed off all of his options the moment he married her and this commitment to her anchors him through all the difficult times. It doesn’t just keep in the marriage physically, but leads him to pursue his wife’s greatest good and joy in the marriage.
This is the beauty of marriage. There are trials and difficulties, but there is increasing joy and love. The road to the high points goes through dark valleys, and when a man bails during them he never gets to go to the hilltops.
Men, love your wives and look out for her good before your own. Lock out all other options, devoting yourself to her and her joy. What happens through that brings much glory to God and unspeakable joy to you.