(Part 2 of 3)
LAST week, I wrote that to have a great marriage, God must first quench the ‘demanding-ness’ inside each of us so that we are free to serve our spouse.
But how? The answer is to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Tasting is a non-rational experience.
When you lay a plate of sizzling steak in front of someone, you don’t explain the biochemistry of taste buds. You let that person put a slice of the succulent meat in his mouth. The steak will do the rest.
My best advice on how to find satisfaction with God is to read your Bible. I don’t mean read it as one would read a newspaper or a comic book. I mean read it with a heart to seek God. The unintended shortfall of many Bible studies is that we scour the Word for information, inspiration or principles.
Scripture can certainly serve these purposes. But I aver that the true purpose of Scripture is to show us, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, how wonderful God is. That wonder will then speak to the longings of our hearts and calm our restlessness. In re-discovering God, we are satisfied.
Call me crazy, but I noticed that after I dug deep into Scripture for personal study or for sermon preparation, I find myself more loving to my wife. That’s because my heart is filled anew with the goodness of God and the by-product is affection and service. Put conversely, when I neglect my devotions, I find myself treating her more as a secretary than a spouse. I was more automaton than amorous.
Second, think 100%-100%. Conventional wisdom says that marriage is give and take. Both spouses meet half-way to make each other happy. This leads to thinking 50%-50%. The conflict comes when it is not clear what a spouse’s 50% is comprised of. Is doing the laundry or giving a foot massage part of the husband’s 50% or the wife’s? What happens when one spouse thinks the other is only chipping in 40% instead of 50%?
The new paradigm is not even “think win-win”. It’s 100%-100%. The husband gives 100% while the wife also gives 100%. That means the marriage is running on 200% capacity! Or as Paul put it, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
In practical terms, a husband takes it upon himself to serve his wife the utmost, without expecting anything back in return. The wife does the same to her husband. There is no talk about “That’s your job, not mine” with the friction that such language can create.
Many times I would prepare my own work clothes to wear the following day. Lucy would protest and say that’s her wifely role. I would always respond with “I married a wife, not a butler.” I want her to enjoy life. I would rather her lounging on the sofa and watching her favorite TV show than her marching to the closet and fuzzing over my wardrobe. After all, she’s my queen!
* * *