My wife Libby and I recently celebrated our 43rd anniversary. Sounds like forever, doesn’t it? We married just after leaving the “hippie” life and becoming Christians. We stepped into a new world of learning what the Bible teaches about husbands and wives, and we faced a radical change from our previous life.
The scripture commands a husband give things up for the sake of their wife. It tells us to give and care for them unlike anything I had seen before. And for Libby, she was to honor and respect me as the husband and leader of the family.
These ideas were absolutely NOT what our counter-culture of “hippieness” advocated. But it was obvious: Christian marriages worked. When we had serious problems where the marriage could have easily dissolved, we stayed together. The only reason it worked out was because we had discovered principles God had established, and we cried out to Him for help. Some of these might surprise you, but every married couple needs these principles at work if they want to stay married.
The first is this: love God more than you love your spouse. This simple command is much harder to walk out than you might think. But Jesus commanded it:
And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
That means we choose to do what God wants over what we (or our spouse) wants. His plan for your life must take precedence. So, what is his commandment about marriage?
Husbands, love your wife. Seems obvious, right? But loving your wife means more than just buying her roses on Valentine’s Day (which is never a bad idea, guys). It means giving up things I want so that I can give her things she needs. It means putting her needs and desires above my own.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
What does look like practically? It means we give up time, money, and make choices for her benefit. Ladies, if you are looking for a husband, here’s my advice: find a man who loves God more than he loves you, and he will love you more than any woman on earth.
Wives, honor your husbands.
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2
To be frank, Libby put up with me because she loved God more than she loved me. She honored me even when I made great mistakes, which just made me love her all the more. The God who created us, who designed our psyche, gave us instructions for marriage. He gave us the blueprint of how to have a happy and successful marriage.
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established. Proverbs 24:3
Wisdom is to live by God’s design. I’ve realized I am happiest loving my wife, when I love her God’s way. That is how He designed marriages to thrive.