It is with great excitement that I share this post today as I write about one of my favorite topics……marriage!! A few years ago, a dear friend and myself sat on my sofa, coffee in hand, talking about marriage and the ministry. At the time, I was mommy to an adorable, but busy little two year old and a baby. We just “survived” language school and had dove head first into our new, unexplored territory of ministry. It was a busy and exciting time. Before long, however, I was faced with the infamous question: How do I balance family and ministry? My little ones needed much of my attention and my husband needed his wife, whilst a hundred other things were calling my name. A little overwhelmed I turned to my friend for advise. That night she shared a piece of wisdom that I really didn’t have the capacity to yet fully grasp, but that would impact me and our marriage for years to come. She said: “Regardless of what others expect you do, your husband has but one that can fully minister to him, and that is you” So unashamedly invest where no one else can……your family, your marriage your man. Wow!! That day the phrase “ministry to the minister” was born in my mind and has stayed a steady reminder that I needn’t neglect to serve and take care of whom only I can…..my man.
Over the years, I have assessed our relationship to help me grow in marriage and to better understand my husband. We are by no means a perfect couple, but we strive to grow and become better stewards of God’s plan for our marriage! I would love to share a few basic ways that we can be a blessing to our husbands. So in no particular order :
1. Grow in the Lord
I’ll be honest, I struggle with insecurity sometimes. I’m not very talented. There’s nothing particularly special about me and sometimes I look around and start to feel sorry for my husband. I love him so much that I wish I could be more for him. I have to remind myself though, that being more like my Savior is much, much more valuable to my husband than me being more within myself. The Lord has gifted some with many gifts and that is wonderful, but no gift or amount of physical beauty can outweigh an absence of virtue. What blesses my husband most, is a sweet, meek, submissive, patient and forgiving wife. These characteristics (amongst many others) are not true to my flesh. They are grounded in a heart that is yielded to my Lord, hungering, yearning to grow and be more like Him.
2. Meet his (physical) needs
Yes, I said it out loud (and yes, I am blushing a little ;), but there is no denying this crucial part of my mans well being. You see for the first few years of marriage I kind of lacked the capacity to fully grasp the “meet his needs” idea. I understood that he needed the physical attention of course, but at times it seemed a little high maintenance to me (you know what I mean :). If we’re not careful, this mindset can soon turn something that was designed by our Creator to be blissful and beautiful into a chore. And let’s face it mommies…….no chore takes priority over that much needed sleep……..particularly, let’s say, around bedtime! 🙂 Inevitably we start to slowly, but surely neglect this precious responsibility. When things really get out of balance some may even come to resent it.
See something I didn’t quite understand then, was that intimacy is much more than a physical act. Albeit, it takes care of an important physical aspect as well. Intimacy meets a deep-seated emotional and mental need that your husband has. We can’t relate to it and he may not even be able to verbalize it, but making love to him frequently says that he is loved and treasured. It says “you are the man, my man.” It can lift his spirits, curb the stress, give him confidence and help guard his mind. Intimacy is a gift reserved for marriage, that generates a closeness, a sweetness and a connection unequaled by any other “activity”. Intimacy is an expression of love and what is pretty neat is that it is unique to your marriage, custom made in your own private relationship.
When I realized what a service intimacy was to my husband, things changed. I changed………he changed……….and we are both much happier 🙂
3. Be positive
This pretty much speaks for itself. On a practical note however, you may be faced with a lot of conflicting emotions your first few years on the field or in the ministry or the entire time for that matter. Working with people can be one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Throw in another language, culture shock and family adjustments such as lack of sleep with a little one and you could be tempted to struggle a tad with the ole’ attitude 🙂 It comes natural to me to turn to my best friend (my husband) to unload when my load feels too heavy, but what I can keep in mind is that his load is that and much more. I can really leave him dragging if I’m in the habit of nagging and being negative. He has given his life to serve our Lord and I want to enhance him in that calling.
I do on the other hand have a Heavenly Father who is ready and willing to listen, and who is, oh so capable of dealing with the mess I am and the burdens I carry. I should talk to Him more.
4. Have compassion
My hubby’s not perfect and I am perfectly fine with that because I know that I am not either 🙂 Treat others the way you wish to be treated (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31). This is such an important principle in life. Sometimes it just takes a great deal of empathy to accomplish this. It is easy to point fingers, be overtaken in frustration, react instead of respond and be judgmental, but we can remind ourselves that, just like us, more than us, he has a thousand challenges, issues, pressures and tasks that he deals with and need accomplish on a daily basis. Sometimes the short answer, lack of attention etc. is not on purpose and it’s really not personal. He’s just got a lot going on. I want to be an understanding wife. Any good husband (particularly with an understanding wife) will come back and apologize for any hurtful or offensive behavior. My prayer has been : “God, give him the grace to love me unconditionally”, rather than “God give me the grace the love him unconditionally”. When my eyes are not on ME, I can appreciate him for all the good things he is and not foster frustration about something he’s not.
5. Have fun
Learn to laugh. At yourself, at your husband (with your husband), at your children and at your mistakes. I am inherently a serious person. Passionate, goal oriented, over-responsible, organized. Not necessarily “happy-go-lucky, lol. If there’s a problem, I will ponder and plan until I think a solution or potential solution was found. The problem with that is that there is always some kind of problem or challenge and truth is, you can’t go through life without a laugh and that’s a Biblical conclusion 😉 (Proverbs 17:22)
My husband who is more laid back, taught me how to let go, goof off, laugh at his sense of humor and have a little fun! (Today, those closest to me even get to experience my own sense of goofiness, which I am very proud of 😉 Life is full of lemons, so stir in some sugar and add a bit of sweetness. Learn to have fun, because a good laugh is like medicine that will no doubt treat some of the pressure that life and the ministry throws at your man. It certainly makes marriage more of an enjoyable experience.
So from my heart to yours, I pray the that these simple thoughts can be an encouragement to you and your marriage.