Loving our Wives

I’ve “messed up big” with my wife a few times recently and caused her hurt feelings by my carelessness or thoughtless words and actions. And proving the words “I didn’t mean to” in a court of law might free a man from any “criminal intent”, but it wouldn’t excuse anyone from negligence and liability. So I can’t excuse myself from applying healing balm to her wound just because I didn’t “intend” to do harm.

Even someone who cares very little about God can understand the pragmatism in serving and loving our spouses well. Even when I was living far from God, I knew the practical rule “you don’t sh#& where you eat” to help reduce and manage the collateral damage that might come from bad decisions, unhealthy influences, and unchecked desires — let alone carelessness.

But for the children of God, there are implications that reach deep into the spiritual realm that we might not know if they are not taught to us and we aren’t reminded of them regularly. I need to be reminded regularly to love my wife exceptionally like Christ loved the church — not because I don’t love her at all, and not because I don’t love her well, but because I have not yet perfected my love for her — and that is the direction that I must continue traveling.

My friend, Brian Eshleman, shares regularly through his own blog ( https://brianesh73.livejournal.com/ ), and we keep in touch with each other for discussion, encouragement, accountability, prayer and spiritual/Biblical discussion. He recently shared 1 Peter 3:7 with me and how it specifically convicted him.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:7 NLT

He commented on the verb “hindered” and emphasized:

“This is dramatic, even violent. Our prayers are cut down, uprooted, rejected before we get started, may be the equivalent of a shot blocked in basketball. Yikes.”

And I was immediately reminded of my own blog from 5 years ago: https://hballinger.com/2017/11/28/undeserved-treasure/

I quickly admitted “I would be served best by remembering it more than every 5 years, I think?”

We continued in our discussion as we encouraged each other towards repentance in our back and forth text messages, and I read down 3 more verses in 1 Peter 3:10 to find another hidden treasure:

For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.
1 Peter 3:10 NLT

Before ending my day and heading to bed, I replied:

I wonder how often this week my tongue has spoken evil of my wife and my lips may have spoken lies — based on my own assumptions about “what she meant” or what was “behind what she said” — rather than like verse 11 tells me to “search for peace, and seek to maintain it”. To realize that not only does He turn his face away from these evils that I’ve committed, but that it is genuinely the source of why I’m missing out on the “enjoy life, and see many happy days” that are the “if you want to” of verse 10.

After apologizing yet again to my wife for my carelessness, I fell asleep.

I woke up this morning, not to a wife still hurt and mending her wounds, taking a self- defensive stance, holding onto bitterness, or withholding her love — but she was as refreshing as the morning sun and as the sound of the birds announcing a new morning. Her kiss on my forehead woke me to a brand new day of God’s mercies and grace.

So I had to immediately reach out to Brian, (in my own mind like some messenger with beautiful feet trodding over the mountaintops to bring good news) that God’s promises are proven true yet again!

I’m glad that His mercies are new every morning, and that the Holy Spirit that guides and teaches my wife (much better than I might try to teach her myself) has her arising not in the bitterness that I might deserve, but in mercy and grace and invitation.

I apologize for the complexity of this letter, my friends. Because you may read through this quickly, and see a man bragging on his own repentance — or bragging on his friendship — or bragging on his wife — or bragging on his God. And while honor should be given to these things, none of those things existed for me in an honorable way until I truly met Jesus one-on-one and personally.

My point is that God the Father in heaven, by way of Jesus the perfect Lamb of God, offers you and I the gift of the Holy Spirit to make the impossible not just “possible” — but “guaranteed” by His promises.

Thank you Lord for giving me an honorable wife worthy of my praise and appreciation and honor. In contrast to warnings about making idols and giving honor to things that are not worthy of honor, you don’t just encourage us to honor our wives, you DEMAND it. Thank you for disciplining us gently in this area of our lives when we fall short and convicting us to not remain satisfied in our disobedience. Help us to be a blessing and to enjoy your blessing daily and even moment to moment. Amen.

One thought on “Loving our Wives

  1. Glad I could help. Similarly, I just rediscovered that the Proverbs 31 peon to the worthy wife starts out calling her trustworthy. I don’t move first to anybody’s good intentions (hopes all things, believes all things) but that should definitely start with my wife.

    Liked by 1 person

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