Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. -Ephesians 5:22
My friend loves his dog. A year ago when he first received it he bombarded his friends with random pictures of him holding the German Shepherd. He took videos of the puppy running across his bedroom. He talked constantly about how healthy the food he was feeding the dog was. He took vacations with him, took him to the veterinarian, and reminded us all that he was his “comrade”.
The only problem was his real comrade was at home, often making dinner, doing laundry, and picking up after him while he was picking up after his dog. His true comrade was his wife and while it seemed easier to blame him for a strained marriage, the truth is they both had stopped communicating with each other.
Sure, he seemed affectionate. He thanked her always for cleaning, cooking, and doing the laundry. He sometimes helped, doing dishes after dinner or running her water for a bath. She would laugh at how often he spent with the dog yet wonder why tasks weren’t complete in the house. Why the car oil light still blinked, why the closet door he promised to fix was still off the hinge… Why he spent so much time with that stupid dog.
He too had a mental list of her shortcomings, like the time he asked her to join him for the work appreciation banquet, how she had insisted on staying home and completing the chores.
Unfortunately, my friend and his wife didn’t realize that their frustrations came from not communicating. It came from not speaking each other’s love language. My friend was so attached to his dog because it was (willingly or unwillingly) spending time with him. His love language after all was Quality Time. His wife on the other hand found herself resenting him for not understanding that her love language was Acts of Service.
My friend’s marriage represents the importance of communicating with your spouse.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… Ephesians 5:25
Both my friend and his wife had different ideas of what marriage meant. Submission for his wife meant making sure the house was well kept and for him loving his wife meant thanking her and showing affection. However, true love requires us to look away from our own interpretation and understand that God’s love is about communicating. After all, God speaks to us on a daily basis. He too wants us to communicate with him, to place our fears and heartache at his feet while reminding ourselves of how far he has brought us.
My friend found out that from the Five Love Languages, his love language is Quality Time and his wife was speaking her love language, which is Acts of Service. He realized that what made his wife happiest was when he did chores around the house, and when he helped her with the upkeep of the house. In return, she started to spend time with him, take hikes with the dog, and plan adventures outside of the house together.
Beyond learning each other’s love language my friend reminds us often that he is always learning. That to become one (as husband and wife) requires unity in all aspects of life, from co-parenting to making big purchases. The selflessness that comes with communication requires him to always seek God’s guidance as the head of the house- to be led by the Holy Spirit. This simply means that he must always be obedient to God.
He has learned the importance of spending time with his wife, remembering that he had to spend time in God’s presence to know him. When he thinks of loving his wife the way Christ loved the church he realizes the importance of understanding her, of knowing her and protecting her. This is the love he now seeks. A love that goes beyond his own expectations and ideals, but rather focuses on a Christ-centered home. A love that requires him to let go of “his marriage” and focus on the marriage God has for him.
We Want to Know:
How are you keeping Christ at the center of your marriage?
How have you grown as a Christian since getting married?