By the Lord’s grace and mercy, Wilma and I will celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary tomorrow (9 June). It has been a more-than-wonderful journey, not without its ups and downs. But the Lord is gracious and He has lovingly led us through it all and blessed us with 3 wonderful children. My heart is filled with gratitude, thankfulness and joy.
I am thankful to the Lord for His grace and loving kindness as He shows and teaches me what it means to heed His calling as a Christian husband. Indeed, it is a high calling for us Christian men to be godly and loving husbands to our wives and exemplary fathers to our children. Allow me to share some of my thoughts after 24 years of marriage.
a. Love her. Fall in love and stay in love. This is the first command that comes to mind when I think of our relationship. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Always see her with loving eyes and loving thoughts. Just look at her and say silently in your heart, “Thank you Lord for blessing me with such a beautiful wife, who is lovely both in appearance and in her heart.”
b. Make time for dates. Quality time is good, but quantity time is needed. It requires deliberate planning and effort. This is especially important when you have children. Go for after-dinner strolls. Have early breakfast before work, or a leisurely one on a Saturday morning. Plan for movie nights or midnight suppers. Anything. Just spend time together, just the 2 of you.
c. Pray for her. Love her for who she is and pray for her to become who God is molding her to be.
d. Say “I love you” often. Praise her often.
e. Hold hands and hug often.
f. Do the things she likes and enjoys. It’s an act of service. And don’t do it grudgingly! Wilma likes to be massaged to sleep (who doesn’t?). So…..
g. Communication. If you are like me, a man of few words – it’s ok. We just have to listen.
h. Make her laugh. You want her to be happy. A happy wife will treat you well.
i. Surprise her from time to time. These are the things she’ll remember. It spices up her life. Pleasant surprises, please.
j. Splurge on her, once in a while. Let her know you treasure her and that she is precious to you. Let her feel like she’s the queen. And that makes you the king!
k. Treat her best friends like your good friends. It is smart to have allies. It is important to encourage her to have her own circle of close friends for support, friendship and encouragement.
l. Love her parents like your own. My mother-in-law always says that I am her favourite son-in-law. Maybe that’s because I’m her only son-in-law! But I truly thank God for my wonderful parents-in-law who are a real blessing to my family.
m. Let the children see and know that daddy and mummy love each other. It gives them emotional stability and a needed sense of security. It’ll do them a world of good to know that their parents are committed to each other and to them.
n. Provide for the family. Work hard and do your best to provide for the family. 1Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” It does not matter what kind of job you do or how much you earn. But it does matter that you set the example of diligence, responsibility, integrity, discipline and positive attitude to your family.
o. Be the spiritual leader. I believe every Christian wife yearns for her husband to lead her and the family spiritually. We do not need to be a ‘spiritual giant’ in order to lead the family. No, we just need to have a sincere faith and a genuine dependency on the Lord Jesus, shown in the way we live our lives. Set the example by your own spiritual growth. Areas that we should exercise spiritual leadership:
· Have family devotions, worship and prayer – growing together as a family.
· Applying godly principles in daily living and decision making.
· Observing the Sabbath.
· Prioritizing church activities.
· Bringing up the children in the fear of the Lord. Take ownership of their spiritual development and well-being.
p. Bringing the children up in the fear of the Lord. Training our children in godliness is an expression of our love for one another. Teach them to put God first in their lives. Train them in the habits of prayer, of faith, of reverence for the Lord, of obedience. Help them to build a firm foundation on the Word of God. In the words of JC Ryle in the article “The Duties of Parents” (written in 1887): “If you love them, think often of their souls. The world with all its glory shall pass away… but the spirit which dwells in these little ones shall outlive them all.”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)