Nobody said this would be easy, this marriage thing. Paul says it's a picture of Christ and the church, of uncontainable love poured out and lavished on the somewhat unwilling. Of submission and trust and respect for that loving authority.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. ... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, - Eph 5:22, 25 NKJV
Loving me as Christ loved the church must be tough. I think submission is hard sometimes, but to love the unlovely, the crabby, grumpy, unthankful, and mumbling? The pony-tailed and sweaty?
And to love me not only in the way that makes me feel loved, with flowers or chocolate or date-nights or spontaneous house-cleaning. Or built-in book shelves.
To love me the way I need it, too. The way I sometimes don't want it.
Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church.
Loving me by telling me no sometimes, telling me to wait, to be patient, to stop asking.
Or telling me, for my own good, to do those hard things. You love me like that, and I'm the better for it.
You love me enough to tell me what I don't want but desperately need to hear. You've never said it quite like this, but you could:
"Put your big girl panties on and deal with it."
Yep. You married a silly, selfish girl. Did you know that? Did you know that loving me like Christ loved the church would be such a sacrifice?
You sure do it well. You are gentle with me and patient.
I just want to thank you. Thank you for being like Christ and loving the unlovely. For sacrificing and cherishing and nurturing.
Like iron sharpens iron, we bristle and grate sometimes on our way to sanctification. But what joy in this marriage! How blessed I am to share life with you.
And that part at the end of Ephesians 5, about wives respecting their husbands?
A man leaves early every morning and sweats and toils, tapes up bleeding fingers and makes beauty out of wood and nails. He gets up 6 days of the week with an alarm, eats thousands of sandwiches without complaining, counsels, teaches, builds, fixes, reads stories, preaches to the unreached, runs miles and miles with his slow wife, and sometimes makes pancakes for his family or does the dishes.
Respect almost seems like an understatement. Couldn't there be a bigger word? You deserve more than I give, but I hope, pray, yearn for you to know that I do. I do respect you.
You are amazing, for so many more things than I can list here. You are amazing when you smile at the end of a hard day and when you play that game of checkers or Linkology. You are amazing when you laugh at my silly-woman-who-needs-to-get-out-more humor, when you read my words and think I'm something special.
My encourager, my gentle leader, my strong-man and my teacher. My crush and my best friend.