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If you are a married man or plan on getting married you will expect to be happily married to the woman you love … “until death do you part.”
But the astounding rate of broken marriages doesn't seem to bear that out. Being a happily married husband is by far one of the greatest challenges for men today.
Why is that?
Because in our self-absorbed, what’s-in-it-for-me society, being a “godly” husband requires death! Death to your self-centeredness and selfish demands to be first.
That’s not my idea but God’s, written in His Word as instructions for us. “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave up his life for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).
Indeed, Jesus Christ laid down His life for you. Are you willing to do the same for your wife?
If not, make it right. Don’t put it off. If you truly put her first, ahead of you, in everything, you will not only meet your wife’s needs, you will capture her heart. And a wife’s captured heart means you will be more loved and respected than you can imagine.
But there are three realities that will challenge you.
1. Putting her first requires the genuine want to, not the have to
Jesus did not have to die for you. He wanted to because He knew the outcome would be intimacy between you and God. While it may take intentional effort on your part, trying to force yourself into it will not work, and you will fail because she knew you were forcing it. And you will feel misunderstood, unappreciated and sorry for yourself.
You can literally create the new motive of want-to, over have-to, by focusing on the outcome. You want to have her love and respect you and this is the way to get it. God knows what is best for you (and her) and it’s why He gave you this instruction and example through Jesus. He will make good on it for you as you trust Him and follow through on it.
2. It will take time to build up a proven track record
We are accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it, in our on-demand world. Anything that takes time and requires patience is a very foreign thing to us. But living this out consistently is key. As your wife begins to experience being put first, you will by default raise the bar on her expectations.
However, you will likely stumble and resort back to selfishness, which she will immediately notice. You will be tempted to give up on it. Don’t do it! Stay in there. Fight for it. Fight for her. Pick yourself back up and prove to yourself that you really can die to your selfish wants. It takes time. It takes practice and perseverance. And it will absolutely take something greater than yourself to pull it off.
3. You are completely powerless to do this on your own
I don’t think you have to be convinced of how seemingly impossible it is to live unselfishly, always putting your wife first. To have any degree of success requires a source of power way beyond your own capabilities. It doesn’t matter if you have the discipline and perseverance of a Navy SEAL.
In your own strength you will fail.
It takes supernatural power. And that is why, when you fully and consistently surrender your life to the Lord, He, and not you, will be in charge. It’s not you sharing the throne with Jesus, but Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, running the show.
Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But inChrist, “you can do all things” (Philippians 4:13). If you believe thatand act on it, you will have the power you need to live unselfishly and become more and more like Christ.