At some point, almost every man feels incompatible with his spouse. During those times, most men secretly wonder if they should’ve married someone else. They harbor that secret from their wives for fear of hurting them. But truth be told, from time to you’re your wives probably entertain similar thoughts.
The real news here isn’t that people sometimes wish they’d married someone different; it’s that they’re misdiagnosing the issue at hand and the challenge it requires of them. Everybody goes through difficult periods in marriage. At times everybody feels like throwing in the towel. And if you want to know the truth, everybody’at least in one sense’did marry the wrong person!
While teaching a marriage course at Notre Dame, a professor used to give his students one absolute: you always marry the wrong person. ‘It’s a reversible absolute, though,’ said Hauerwas, ‘You always marry the right person. The point is we don’t know who we are marrying.’
Professor Hauerwas is right. The knowledge you have of your spouse on your wedding day is unavoidably incomplete. Furthermore, both of you will change and develop over the course of your lives. Consequently, neither person knows exactly what the promise they’re making to one another will entail. The promise is bold, challenging, and ripe with reward.
Therefore, rather than ask if you’ve married the wrong person, try asking how you can learn to better love and care for the person you’ve married!
It’s easy to be God’s man when life is on a roll, isn’t it? But it’s another thing to be faithful in thought, word, and deed when you’re caught in the vortex of life’s storms. Yet that’s exactly when God’s man steps up to meet the challenge with integrity. The message is clear: perseverance under pressure pleases God. Some examples for you might be:
- Staying the course in the absence of immediate results.
- Seeking God in circumstances that are beyond your control.
- Continuing to pray for God’s will to be done in every situation.
- Doing God’s will whether you feel like it or not.
- Being satisfied with a reward that may come in the next life rather than this one.
- Staying sexually pure.
- Striving for excellence and earning your paycheck, even if you’re not always particularly wild about your job.
Guys, this is what we’re faced with in living life day to day, and persevering is evidence that you’re living a life of faith. And your response both tests and reveals the true depth of your spiritual character.
Martin Luther said that the gospel is intended for your ears rather than your eyes. Why? Because the promises and purposes of God are not readily discernable to your sight. That’s why you’re called to walk by faith. And that’s why you must persevere, trusting in Jesus Christ.
Who is more at fault: the woman who deprives her husband of physical intimacy, or the husband who deprives his wife of emotional intimacy? This one’s a no-brainer, guys. It’s you — the husband. You’re the leader of the home. You set the example. You create the environment and set the tone. You show your family how to walk with Christ through your servant-leadership. And your initiative in this regard will go a long way in eliciting the response of others. In other words, this issue usually comes down to a matter of leadership.
So what’s your first step in this? I think the Lord’s words in the 6th chapter of Luke provide a clue. My paraphrase goes like this:
‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your wife’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your wife, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? Don’t be a hypocrite. You must first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your wife’s eye.’
The bottom line, guys, is this: If a husband isn’t willing to serve his wife by making it a priority to be intimate and tender with her outside the bedroom, how can he possibly expect his wife to readily respond to his desires inside the bedroom?