Uncommon Story, Common Problem

Steve Arterburn

God often gives difficult and unusual assignments to His servants. But in the Bible, in the case of Hosea, that’s an understatement. God commanded him to go and marry a prostitute. He said, ‘This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me.’

 

Hosea’s marriage to the prostitute, Gomer, was a metaphor for the way God loves His sometimes faithless, shameless, and spiritually adulterous people. At one point, in broken-heartedness and righteous indignation, God threatened to cast His people off due to their flagrant infidelity.

 

But God is always faithful’even when His people aren’t. So amidst His grief and anger, He proclaims His undying love. Again Hosea’s marriage provides the powerful picture of this: ‘Bring her back to you and love her,’ God commands Hosea, ‘even though she loves adultery.’

 

To be sure, the book of Hosea is an amazing testimony of God’s steadfast love. But it’s also something else. It’s an uncommon story about a very common problem: marital infidelity.

 

Should we suppose that God wants his men to marry prostitutes? Of course not! But Hosea does show us that a husband can be faithful, even to an unfaithful wife. And at times, guys, every relationship needs such selfless love. There may come a time when your bride breaks your heart and causes you shame. It could be adultery, or a vast array of other issues. In that time, remember the way God loves you. Remember His words to Hosea: ‘Bring her back to you and love her.’

Where Is Your Heart?

Steve Arterburn

Is your marriage a delight to you? How does it compare with, say, your career or your favorite hobby when it comes to charging your engines? These aren’t things many men think about often, are they? And even when we do, it’s tough to get past our own defense mechanisms in order to get accurate answers.

This being the case, I’ve got a more practical and concrete way for you to answer these questions. Over the next several days, keep your eye out for these particular things as they show up in your daily life:

        Does your wife’s face brighten when you enter the room?

        Do you greet and part with a kiss, or some other form of affection?

        Does she respond positively to your embrace?

        Does talking happen often and proceed easily between the two of you?

        When she’s sad, or when she’s been hurt, is it you that she seeks?

        Do you think about her when she’s not around? If so, what kind of thoughts?

Guys, the observations you make with regard to these questions will go a long way in helping you discern where your heart is at with your wife. If you find a passion for oneness and a passion for serving her, that’s fantastic! Keep up the good work.

However, if you find that the passion isn’t there, don’t blow it off. It’s not okay. You need to seek it, find it, and fan it into flame.

Courting

Steve Arterburn

If you seriously want to learn how to meet your wife’s needs, you can. All you need to do is recall the initial process of getting to know your wife when you were courting. It wasn’t rocket science, and still isn’t: You spent hours and hours together talking and exploring one another’s personalities. And the most important thing you did was act on what you learned.

When you discovered your girl liked this music or that food or those flowers, you responded. There was nothing you wouldn’t do to show your love, and that you were serious about the relationship.

Once men leave the wedding reception, the get-to-know-you graph too often takes a dive like a dot-com stock in early 2000. Okay, maybe not quite that fast. But it begins falling nonetheless. Despite a guy’s best intentions to think otherwise, there’s something in him that says, ‘I know my wife. I wouldn’t have married her if I didn’t.’ The truth is, you only think you know her. You only know as much as the number of months of your courtship revealed. And more importantly, you only know what she’s disclosed.

My encouragement to every man who wants to know how to meet his wife’s needs is to begin, courting her afresh. If you’ll devote the same intensity and interest to your wife after marriage that you did before’and maintain that interest level throughout your marriage’you will learn your wife’s needs and how to better meet them.