Ephesians 5 exhorts a husband to give up his life for his wife "to make her holy and clean, washed by...God's Word. Have you ever washed your wife in the Word?
Gary often opens his Bible and says to me, "Listen to this, Barb…" Then he reads to me what the living, breathing Word of God is doing in his own heart and how it's changing his life. What a witness and testimony that is, then, for my own life. Sometimes, truthfully, I don't feel comfortable with what he's reading because it challenges my selfish nature. Yet I can't deny that my thoughts are altered, and I want to become more like Christ because of it.
I recall one powerful example of this in our lives. Gary and I were speaking at a FamilyLife conference in Jacksonville, Florida. Our plane landed late the night before the conference was to begin, and we were both exhausted. As we sat in our hotel room with every intention of looking over our notes in preparation for the following day, we were suddenly both overwhelmed.
Gary, who at that time was still dealing with the grief over his dad's death, was emotionally spent. And that week I had received a harsh letter from someone I greatly admired and respected, and I was devastated.
But as we sat in that hotel room, Gary picked up his Bible and began reading to me. Initially, I resisted. My own wound felt too fresh, the pain too deep. But he insisted and kept reading. We were both in tears as he continued to pour the Word of God into our hearts and minds. Gently, God's words pried open my guarded heart and began to heal my wounded spirit. God's Word strengthened both of us, and by the time Gary finished reading, we both felt brand-new. Clean and refreshed. Yes, even holy and clean.
The following week we got a call from the FamilyLife conference manager. His words were, "What happened in Jacksonville last week? Your evaluations were unbelievable. You hit it out of the ballpark!" What happened was that God made us as broken people and restored our souls through His Word and a time of true spiritual intimacy.
When Gary takes the lead in this way, he reflects God's character. As a result of seeing this kind of godliness in his life, I am encouraged to trust God more and follow Jesus more closely. This brings a level of trust and security into our relationship that can be found nowhere else. Now please understand – we struggle with family issues just like everyone else. For example, we struggle with finances. We face a pile of bills. But when Gary leans over in church and says, "Let's give more this week," I sit in awe of what God is doing in my husband. His generosity and obedience to God melt my heart. Do I still have some insecurity about giving more money? Sure I do, but I trust Gary's judgment and his leadership in this matter because he's a man who follows God. When you independently tune in to God, then turn and tune in to your wife, you create an openness that is the ultimate intimacy between a husband and wife.
A husband and wife who build their marriage on the foundational commitment to pursue God above all are able to share fears, anxieties, joys, and dreams. They're able to open themselves up and share thoughts and feelings, even when they hurt. They are free to experience transparent honesty, knowing that they love each other unconditionally and that neither will ever walk away or point fingers.
This post is an excerpt from our book, The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women.