For many Christian couples, this is a bad idea. They’d do much better getting their priorities in order with God’s priorities rather than showing up and going through the motions because, that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Sometimes, God wants us to stay home from Church.
God doesn’t want us offering our gifts to him when we are out of fellowship with our spouses. But, we’re pretty good at times aren’t we, having become practiced at the art of deception, fooling everyone but God about the true state of our relationship?
Leave your gift at the alter, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother (wife!) and then come offer your gift (to God). Matthew 5:24
I was 17 when we met. What a guy! But it wasn’t until I spent a weekend at his house and met his wife that my perception of him as a godly man was rocked.
He was a dynamic missionary married to a truly beautiful, talented woman.
And he was definitely “on fire” . . . but not for her.
He had “higher” spiritual priorities. Flying around in a hotshot bush plane, spreading the Gospel with unmatched zeal, he was the envy of many other missionaries with his engaging personality, powerful speaking gifts, and winning ways.
Then I met his wife. What was wrong with her?
Never smiling, her depressed countenance was a mystery. He seemed like a great guy. Why wasn’t she radiant, fulfilled, and happy?
Sometimes it’s the wife – a women who is determined to live as if sucking on raw lemons improves her countenance. She’s just determined to live without joy regardless of the blessings in her life.
But, far, far more often, in my experience, a joyless wife is the result of the husband refusing to make his wife the priority God requires in His Word, as if there is a difference between loving God and cherishing his wife.
Gotta get to that next prayer meeting, ministry event, committee meeting, etc., etc.
Sometimes we men are so busy loving God, we’re walking in sin.
But, shouldn’t we be zealous for winning the lost, foreign missions, for youth work, or for the church’s inner-city ministry or . . . ?
No, we shouldn’t . . . not if our zeal for God gets in the way of obedience to what He told us to do.
If I’m the cause of a lack of radiance in my wife, I’m walking in disobedience to God. Papering over that sin with spiritual-sounding exploits might fool the guy in the next aisle on Sunday morning but it won’t impress God, or our wives.
When it comes to marriage, it takes two – both parties are responsible. Yet, when it comes to the contented, radiant, fulfilled life of your own wife, ask yourself a question:
Is my wife the most cherished, fulfilled, loved woman I know?
Better yet, what would your wife honestly say if she was asked, “Do you feel cherished by your husband?” In a quiet moment with just the two of you, you should ask her.
From a distance, the super-missionary looked like the apostle Paul – bold, zealous, caring, sold out for the Gospel. But his wife was downcast, dull of spirit, lacking joy. Most of us look pretty good from the back of a galloping horse at a hundred yards. But distance and the pace of our lives never obscure from God’s view the true nature of our obedience to Him.
Misplaced zeal for God had relegated the missionary’s wife to a distant secondary status. We can be too spiritual, sometimes. There’s nothing godly or biblical about neglecting the needs and heart of our wife and calling it ‘putting God in 1st place in our lives.’
Obedience to God means doing what he says.
When it comes to wives, “Bible Math” is pretty straightforward: Husband + Obedience to the Word = Cherished Wife. A Christian man’s wife is supposed to hold the same place in His heart as the Bride of Christ, the Church, holds in Jesus Christ’s: Husbands love your wives just like Christ loved the Church – Ephesians 5:25
Oh, yeah, that, whatever.
We’ve heard it so many times it induces barely a yawn.
But, if my wife’s lack of radiance is due to not being cherished, it’s not just too bad for her, it’s wrong, it’s sinful, and I need to change. A Church full of men who love God is a Church full of cherished wives.
If anyone asks your wife, “Are you a cherished woman?” do your part to make sure she can respond with abandon: Absolutely, I wish everyone could enjoy being loved as I am loved!
Chances are, if you have a cherished wife, it wouldn’t occur to anyone to ask the question because a cherished woman is as eye-catching as a huge star burning brightly in the night sky; as radiant as the summer sun.
And, what man doesn’t want that?
God told us men to get to it.
So let’s get busy!
How will you cherish your wife, today? In what ways have you been cherished by your husband?
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).