Day 219: Reflecting Christ

May 7, 2012

On Friday, I read Ephesians 5:25-33 to us:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

In this passage, husbands are being called to a high (impossible?) standard: to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Although I might never have the opportunity to die for you, I’m called to sacrifice for you daily.

What are some ways I can do this? When you’re tired and would benefit from relaxing a bit, I can watch the kids. When you’re sick, I can take care of you. When we come home from grocery shopping, I can bring our food in for you. When you want to watch Pride and Prejudice but I want to watch LOTR, I can say to the former, “Yes. A thousand times yes!” When we’re both in bed and we realize that we left the back door unlocked, I can get up to lock it. When you need someone to talk to, I can put aside whatever I’m doing to listen. When I’m exhausted but haven’t done my act of love for the day, well, dagnabbit, I can stay up until I do it. I can give you a massage even when I don’t feel like it. I can remain faithful to you and pure. I can work hard, day after day, to provide for you. I can put your needs above my own. I can regard you as more important than myself. I can do all this in order to serve you, not to gain points with you or in expectation that you’ll do something for me. I can do these things and much more because I love you. And I can do them as long as we live.

And if I do these things, my love might just dimly reflect the unsurpassingly great love that Christ showed for us.


Day 46: Sunday Brunch

November 14, 2011

After church yesterday, I surprised you by taking our family to Elephant Bar for their Sunday brunch. This was a big deal because you love to eat out, but we try to save money by not eating out often. I hope you felt special. I think you did because you talked about our brunch a lot yesterday.

You weren’t the only one who enjoyed it. Our oldest daughter loves Elephant Bar–whenever we decide to eat out, she votes to eat there. On our way to the restaurant, I told you what we were doing, but not her. As we pulled into the parking lot, she saw the restaurant, hung her head, and said “I wish we could eat at Elephant Bar.” (What did she think we were doing in the parking lot for Elephant Bar? Taunting her?) “We are,” I replied. She brightened up immediately.

When I talked to our pastor later that day, he asked how I was doing. “Great! I took the family to Elephant Bar for brunch.” “They deserved that,” he replied. “They did. They give up a lot because of me.” He agreed. I’m sorry, honey, that I can’t take you to restaurants all the time–financially, we’ve sacrificed so much to pursue my dream. I wish I could treat you like a queen, lavishing you with expensive gifts, taking you out all the time, etc. But even though I can’t do those things, I can still treasure you–by guarding you, fighting for you, giving of myself for you, caring for you, etc. If I did the former things without the latter, you wouldn’t feel loved. And if you had to give up one for the other, it’s obvious which you’d choose. In the end, you wouldn’t want me to spend inordinate amounts of money on things we don’t need, given that we could use the same money to (for example) feed the hungry or spread the Gospel. (Having said that, I’m not opposed to taking you to Elephant Bar once in a while.)

Day 24: Christ’s Love

October 23, 2011

After the wedding yesterday, I wrote you this letter:

My Beloved,

As I listened to the wedding ceremony, I considered Paul’s command for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ’s love for us surpasses understanding and includes his excruciating death on our behalf. In our marriage, I have failed miserably to live up to Christ’s standard. Please forgive me. For consistently putting myself before you, forgive me. For my careless and hurtful words, forgive me. For not appreciating the sacrifices you make to let me pursue my dreams, forgive me. For not loving you as I should, forgive me. Please know that I desire to love you sacrificially and I think I’m daily becoming more like Christ (though the likeness isn’t great). Thank you for your patience as I strive to love you fully.

Your Beloved.