For a long time, I had a list of all the qualities and attributes I wished for in a husband and as I met suitors, I would carefully refer to my checklist weighing up the pros and cons. I believed whole heartedly that I deserved someone who met my expectations and would treat me exactly as I wished to be. But I’m here to tell you I was wrong. And frankly I believe this to be one of the KEY reasons more than 50% of marriage fail today.
We’ve become the “all about me” generation. In our work, our interests, how we spend our free time, which friendships we invest in and even in our marriages we put ourselves first and foremost. But that’s absolutely backwards.
We’re called to have a service attitude; to love others first and consider them before our own desires.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Marriage is two individuals, intentionally choosing to become one; vowing to forsake all others (including SELF), to honour, cherish, respect and serve! That means putting your spouses needs before your own, loving them before you love yourself, all while whistling a lovely tune. Well no, but with a smile on your face.
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” ~ Mark 10:6-9
Marriage is a choice; from the moment you say, “I will”, to the “I do” and every day and action that follows.
I personally struggle with this concept. While I will openly boast that my husband and I have a strong, supportive and very loving marriage, truthfully Im self sufficient. I’m an effervescent go-getter, who’s goal oriented and moves a mile a minute. I have big and wild dreams and many times, I put my own “tasks” before that of my wifely duties. Im my mind, as long as I tried every once in awhile to ensure I was tending to my husbands love languages, I was being a good wife.
But over the last few months, God has really changed my heart and shown me the need to re-prioritize and focus on others and him first!
I’ve heard many times from family, pastors and even friends, that by committing to being a wife first, you not only create a strong and healthy marriage, but that your husband will be more supportive, will in turn put your needs first and ultimately have you both more in love than ever before.
“You mean by tidying the house, cooking him dinner, asking how his day way, telling him how much I appreciate him making me morning coffee, having sex regularly and listening rather than speaking, my husband will put me first?! NAAAAHHH!” I thought. He won’t even notice! Those are just regular, every day things that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things! Oh man was I wrong.
I committed to testing this theory, trusting that God would reveal the truth. And in short, God won, proving yet again, his ways are far better than my own.
Just last week, Dave and I were walking the inlet when he told me has never been more in love with me, felt so deeply connected and found me more attractive. He even brought home the hugest bouquet of flowers saying I was the best wife he could ever ask for.
“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown.” ~Proverbs 12:4
It was then that I shared my little experiment. Together we walked for hours discussing how true and beautiful it is to love another, before loving yourself! I guess God really knew what he was doing when he said:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4
PS: Dave and I read Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 love languages,” when we were dating and it made a world of difference and has truly helped keep the spark alive! If you haven’t read it ye, I greatly encourage you to!”
Photos by Stu-di-o jeanie + Ameris