God's Word commands us to "love the Lord your God with ALL of you heart, with ALL of your soul, and with ALL of your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it. You should love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39) There you have it. This is God's will for you and for me. God WILL help us to live and to love like Him more and more each day as we crucify our sinful nature and desire MORE of Him to rule in our hearts. If your goal is to be a Godly wife, I believe a great prayer to pray is "Lord, help me to love YOU MORE!!!" But keep reading. God's WORD then commands us to "love your neighbor as yourself". SO, who IS my neighbor? I don't have to look any farther than the person I wake up to every morning. I am commanded to love my husband as much as I love myself. Well, most of us, whether we like to admit it or not, love ourselves a whole lot and it stops there. When we love the Lord as it states in the first verse, loving and respecting our husbands will be an overflow of the love we have for Christ. Wouldn't it turn the world upside down if all of us wives put this into practice? It starts with me...with MY heart, with MY choices...towards MY god and then towards MY husband.
SO, we already know it is hard to love as Jesus loves. What about when you have been wounded? When your spouse has betrayed you? When your heart is broken from catching your husband (again) looking at porn? These kind of issues take "hard" to a whole new level.
Let's just say it like it is.... betrayal and pain can bring out the worst in all of us. Should you be angry? YES! Sin and unrighteousness should make everyone angry! Betrayal in ANY form is wrong. Period. I know there are times when "tough love" is what is necessary. But even then, I believe it is the Lord's desire that we walk in love. We do not have to become bitter, resentful, or revengeful. The LOVE of CHRIST in us can trump all that ugliness if we allow Him to be in control. It is all about how we handle our anger and our pain that makes all the difference.
Speaking of ugly, when I am hurt......when I am broken is when what is buried and hidden in my heart comes to the surface. Dear friends, God can't be fooled. He knows what's in our hearts. He will use our trials, our hardships and even our brokenness to purify our hearts so that we are emptied of the ugliness(self) that is there.
So MANY times my reactions have looked more like hate than love. I have circled the same mountain with the same reactions too many times to count! My husband's addiction to porn revealed that I had my own heart issues that I needed to deal with. I became ugly and critical towards my "sinful" husband. I had my hands full of stones to throw at him......as If I was without sin...NOT!! My thoughts became wrapped around MY wants, MY desires, MY way! Even though my husband was repentant, I could not let it go. I gave him grace but not without ugliness and my own selfishness attached to it. I am not kidding when I say it is only by God's amazing grace that our marriage has survived. Some would say he deserved to be treated poorly but I am confident that is not what Christ would say.
As God's beloved daughters, we cannot justify our own sinful attitudes and behaviors because our husband's choices have wounded us.
Ever tried to change or control your husband? What about "fix" your husband? Me, too. So many times in the aftermath of our brokenness we try to do these very things. It is amazing the lengths we will go to to try to have OUR way and to try to protect our hearts....from crying, to pouting, to threatening divorce and everything in between. Ladies, that kind of behavior does not in any way exemplify the love of Christ and will not bring about the results that we desire. The truth is, we cannot change, control or "fix" our husbands. That is God's job and one that only He can do.
SO what CAN we do when it seems so hard to love?
What I CAN do is quit making excuses for NOT being the Godly wife God has called ME to be.
I can quit blaming my husband for the ugliness in my own heart. I can take responsibility for my OWN choices and attitudes. I can control my responses. I can control me. I am accountable to God for only MY choices and my husband is accountable to God for HIS choices. I can be free to love my husband IN Christ, knowing that He has my back. I can read 1 Corinthians 13 and take steps to put it in to practice knowing that I have the grace and strength of God to empower me.
These things are easier said than done, I know that all too well. BUT they CAN be done. God's love letter to us is full of precious promises that we can stand upon. These promises can replace our excuses. Hebrews 13:20-21 says "And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ, equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to Him". Amen! 2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us "God is ABLE to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency, in ALL things, may have an abundance for every good work." Did you catch that? GOD IS ABLE, His Grace will abound toward you and in abundance!! I don't know about you but I am thankful it is in abundance because there are times when I need truck loads of it...God's got me covered and He has you covered, as well!
As we are coming to the end of one year and the beginning of another, God is stirring my heart like never before to LOVE my husband and others the way He loves me. To be the wife He has called me to be not based on what my husband does or doesn't do, but based upon my relationship with Christ. To love deeply, even when it's difficult, even when my heart is broken. It is a choice we all get to make. I am sure I will fail at times, and when I do, my gracious Lord will pick me up again and gently continue stripping away the ugliness I hold in my heart. I am so thankful that He is faithful to complete the work He has begun in me.
What about you? What is God showing you that He wants to do in your heart this coming year? If you don't know, ask Him. I can assure you that He has MORE for you than what you have experienced so far. Dear sister, surrender your heart, your husband and your marriage to HIM. Go ahead, love with the love of Christ that is in you! He will take care of your husband in His timing, in His way. AND He will take care of YOU! NO matter what your husband does or doesn't do....more porn or no porn, God desires to change YOU and transform your life into something so beautiful that when others see you.... they see a reflection of HIM.
....He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
Above all, love each other deeply......
1 Peter 4:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:8-9, 11
Written by: Mindy Adams