This past weekend, my wife and I celebrated our one year anniversary. It doesn’t seem like much of a milestone, but both of us have been through the wringer when it comes to marriage. This was my second marriage, as well as hers. My first marriage ended pretty terribly, as did hers. We were both exhausted from single-parenting our two beautiful daughters. Neither one of us were too naive about how difficult marriage can be. Nevertheless, we dove in head first and trusted Jesus.
During my post-divorce singleness, when I wasn’t burning dinner, I spent a good bit of my downtime reading books on Christ-centered marriages. I deeply desired a Godly and battle-tested spouse. I wanted to be involved in the ministry of cultivating a family. I thought I had it all pretty much figured out (cue narrator stating I didn’t have it figured out).
Obviously, books can only prepare you so much for sharing your life with someone. I agree with Matt Chandler when he says marriage is the fast lane to sanctification. What that means is that your deepest flaws are revealed when you become one flesh. So looking back on the past year, I wanted to lend a piece of advice for fellow husbands.
Love your wife the way God made her.
I found myself subtly trying to manipulate my wife and create a version of her that was more compatible with me. I wanted her to like the things I liked, and think the way I thought. I simply didn’t trust God’s design for her. He knew exactly what we both needed, and in His sovereignty, brought us together for the sole purpose of delighting in each other and glorifying Him.
What this behavior did to her was constantly make her feel like she wasn’t measuring up. Although I never expressed any ultimatum, constant pushing for change from me made her feel as though she had to adapt and change, or she would never make me happy.
I certainly didn’t say I Do with a conscious plan to treat her this way. It was my sin, and a part of satan’s plan to divide and destroy us. It had to be revealed to me through conviction from the Holy Spirit.
If this resonates with you, I urge you learn to trust God’s design for your wife. Cultivate, not condemn. Only He is the author of her heart. He leads her, sanctifying her through the His Spirit. He doesn’t need your help convicting her. He wants you to love her unconditionally and sacrificially, the very same way Christ loves you (Ephesians 5:25).