“I love my wife”! I say this, unashamedly, because it’s true. I proclaim my love to Carol quite often. As her husband, that should come as no surprise. But, I am amazed at how often I am called upon to say those words to others. This comes as a result of being confronted with statements such as: “Check her out”, and “Wouldn’t you like to…?”. To which I reply; “Why? I love my wife. What more could I need?!”. Coming from married men, their statements offend me, and apparently the feeling is mutual. But, I am honestly quite blessed and satisfied with the woman I proudly call my wife. I feel no need to lust after anyone else. That’s the key, you know. Appreciate the one whom you love and all others will pale in comparison.
I readily admit to being a “hopeless romantic”. I’ve been frequently told that I was born too late, as in the wrong century. Because of my marital tunnel vision, I’ve even been called a Puritan! Wow! Thanks!!
It appears that we live in a world where true love and romance are too infrequently looked upon as a gift. We live in a world where women have often been considered second class citizens. We also live in a society where it seems women are often the brunt of a joke. “Locker room humor” seems to thrive on belittling women – quite often wives. Far too often I hear guys refer, with disdain, to their wife as the “old lady”, “ol’ ball and chain” and usually far worse. Some of these guys won’t even speak to me, or around me, simply because I asked the logical question: “So, why did you marry her?”.
These statements don’t make me an advocate of women’s lib. But, I am a proponent of women’s rights. Jesus was. Therefore, I feel it only right that I should follow His lead.
1 John 4:19 says; “We love Him because He first loved us.”. That is in reference to our conditional love for God’s unconditionally loving us first. But, in many ways, it describes the reason for my deep love for Carol. She loved me first! I met Carol at a time in my life, when I had no desire for a relationship. I had been hurt and wanted no part of furthering that pain. The walls I had built around me were high and thick, impenetrable; or so I thought. Carol saw something in me, which to this day, baffles me. I saw the bad in me and openly told her about who I was and what I had done. She loved me in spite of these things and still does. How could I not love her in return?!
This is indeed how God loves us; unconditionally. Unlike any human love, He loves us also, unfailingly. He loves us, not because of any great accomplishment. What could we do to impress the Creator of all? He loves us in spite of our failings, in spite of who we were and who we are. Yes, there is a difference. I am not the same person with whom Carol fell in love. Often times you will hear that as an excuse for divorce. Hidden faults emerge through time spent together. But, the changes in my life have transpired in a good way. Carol has helped to make me a better person. Hopefully, I have provided some of the same for her. Ah, yes – admission that although I love Carol, she’s not perfect. We have our differences, some of which are simply male / female – not all bad! She also has a tendency to leave her shoes in the most unlikely of places and when we first met, she had a bit of a temper. Occasionally she frustrates, and even irritates me. However, that’s largely just a male/female thing. Believe it or not, there are differences in the ways in which we think. Sometimes those thoughts seem alien and totally unfathomable to me. But, compared to my faults, she’s “a little lower than the angels”, as God desired us all to be. Now, I’m not placing her on an undeserved pedestal. I’m simply referring to the love, respect and admiration which I feel she deserves. Because our mutual love is Christ centered, our differences never diminish the depths of that love.
Unlike any of us, Jesus is perfect. His love for us is perfect, flawless. Yet, He sometimetimes frustrates me, even to the point of irritation. Those feelings are largely due to my very finite mind’s inability to comprehend His Infinite Being, wisdom and will. That doesn’t mean that I love Him less. Quite the contrary! Upon recognizing the reason for my irritability, I love Him more. Why? Because it is both recognition that He is God and that I’m not. I’m not alone with this line of thinking. In Isaiah 55:9 God says; “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”. In spite of our differences and perhaps because of them, God loves us. How can I not love Him in return?
Far beyond the changes which Carol helped to encourage, I have become a new creation in Christ. This change is not the result of my efforts, or due to the influence of any earthly person. I have become the “new and improved” Jeff as the result of His saving grace. Nothing I can do will improve upon that. Yet, there is plenty of room for me to grow.
Whether you examine me as a husband, or as a Christian, I’m certain to be found imperfect in both roles. This knowledge does not deter me from trying to be better. Instead I find myself striving to be the best husband for Carol and the best servant of Christ. Actually, the two roles have blended together in such a way, that they are inseparable. As a servant of Christ, my role as a loving, considerate husband becomes second nature. Both are a joy! With the encouragement and the knowledge of love, from both Jesus and Carol, I learned to love in return.
So, you see, it is difficult for me – if not altogether impossible – to understand the belittling of a spouse. Our life together is based upon love, mutual respect, being the best of friends and foremost, it is centered in the unconditional love of God. Tied together like that, it’s easy for me to, without hesitation, tell others; “I love my LORD!” and yes – “I love my wife!”