Hi everyone! I can’t believe that it’s been more than a month since my last post. I have been traveling a bit and could not settle down to write.
Just a summary for those who are new at reading this blog, we have started our 4-part series on Christian Marriage.
In our first article in this series, we talked about the Christian marriage being a symbol of Jesus redeeming the world through His ‘marriage’ to the Church and making her one with Him.
In the second article, I discussed about how God wants us to adopt a ‘No Longer I’ attitude in our marriages. I also commented that true joy comes from loving someone with liberty. However this must be done in the boundary of God’s word and being guided by the Holy Spirit.
My husband, Derek contributed the third article from a man’s perspective. He expounded on what men really want in their wives and that is the companionship of a helper. In other words, a soul mate!
Whenever a man leaves his parents and marries a woman, the whole redemption story is repeated. Hence, just as we are told in the bible to love God (and Jesus) with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds and with all our strengths; I believe God wants us to do the same for our spouse.
This article will see some of what I do or at least try to do to love my husband and strengthen our union with the desire to be one with him.
With All My Heart
I often think that to love a person with all your heart, you need to start by knowing the person you love. Not just to KNOW ABOUT him but TO KNOW him – what he loves and does not love, what he thinks, how he feels and just about everything that makes him tick!
In my business, I use the SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis to know my associates better. Such an analysis helps the candidate to know what she can leverage on and what she needs to look out for.
In the same way, to know Derek better, I embark on a journey to develop this analysis for my husband. This coming October will mark my 11th year of marriage to Derek. Throughout all this time, I have not stopped in my constant analysis and update of him. Even in the moving back to Atlanta, USA, I got to know more of him and learnt what made him the leader he is today.
Why does knowing the SWOT of my husband help me to love him?
It all boils down to our role as a wife – we are to be the helper to our husband. We have the ability to nurture our children and we sure have the ability to help nurture our husband to fulfill his calling and purpose.
Many a times, such calling and purpose is often linked to his strengths – the inert ability to do something exceptionally well and usually better than most. By encouraging him and often looking out for opportunities to build on that strength will propel him closer to what God has created him to do. When we seek out the good and to do good for our spouse, we are literally becoming one with him.
On the other hand, knowing the weaknesses of your spouse will help you first of all to manage your expectations of him in that area. Many times, people fall out over this.
Hence, instead of always expecting him to work at it and be better, sometimes in things that are non-essential, we can come in and be ‘that strength’ for him. In things that are crucial, we can always look out for ways to help him and not judge him.
While waiting for him to get stronger, we can be that pillar both in work and in prayer. Praying for our spouse is definitely a way to draw each other closer. As you draw near in the spirit, you will always draw near in the natural.
We need to know that all things in the natural are framed first by the things in the spirit. Understand that in our weaknesses lie threats that can destroy our destiny. Interceding in understanding and in the spirit will also build a hedge of protection around him.
A pastor once said to me that he could be where he is today because his wife prayed him there!
When you know a person and decide that you will embrace everything about him – his strengths and his weaknesses, to celebrate every opportunity and to help him pre-empt every possible threat, you become objective in your love for him and that minimizes the chance of facing a shipwreck in your relationship.
With All My Soul
The soul comprises mostly of our feelings.
The way I love Derek with all my soul is to constantly build on that feeling of love and adoration for him. This is done by showing love to him in actions and words which in turn make it easy for him to shower his love for me.
Physical touch such as hugging and holding of hands draws the heart.
Genuine compliments and words of affections build confidence in the relationship. (I often tell my husband how handsome he is that even though he is turning 40, he still looks amazing!)
With All My Mind
To love someone with all your mind involves the thoughts you have constantly about them.
Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things
I love Derek by remembering the things that are good and praiseworthy about him.
Sometimes when you have been married for a while, the mundane routine of life and the demands of raising children can make you forget why you married him and what are the things you admire about him.
Just like what the bible says in Palms 103:2 “forget not his benefits” – we need to exercise positive thoughts on a daily basis about our spouse and the good we see in them.
Now only are we to think good thoughts about our spouse but we can love them by “seeing” together with them through our minds’ eyes the future that we can have together. I believe there is no better way to bond with our spouse then to have a common dream and a common passion with him.
With All My Strength
You need energy to love someone. I am not talking about just natural physical strength but also strength in the spirit, mind and soul.
Taking care of my own physical health and having physical strength is one way I show love to my husband. Loving a person many times involves serving that person. Without physical strength, I will not be able to fulfill my duty as a wife and a mother and being ill in health will rob me of the opportunity to have fun or to serve together in ministry with Derek.
Spiritual Strength Having spiritual strength is not only essential for you as a believer but it is vital for your relationship with your spouse. Regardless of the person you marry, in order to love them as Christ loves them and to submit to them as the Church submits to Christ, we need that strength in the spirit.
When you have that strength in the spirit, it will help you to develop that tenacity to love him especially in times when it is hard to do so.
Having spiritual strength means that God is your main source. Our spouse cannot be god in our lives. Putting him in that position will create an unrealistic expectation of him and result in a bondage over the marriage. Hence in order to love him appropriately, we need to build that strength in the spirit.
Mental Strength Mental strength has a great impact on our self-esteem. The bible says that we are to love our neighbor (which includes our husband) as ourselves. When we have healthy thoughts about ourselves, our lives, our futures; we will be able to love ourselves appropriately. This will enable us to love our spouses profoundly.
Emotional Strength I believe emotional strength is a place of great challenge for many women but if mastered it will bring great blessings to themselves and the people that they love. A woman who is emotionally unstable inevitably will not be able to control her tongue.
It is important to control our tongues especially in times of anger and disappointment that we do not utter words that will destroy and not build. God, in His word warns us that life and death are in the power of our tongue. Our words have the power to build or to destroy…
Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Emotional strength will cause us to have the stability to not let anger, frustration and disappointment or any negative feelings overwhelm us to the point that we push our husbands away instead of drawing them to ourselves.
Loving a person is never an easy task. Nevertheless, it is not impossible.
Through Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through the Word, we can learn to love as Christ has loved. And in turn see ourselves transformed before our very eyes to be more like our Lord Jesus Christ.
What does LOVE require of you today? Share with us at email@example.com.
Love, Susan Dunn