Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Petulant Spouse: "I can't" or "I won't"

The whole point of this site is to encourage you (and me) to flesh out your love for God by obediently and with passion loving your bride. What happens, though, when you don't or you won't? If you don't or won't, you're probably not the kind of man who would bother with this blog.

Often, though, you won't or don't but do not even realize you've rejected your bride.
    What if your bride loves having her feet rubbed, but feet are not your thing? Maybe feet make your skin crawl. Do you do your part and rub her shoulders?
    What if your sweetheart delights in going out to dinner, but you prefer eating at home after a long work day? Do you go to the movies instead?
    What if she loves flowers, but pragmatism overwhelms you and you cannot bring yourself to sink money into something that will die in just a few days? Do you give her chocolates instead?
    What if she loves conversation, but you have nothing to talk about? Instead, you encourage her to go out with her friends so she can chat.
We might truly love our brides, but in each of these situations the thing she aches for most from us is not provided. Can she get each of these things elsewhere? Certainly. But those things and places are not the man she married.

I recently Tweeted (@LoveYourBride), "Tragic the spouse who knows that for which their mate aches and withholds it anyway." One of the sweet ways that God matures us as men is when we learn how to express love to someone in a fashion that is different from the way in which we like to be loved. This is fundamental and this is as obvious as ABC. Our brides are not us.

To love our wives well, we must learn how to do so. I believe this is what Peter drives at when he tells us to "dwell with your wives with understanding." Dwelling implies relationship. Understanding implies knowledge. As I have mentioned before, we have the opportunity to be PhDs of our wives. She is so multifaceted that you will never know everything to know about her, and because she is not static, she will be ever-changing thus providing an endless opportunity to learn new things.

So get over your aversion to feet.

Learn to enjoy dining out on a semi-regular basis.

Buy her flowers just because they delight her soul.

Open up. Converse. Give your thoughts on topics because you do have them. And learn to ask questions of her. LEARN how to converse.

If we do not do these things, we might say we love our wives, but they are not hearing the message. As the song says, "Your lips move but I can't hear what your saying." Love never has been a feeling. It has always been an act of the will. Does your wife feel neglected? Why is that? Are your expressions of love as alien as ketchup to a Frenchman?

Such resistance might actually be rebellion against God's clear command to love our wives. Consider the wife that aches for physical intimacy, but her man is unwilling to provide it. He is in direct violation of God's word to husbands and wives in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5. She has a responsibility to hold her man accountable before God just as she would have a responsibility to hold any believer accountable who stands in direct defiance to God's word. If he continued to resist, she should seek counsel for her and her man with their pastor.

This is a tragedy within the church today. Husbands and wives are of their own choosing not loving their spouses in a manner that they know will touch their spouse deeply. Is it because they cannot or is it because they will not?

Can a spouse's desire be contrary to Scripture? Certainly. A wife who wants an open marriage wants what's contrary to God's word. If a wife wants to be blinged in diamonds and you're living paycheck to paycheck, she wants what is contrary to biblical stewardship. But if I am not constrained by Scripture, what could possibly constrain me from satisfying my bride?

It's time for us in the household of faith to stop what amounts to childish disobedience. Let us grow in maturity and choose this day to love our brides well with the lavish and over-the-top love with which God in Christ loves us.

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