Monday, September 1, 2014

Three Key Things For Husbands I've Learned In Marriage

Twenty-four years ago today at a little church in Canby, Ore., I exchanged marital vows with my lovely bride, Julie Young, who wore the same dress her mother wore on her wedding day 24 years earlier. We were 21 on that lovely September day, when I became a dad to her little boy of 16 months. We wed on Labor Day weekend at the start of my senior year of college at the University of Portland, launching an adventure that at this point is nearly 9,000 days long, includes 13 more kids and has endured approximately 90,000 diapers and a move across the country. We've had plenty of struggles but the sweet memories we've made together are incalculable. Here's a few things I've learned about marriage.

Surrender. I am at my best as a husband when I can surrender my selfishness and my desires and serve my wife. My model in this life is Jesus, who came to earth to serve and not to be served. I freely admit it's a constant battle fighting selfishness. But my wife, and then my children, should be assured by what I do -- and say -- that I value and treasure them. Quite often that plays out simply in how I spend my time. Is it to fulfill my wants and desires or is what I'm doing showing them how much I love them? Too often I've chosen to do things I want to do ... I'm a work in progress! Here's the thing though: My fondest memories are times I spend with my wife and family and when I'm participating with them or knowing they are doing the things they enjoy, even though it's not always the way I wanted to spend my time. Essentially, my relationships are elevated when I take the lesser position.

Serving. This plays out in how much I contribute to the family operation, which at its core is serving my wife. Husbands, serve your wives. It's that simple. ("Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her..." Ephesians 5:25) There are certain tasks I've taken on over the years as a way of serving my wife and contributing to the operation of the family, such as grocery shopping, cooking and, yes, even changing diapers, to lighten the load on Julie. I've fallen well short in many other areas, however. I'm working on them, including taking the 2 littlest ones with me when I haul older kids to soccer practices and games to try to give her more free time away from the demands of wee ones. She's earned it after years of sacrificing her desires for our family and I'm committing to serving her more.

Relationship. To me, the most important relationship in our marriage is my relationship with Jesus. My marriage works best when I am spending time with the Lord by reading His word, by praying and in meditating on Scripture. It's a way to learn to model this earthly existence after my savior's. The word used to describe Jesus the most in the New Testament is `compassion.' If I bring compassion to my marriage, it entails numerous actions: Love, tenderness, empathy, humility, sensitivity, kindness and so much more. A compassionate husband is a good husband.

I still have so much to learn about Julie and marriage. I am learning how to get things right, how to submit, to be quick to apologize, to surrender and serve and have compassion ... I could go on and on. My prayer is that God will give me the wisdom, selfless love and heart to be a loving husband who treasures his wife.

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