Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Exemplary Husband's Love

For those of you that don't know: I'm engaged and soon to be married to a lovely +Helena Kowalewski (June 29!).  Right now I'm reading The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott to help me prepare a bit.  I'll do a full review of the book later, Lord willing, but for now I'm going to give some spoilers... because this book is so wonderful and I can't contain myself.  In the eighth chapter, Scott divulges into how the Exemplary Husband is to love his wife and let's just say it is fantastic. Scott doesn't hold punches.  Warning: This is going to be very practical and yet very biblical.  This is also beneficial for relationships outside of the marriage spectrum, so you single people need to get reading!  What follows is a mixture of bad thoughts and actions with the proper good, loving response that a man (or woman generally) ought to have towards his wife.  Hopefully it will be evident to you which is good and which is bad...  


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Pride (Thoughts and Actions): 
  • Why doesn't she think of me more? / Why isn't she doing ____ for me?
    • How can I think of her now? / What can I do for her?
  • My life is so hard. / She should ____
    • God will help me - how can I bless her?
  • I'll never be what I should be, why even try? Woe is me.
    • Lord help me to please you by being the husband I should be.  Thank you that You promise to help me grow.
  • I will do this if she will _____.
    • I'm going to do this just to bless her and for You, Lord.
  • I want to do what I want to do.
    • What would she like to do?
  • I don't want to _______.
    • I don't feel like ______, but I will because I want to love You, Lord, and her.
  • What's in it for me?
    • I want nothing in return.
  • This is an inconvenience to me.
    • Christ was inconvenienced for me. I'll be inconvenienced.
  • She should do it my way.
    • What would she like?  I can prefer her and still do Your will, so I will.
  • I'm tired. / I'm not going to _____.
    • I'm tired.  Lord, give me strength to continue loving and giving.
  • She gets on my nerves. / She is so ____ (negative trait).
    • She is, (positive trait).  Everyone (especially me) has their weaknesses.
  • She doesn't know anything. / I don't need her or anyone's input.
    • I need to listen to her / I don't know everything.
  • I'm a real catch, a gift.  What's her problem?  She should appreciate me more.
    • If she has a problem with me maybe I need to learn and change.  She probably has a point.
  • I know I'm right.  Anyone who doesn't agree with me is wrong.  I don't need this.
    • I will listen, consider and study God's Word and think about it.  I could very well be wrong.
  • I'm fine.  I've been faithful in everything.
    • I have not been completely faithful.  God sets the standard.  I must grow in faithfulness.
  • Bragging about my goodness, good qualities, or accomplishments
    • Thanking God for any good in me or that is accomplished through me
  • Waiting or looking for her to love me or do for me first
    • Initiating affection and other acts of love
  • Just pointing out her wrong-doing and not mine
    • Focusing on my wrong-doing
  • Not asking what my wife would like but choosing what brings me pleasure or allows me to avoid discomfort or effort
    • Asking what she would like; suffering discomfort for the sake of love and pleasing God
  • Planning my day off around me
    • Considering my wife and her desires when planning my only day off
  • Rejecting or tuning out my wife's input or admonishments
    • Listening to what she has to say, asking questions and committing to think about it, pray about it, and/or study it out - whatever applies; then getting back to her about it

Fear (Thoughts and Actions):
  • If I do or say that, she will get mad.
    • If she gets mad, I will deal with it God's way.
  • She's going to find someone else.  I'm going to isolate her.
    • I will believe the best of her, and let her carry on life in a normal fashion.
  • If I give an inch, she'll take a mile
    • I will love her and do what I can for her
  • I have to be in control and keep her dependent or I might lose her
    • God is in control.  I don't need to control her.  I need to love her.
  • Staying quiet when I should speak
    • Speaking up and facing any consequences for God's glory
  • Being jealous and controlling to project my interests
    • Letting her have other interests and other people in her life
  • Doing something to keep her happy and/or happy with me
    • Doing loving things to please God

Bitterness (Thoughts and Actions):
  • I've had it!  If she does _____ one more time, that's it.  Phooey on her.  I'm going to leave her!
    • I will keep loving her.  Christ loved me when I didn't deserve it.  My love is forever; no matter what.
  • I'll show her.  I'll get even with her.
    • I will return good for evil.  My love does not depend on her love.  I have promised before God to love her.
  • I'll never forgive her for that.  She doesn't deserve it.
    • God forgave me and says I must, therefore, forgive others.  I have sinned against her too.  She is just acting sinfully because she is not in a right place with God.  I will choose to show love to her even if she may not deserve it and I will be willing to say, "I forgive you," when she repents and asks. 
  • She did that deliberately to hurt me or embarrass me.
    • I need to believe the best and ask her about that.
  • I'm not going to do anything for her or love her.  Look at what she is doing or at what she has done to me.
    • I will love her with Christ's kind of love no matter what she has done.  And, I will seek to help her turn away from sin.
  • Cutting my wife down to others or to her face
    • Saying good things about her
  • Not believing the best of my wife.  Holding her past sin against her.
    • Thinking the best of her and remembering that I forgave her for the past
  • Planning or doing wicked or vengeful things so that my wife suffers
    • Planning what I will not do when she sins against me
  • Continuing to think negative thoughts about my wife.
    • Planning thankful thoughts to think about my wife
  • Refusing to do loving things for my wife.
    • Planning loving things to do for my wife and then doing them

Preoccupation (Thoughts and Actions):
  • I'm too busy to talk, pray, or spend time with her.
    • She is more important. God's priority will be my priority.  I will show her love.
  • I have too many things on my mind to handle another thing
    • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I will put forth the effort (even thought I don't feel like it) because I love her and God.
  • This is more important (when it is not) or I have do this (when I don't).
    • I will let go of what I want to do and do the more important thing.  I will have God's viewpoint.
  • God has called me to my ministry, not to be caught up with relational things with my wife.
    • My ministry to my wife qualifies me for other ministry.  God is relational.  I am committed to her and our relationship.
  • Ignoring problems
    • Talking to my wife about issues and seeking biblical solutions
  • Neglecting my wife
    • Planning time with her and putting that time before other things
  • Not praying with and for my wife
    • Planning time to pray for and with her
  • Over-extending myself
    • Cutting back on whatever I can to make the time that is needed to love her as I should and thereby strengthen our marriage