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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”—Ephesians 5:25–26 (NASB)
While I am far from an expert when it comes to being a husband, I have learned a lot about marriage and relationships in the five and a half years I have been married. One of the most important things I have learned, and one of the essential commands for a husband, is what Paul points out in Ephesians 5: My job as a husband is to give myself up for my wife.
In any relationship, if one or both people are only looking out for their own desires, interests, and needs, neither person’s relational needs will be met. There will be nothing but friction, frustration, and conflict in the relationship. However, if both people choose to look out for their spouse’s desires instead of their own, both parties win. Each person experiences love, friendship, and affection in different ways. Only you can meet your spouse’s needs, and if you are always focused on having your needs met you are never going to be the friend, co-parent, lover, etc. that they need you to be.
If we take Ephesians 5 to heart, and follow the example that Jesus gave us and give ourselves up for the sake of our spouse, marriage works! Think about what it would have been like if Jesus came and paid no attention to what we needed—freedom from sin and death. There would be no way for us to even begin to have a relationship with God. We needed Jesus to give Himself up for us to even have the opportunity to have peace with God. Self-centeredness cannot exist if a relationship is going to work.
As you can imagine, all of this is far easier said than done. There is a reason that we use the phrase “investing in your marriage.” Investment takes time, intentionality, sacrifice, and diligence. It is not always a quick payout, but it will pay dividends in the long run.
DIG: Whether you are married or not, take a minute to reflect. In your relationship with your spouse or others, do you seek to get more than you give? Or is it the other way around?
DISCOVER: If you are married, take a few minutes to write down at least ten ways you know your spouse feels loved and appreciated—time together, a gift, a note, etc. Find a way to begin incorporating these into your week.
DISPLAY: Sit down and have an honest conversation with your spouse this week and ask how you can better invest in your relationship. Often times, you will never know until you ask!