When James and I travel just the two of us, we usually spend part of several days doing what we enjoy most – he plays golf, and I do whatever I want without anyone calling my name or needing me for anything. I may sleep late, stay in my PJs half the day, run, or spend hours reading the Bible and writing. In cherishing our time together, I have come to relish this window of just me time, too. Recently, while in Scottsdale, Arizona, James hinted I should ride with him for a round of golf. Not play golf, but drive the cart, watch, cheer, and chase balls. Naturally, thinking only of my own pleasure, I declined.
I missed it.
I missed a chance to come alongside my husband – at his invitation!!! – to be there as he enjoys something he loves with the woman he loves. In that moment, I was the woman who wrote the heartbreaking letter after recognizing how detrimental her neglectful habits were to her failing marriage (see “Too Little, Too Late”).
Don’t miss this miss, Mrs. and Ms.!!! Our husbands need and want us to be watching, admiring, cheering, adoring, and spending time with them doing what they love. It’s not just a want; it’s a NEED. And it’s our privileged position to do this for them. Our husbands have given that special spot to us and no one else. What are we doing with the honor?
Thank God for do-overs! When planning a getaway to celebrate our sixteenth anniversary, I studied the resort’s spa menu, imagining an afternoon in pure pampering heaven while leaving another open to do nothing all by myself while James golfed. Then I remembered the letter. Words of wisdom spoken from a woman who knew the pain of self-absorption.
I called James.
“Hi, honey. What if I skipped the spa and joined you for golf one day?” I asked.
“That would be great!” came the genuinely delighted reply.
So I sacrificed the spa and rode with him one afternoon. We laughed. We mourned bad shots and celebrated good ones. We prayed for a hurting family. We remembered how far the Lord has brought us. We talked of our love for each other and our family and our gratitude for our kids. We admired the scenery. I zipped my lips when his balls ricocheted off trees. I smiled sheepishly when he looked to me to know where his ball landed. (Darn it if that tiny little white thing just disappears on the horizon!)
It was time well spent. And to the best of my ability, I spent that time focused on him and his enjoyment.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” We see those culturally controversial words in Ephesians 5:22 and picture a cave man wielding his club over his wife’s head to exact obedience. The world laughs at “weak” women who yield to their husbands, yet I submit to you that the women who do are the strongest of all.
While yielding in obedience to our husbands is required, as is pleasing to the Lord, the meaning of submit also involves voluntarily giving in to what is most important to them, whether it’s with finances, parenting, business, pleasure, etc. Not as a door mat or with gritted teeth, but as a plush rug that brings restoration and delight to the one God has tasked with our provision and protection.
We do this in the simple things, like driving the golf cart when we’d rather enjoy a pedicure. Or preparing a home-cooked meal when we’d rather serve leftovers. Or staying up late to watch an alien movie they’re dying to see. Not that we have to do these things every time, but in our hearts, are we willing to show them love the way they most need to receive it?
By no means are husbands off the hook! Look what Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, and 33 say to them:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself…For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Perhaps your husband isn’t abiding by these scriptures. Pray, and lean on the Lord. It’s not our job to make sure they are, and it’s not our place to withhold what God requires of us until they do their part. The Lord holds them to a high standard. To love us as Christ loved the church is to be willing to suffer and die for us. He will hold them accountable, which means we don’t have to, leaving us free to simply love, serve, and yes, submit. To please God by loving our husbands His way.
Starting today, what can you enjoy that your husband enjoys, not because you love it, but because you love him? Make what’s important to him important to you, not because it is, but because he is.
Lord, yield our hearts in love for You as we yield our wills in love for our husbands. Show us what it means to submit as we become more wholly Yours today.