I’ve been reading a book I picked up at a thrift store titled, Holiness in Hidden Places. It is written by Joni Eareckson Tada, and I’m really enjoying it. (Sadly, it’s no longer being published.) There is one chapter in particular, that really caught my attention, in being something we should all realize, after we’ve committed to marry someone. It concerns being faithful in showing love to our spouse
First Things First: Showing Love
In this chapter titled, “First Things First” Joni tells of a press conference she held in Poland. She was asked the question, by one of the reporters, “What’s the most important thing you do?”
Being a quadriplegic who has ministered to millions of others —those with disabilities, and those without, she could think of many things… “campaigning against a euthanasia initiative on the state ballot, visiting cerebral palsied teenagers, delivering wheelchairs, and Bibles to disabled people in Africa” are just a few.
Joni also writes books, paints beautiful artwork with her teeth, and helps to run an amazing ministry called “Joni and Friends.” Additionally, Joni travels all over the world ministering to more people than any of us will probably ever know. And yet as she paused, she thought, “among all the options, I knew.” And that’s when she said it… “being a good wife to my husband Ken.”
Important Jobs and Accomplishments
I’m sure that’s not something that most people in the room thought she would say. But as I read it, I thought, she’s right. Of course, being a child of God, worshipping God, and following in His footsteps are of utmost importance. But that’s not what the reporter was asking. We’re talking accomplishments here… important jobs or tasks.
Being faithful in loving a spouse, who isn’t perfect, and never will be this side of heaven, is quite the choice to make. It’s about going the extra mile in finding ways to show love, as Christ would have us. THAT’S quite the accomplishment! It’s shown to be all the more of an achievement as you consider the vast numbers of people who are living in marriages where love is not shown.
Joni writes something that we all should note:
“When I stand before Jesus, I will be judged for my faithfulness in marriage. My commitment to my marriage vows places me in an utterly unique and profoundly significant relationship with the most important human being on earth —my spouse. And if I can’t be faithful in loving my husband, how can I be faithful in a ministry to millions?
“Being faithful to Ken means saying ‘no’ to speaking at a Luis Palau crusade because the date conflicts with Ken’s speech at his school’s baccalaureate. It means scheduling overseas travel so I can always be in town to help him chaperone the prom. Buying Hebrew National hot dogs for dinner rather than the Oscar Meyer ones that I prefer. Waving him off to go fishing on Saturdays. It means calling him every night when I’m away and occasionally bringing home a small omiagi. (That’s Japanese for a ‘little unexpected gift.’)
“Most of all, it means praying for Ken daily and in a specific way. Nothing bonds me closer to my husband than interceding for him. If I sense my passion waning or my emotions sagging, if I find myself pulling back from the demands of marriage, I pray —for Ken. Nothing ignites love for my husband faster.”
Wow! So true!
Loving Spouse As Christ Loves
On the flip side of this, I was immediately reminded of something that Al Janssen wrote (in his book, Your Marriage Masterpiece). Al was talking about loving his wife as “Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her” (which husbands are told, in the Bible, to do). He wrote that he realizes this means doing things he doesn’t necessarily want to do so that love is faithfully shown. He writes:
“I have numerous opportunities every day to give up what I want to do and instead serve my wife. In this way, I glorify God because my sacrifice is a reflection of His heart and how He loves His bride. I’ve finally realized that my marriage is satisfying to the degree that I daily sacrifice myself for my wife’s good.
What does that mean?
• It means biting my tongue when I’d rather defend myself against something she said.
• It means getting up in the middle of the night when a child cries. I do this rather than pretending I don’t hear anything.
• It means putting down my reading material and really listening when she wants to talk.
• It means taking over some chores when she’s got a hectic day.
• Also, it means cleaning the kitchen Sunday evening rather than leaving the mess for her to face on Monday morning.
• It means that when I’m accidentally exposed to porn while channel surfing in a hotel room far from home, I shut off the television. I decide I won’t allow any impure thoughts to invade my marriage.”
Again, so profound! All of this is something that Steve and I have been learning to do to grow our marriage and our love —our love for each other, and our love for God. It’s a matter of showing love, “as unto the Lord” when you do sacrificial things for your spouse.
Go the Extra Mile in Showing Love
Please prayerfully consider what is written here. “Walk the extra mile” in faithfully showing sacrificial love to your spouse. Sometimes we get so caught up in all that’s going on around us that we forget. I know that we do …I do. Sometimes a little nudge of a reminder is helpful.
In closing, as it pertains to what you can do for your spouse, here’s what Joni wrote:
“Your circumstances may be different than mine. But you can do the same (in showing love to your spouse). Just remember who is the most important person on earth. Your spouse.”
And as we’re told in Ephesians 5:1-2:
“Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.“
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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