So for years I’ve heard people say this thing about marriage that goes something like “nothing will humble you quicker than marriage.” And for years I have thought that was a really cool aspect of marriage, but one that probably would not apply to me. Not that I already thought I was humble enough; I just thought I wouldn’t fail often enough for it to really make a difference. In fact, as my own wedding date approached and I began to hear this sentiment more and more, I would often think “oh, that will be really good for Brandon.” Honestly! I don’t know who I was kidding with this arrogant, absurd, prideful, drastically flawed thinking. But boy was I wrong.
Marriage has HUMBLED me. I mean, the thing has absolutely brought me to my knees. I have failed daily and colossally. I have been so ridiculously in touch with my own sin and how devastating it can be to another person. And it has, on more than one occasion, left me broken.
But I’m ashamed to tell you that more often than it has left me broken, it has left me rebellious. I realized that I do this insane thing where when I KNOW that I’m being completely irrational and that my attitude is unacceptable and downright embarrassing, instead of taking a minute to pray that through and pull myself together, I start grasping at straws to cover it up. Because for goodness sake, I want to win. And I’m sure you know as well as I do, that when a fight with your husband (or anyone for that matter) becomes about winning, it is likely not productive or healthy; especially when you both know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are the one completely in the wrong. Yet I continue to do it, because I am too full of pride to just lay down my weapons and apologize.
On one particularly brutal night last week, Brandon and I started arguing about something that I’m sure was not even worth a discussion, much less a screaming match. But it quickly began to escalate and I quickly turned irrational and mean. I honestly don’t remember what the fight was about, or what I said. But I know that it was ugly. As things got more heated I became more desperate to get the upper hand, and in my determination to win I said something that silenced my husband and he walked out of the room. My “victory” almost immediately gave way to shame and despair and I sat on my bed full of regret. But my sin runs deep, and even in the midst of my regret my rebel heart was still searching for a way out of this without actually dealing with the root problem. Because that was just going to require more of me than I really wanted to invest at 11 p.m. My depravity is on a pretty grand scale, you guys.
About 30 seconds later though, everything changed. Brandon walked back into the room completely calm, came over to where I was sitting and kissed me on the head, and then crawled in bed next to me as if nothing had ever happened. I was stunned by this reaction and tears flooded my eyes as he took me into his arms. “Why are you crying?!” His voice was heavy with concern and surprise. I managed to sob out my response, “You just…forgive me??” He laughed and kissed me again, “Of course I do. I’ll always forgive you.” And then our fight was over. No more discussion, no guilt held over my head, just a full return of kindness and affection.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body… 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Paul spends several verses talking about the way a husband and wife are to relate to each other. He says that wives are to submit to their husbands (a topic for another day) and that husbands are to love their wives sacrificially. Then he says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
You Guys!! My husband loves me like JESUS loves me! And not even because he particularly feels like it or that it is easy for him. He does it because he’s commanded by scripture to. His choice to be obedient in this kind of love, sacrificing and forgiving and KIND, does so many things for my heart.
First of all, it humbles me. When I was far from living out my end of this marriage covenant, Brandon maintained his role. He could have pointed out my disobedience, could have retaliated against my utter disrespect, could have used my actions to justify his own anger. But he didn’t do those things. He didn’t see my failure as an opportunity for personal gain, but rather as an opportunity to show me the love of Christ. This is a love that calls me to repentence.
Second, it fills me with admiration and respect for my husband. To see the man I love walking with the Lord in obedience absolutely ignites my passion for him and reinforces my ability to trust him in submission.
Lastly, it creates worship in me. I could never treat Brandon as poorly as I have treated Christ. And yet Christ forgives me and loves me in ways that would be impossible for my earthly man to do. On my ugliest days, He still calls me His bride. Jesus loves me tenderly and completely, and He has taught my husband to do the same. In this imperfect and fallible relationship with Brandon, the scriptures come alive for me and I am moved to a deeper love for my King. This mystery is profound, and what a glorious purpose it serves!!