Over the course of the last couple of years, God has really been impressing on me that I need to put my husband second on my list. This may sound strange because, well, shouldn’t he be first in my life? Let me explain.
Through Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today, the 10-dvd course that we have gone through with our church, my husband and I have been learning that our purpose in life is not to have a good marriage, to be a caring friend, to raise happy children, or to give to charities. All of these endeavors are wonderful, and will certainly enhance our lives if we pursue them, but they are not our purpose. All of these pursuits are simply by-products of a life lived well for Jesus. Our purpose is to bring glory to God. Just that.
When we first heard this, it was sort of a revelation for us. This was not because we did not know that we should bring glory to God, and it wasn’t because we haven’t wanted to bring glory to God through our marriage and in each of our personal lives. We simply hadn’t ever thought about that being our sole purpose in life. Or that it is our sole purpose in our marriage.
No matter what we are doing it is to be all as for the Lord. As we spend time with friends, as we serve at church or in the community, as we write together, as we parent our children, and as we strive to honor our parents we are to bring glory to God in heaven. This fact has made a huge impact on our relationship with one another and together with God.
Now back to the question, “Shouldn’t my husband be first in my life?” The answer is no. God should be first in my life. Truly understanding that my purpose is to glorify God is helping me to consider Him more in every decision, in every action, and to care deeply whether my life demonstrates and reflects His love.
Learning to Place My Husband Second
With God first, here are some steps I am taking to ensure that my husband is absolutely second in my life.
Spend time with God daily. In order to have the correct mindset each day, I need to be in His Word. Renewing my mind with scripture, spending time with God through prayer, and worshiping Him through song and acts of service helps me to move into and through each day fixing my eyes on Jesus, and to develop the proper attitude towards my husband, which will result in glorifying God.
Spend time with my husband daily. In order to continue to learn about my husband’s hopes, dreams, needs, and desires I must spend time with him on a regular basis. This time cannot simply be sitting next to him as we both read, or watch a movie, though those can be fun activities that we participate in together. We must be intentional about talking together, both about daily needs and ‘the urgent’ as well as future plans, things we dream about, and what we need from one another.
Spending this time with my husband shows him that he is important to me. It gives me insight into him and his life that I will not have otherwise. And I will be more ready to glorify God in my actions towards my husband if I am spending time getting to know him a bit more each day.
Show honor and respect to my husband. Let’s face it, there are times when my husband and I do not see eye to eye. I think it’s safe to say that is a fact for all of us who are married. Learning to honor and respect him even when I do not agree with him or when I am angry with him has been a difficult but worthwhile journey. I am not ‘there’ yet. There are still days when I fail at this.
However, as I seek to know God more and to know my husband more, my love for them both deepens. My desire to love God well and to love my husband well increases. This growing closeness helps me to succeed more often in glorifying God through honoring and respecting my husband with my words and actions.
Meet my husbands needs. Men have needs. They need to be honored and respected, and they need to receive physical touch. They have other needs but those are their top two according to Jimmy Evans’ research, and my husband readily agrees. I am able to glorify God through meeting my husband’s needs. As it has become more important to me to obey and please God, meeting my husbands needs has also increased in importance. And if I’m honest, meeting his needs can be fun!
Show my children that I love my husband by placing them third. This step can be quite difficult. Many of us have been taught that our children should come first. And they are very important. Depending on which stage you are in with your children, their needs may run the gamut from needs-me-every-moment to I-can’t-get-him-to-talk-to-me.
Parenting our children is a high priority, but is really does need to come third, right behind our husbands in second. Teaching our children not to interrupt when my husband and I are talking has been a difficult battle. Stopping myself from running to the baby at his first whimper was not easy either.
There have been many hurdles throughout the years when trying to figure out this parenting thing in relation to our marriage. To be honest, we are still working out which needs of our children should be a higher priority than my husband’s and which shouldn’t be. Maybe you are, too. And I think that’s okay. It’s the heart behind it; the effort and desire you put into making your children your third priority that will show them that you love their father, and you will bring glory to God in the process.