Okay, Internet/MarriageRoots, I am a long time reader but a first time writer, and I have a confession to make: Country music saved my marriage.
This is not a joke, a drill, or a bait and switch. It is reality. One line in a country music song changed my marriage forever.
I sat in my truck with the windows down on a cool spring night listening to one of my favorite singers, Eric Church, croon: “Yes, she knows the man I ain’t, She forgives me when I can’t, That devil, man, he don’t stand a chance, She loves me like Jesus does.”
And my heart came under conviction like few times in my life.
Church, in this song, sings of a woman who sacrifices everything she is, for his fears and failures. I am so grateful to say that I am in the same boat. My wife loves me, cares for me and sacrifices for me way more than I deserve, and that is precisely the problem.
For the last nine months of my life my wife has gotten up every morning and spent her day sacrificing and caring for me. I have spent each day focused on the exact same thing—me. My career, my schoolwork, my wants, my needs, my exhaustion, my faults, my fears, my, my, my.
Every day, my schedule, my money, and my effort are me-centered, and my wife gets whatever is left. Now, my wife has never threatened to leave or stray, but my heart of pride and arrogance very easily could have ruined my marriage.
The problem with that country song is the same problem with my own heart. The lyrics focus on a woman who gives up everything so that her man can live like he wants. It focuses on the sacrifice of a woman in a way that overtakes God’s mandate for men.
The apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, writes in Ephesians 5, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV). As I read this verse, I realize that for too long my wife has been carrying out my role in our marriage, sacrificing for me while I neglected her.
The reality for me and for all husbands is when you are sacrificing for anything more than you are sacrificing for your wife then it is sin and a denial of your God-given role. God has called us to sacrifice for our wives in the same way Christ sacrificed for us–to humble ourselves to a point where we are willing to exalt the needs of our wives over our own.
Christ’s example on the cross screams, “Give more, love more, sacrifice more for the sake of your bride.” That is truly what He has done for us—He has gone to the furthest extent for our good and our salvation; His example is one of complete sacrifice for the good of those who are loved.
So husbands, what does this mean?
- It does not mean I acquiesce to my wife’s every whim, but it does mean I work in all things for her ultimate good instead of my immediate wants. When I face an issue that affects my family, my first question isn’t, “How do I feel about this?” but rather, “How will this affect my bride?” Is my decision “me” focused? If so, I should reevaluate the place my wife plays in my decision-making and rediscover the biblical mandate to sacrifice.
- It does mean that the daily desire of my heart should be what is best for my wife. I will do whatever it takes to make sure her needs are met and that her good is my goal. Ultimately, in pursuing her good, I will work every day to ensure I live before her the pattern of Christ in sacrifice and in love.
- It does mean that every day I will war against the daily desire to think only of myself and will reflect on the sacrifice of Christ in order to love my wife rightly. What better way to know the pattern you are to follow than to study it every day?
Husbands, may you begin every day at the cross seeing the sacrifice of our savior. May you end every day knowing you lived obediently to God’s command to love your wife by sacrificing for her.
And may you enjoy country music as much as I do.
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