This morning’s chat with a friend…
[friend] “After this week, I have a much greater appreciation for you mothers. I clearly understand how the constant emotional stress of raising several children can wear you down. You mothers deserve one day completely off per week and one weekend off per month. We fathers have it easy. All we have to do is go to work. If we do not like the people we work with, we have the liberty to go elsewhere. You mothers do not have that liberty. Amen for mothers!”
[me] “Yes, it is very difficult…and most of the work and struggles we go through go unrecognized and unappreciated. Unfortunately, we are often also isolated from the very things that would refresh and energize us, so that we can be the wife and mother we truly desire to be. Things like: alone time, romantic (not sex) time with our husbands, and fun time with friends. We live like drained batteries, trying to serve our function but almost out of juice! Sometimes a woman can get so drained (physically, emotionally & mentally) that she “dies” like the battery, and has nothing left to give.”
This friend is the father of several children, and going through a divorce after 15 years of marriage. Part of his transformation has come from watching the movie Fireproof . We have talked alot lately, as he is trying to get a woman’s perspective and understand (his soon-to-be ex) wife’s reasons for being “done” with their marriage.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5: 25-33 (NIV)
What is love?
Love is more than emotion. Love is more than just commitment or duty. Love is more than physical affection or sex. Love is EVERY day considering the other person’s needs before your own. And… if you BOTH do that… nothing can tear you apart. Of all of the powers in the universe and laws of nature…the greatest of these is love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-13(NIV)
Getting better at loving!
If you sincerely want to understand your spouse better, and what he or she needs, I strongly recommend the following books if you haven’t read them:
The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge
Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldredge