unselfish love

My husband is the most hardworking man I know. He is faithful and diligent with every single task he puts his hand to and he does it all with excellence. He is humble, eager to learn, and surrounds himself with people, books, and articles that spur him on in his work and creativity. He loves AK and I in the most sacrificial, joyful way and every day I see a testimony of that when he kisses us goodbye and walks out the door to go to work.

He gets up early every morning to have his quiet time, work out and prepare himself for the day. And when he comes home from work he pours into his girls with the sweetest and most gentle heart. He inspires and encourages me every day by his thoughtfulness and his unselfish love.

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But sometimes I’m selfish and I push these things to the back of my mind. Sometimes I let my mind be so consumed with the full day I had and how very exhausted I am, that when J walks in the door I instantly fall into dependent mode and look to him to relieve me. I think to myself, “there is absolutely no way his day was as draining and busy as mine. I mean, I’ve been preparing meals, cleaning, walking through life with people, potty training, running errands, and playing with and caring for a 2 year old! I’ve basically been superwoman today so clearly I need some relief!” (a glimpse into my sinful heart here, people.)

Now my hubby is the sweetest guy on the face of the earth and is always eager to help and serve me and make me feel like I really am superwoman and I am humbled by his care.

Here’s the thing, though. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 says this:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” 

When I am sitting in my own self-pity and self-righteous thinking, making mental tally marks about who did the most that day, not only is that sinful against the Lord, but it is unloving and sinful against my husband too. To love him well I am to set aside my own needs and desires to care for his. To love him as I am commanded to in Scripture I don’t “insist on my own way.” 

Does this mean that when I have a day where the house is a war zone, or multiple 2-year old tantrums are had, or life was a bit painful, that when J gets home that evening I can’t say, “Babe, it’s been a really hard day and I could use a few minutes of quiet to myself after dinner.” Or, “Babe, would you mind taking Little to play outside for a bit? She could use the exercise and I could use the stillness.” Not at all! This is why we communicate! This is why we talk to each other and learn how best to serve and help one another. My husband can read me like a book and over the 5 years we’ve been married we have grown in anticipating one another’s needs. He can see it on my face when it’s been a long day and he is the best about giving extra hugs and letting me have some alone time.

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What this does mean is that my first thought isn’t what I can get from him. What if my long day was his long day, too? What if he had issues at work, or his computer crashed, or his mind has been distracted with life stuff going on? What am I going to do then? Say, “Well, stinks for you, Babe. I’m going to go close myself in the bedroom and read. Let me know when you get AK down.” Umm, no. At that time, and any other, my first thought ought to be how I can love him well, whether it’s been an awful day or a nearly perfect day.

That means that when my husband walks in the door at dinnertime I should strive to make my first thought, how can I serve him well? How can I show him how grateful I am for him and how much I appreciate his hard work and provision for us? How can I give of myself to show him more of Jesus?

This is where I get to practice that sacrificial love I’ve been called to give him as my husband. These times have such a sweetness to them, if I choose to see them that way, because I have the opportunity to show him the love of Christ. That unselfish, unwavering, grace-filled, patient, gentle, and sacrificial love of Christ. Not because of anything I have done, but because of Christ in me. 

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