how do i love my wife?

I don’t love my wife with all of my heart.

And she’s happy that I don’t.

Let me explain.  I’ll need to describe to you not only where I’ve been, but where I think many ministers, missionaries, and Christians in general find themselves.

The weight of ministry is bearing down.  We’re operating out of our own power.  And as a result, many of us experience fatigue and burnout.  Others of us lose focus on what’s truly important and allow sin to enter our lives.  I would argue, though, that all of us are eventually rendered useless in our ministry to others.  It all starts with some messed up priorities: we want to love and help people more than anything.

When asked the greatest command, Jesus echoes Deuteronomy 6, that we should love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.  The second command is to love our neighbor.  I’m sad to say that for the majority of my Christian life, I had the two switched.  My chief objective was to serve others and help them into a mature relationship with Jesus Christ.  I was full of good intentions, but had it all backwards — and I’m afraid many of us do.  Only when God is our first (and only) love are we fit to minister to others. We talk a lot about how we should have hearts for the lost and be passionate about people.  And we unconsciously make the second command our first.

My love is so imperfect, so finite, and so conditional.  Yet God wants it — all of it.  And the most amazing thing happens; when I give God ALL of my love — not holding back any for ministry or the lost or even for my own wife and family — he takes my pathetic, sick, and sometimes twisted attempts at loving him as much as I can… And he transforms them.

God opens me up to receive the unconditional, limitless, and perfect love he’s always had for me.  And he gives me so much of it in my life that it overflows into the lives of those around me. He takes the imperfect love I once offered others, and exchanges it for his own perfect love.

My wife and daughter benefit, receiving God’s love through me, rather than what I myself had to offer.  Those to whom I minister also benefit, my love no longer limited in quality or quantity.  Where I once sliced up my love pie — 40% to wife and family, 40% to God, 10% to other Christians, 10% to the lost — I now have a greater source of love. By loving God with my ALL, and trusting that he’ll solve the problem of what I offer my wife, church, and others, everyone benefits.  Most importantly, God receives all the glory.

There’s a reason the first command is the first command.  I wish I’d realized all this a long time ago…


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11 Comments

Filed under family, just thinking

11 responses to “how do i love my wife?

  1. Ike

    Those most effective and enduring on the mission field are those who are there first and foremost for the glory and good pleasure of God. When every other motivation or reason for staying has failed them….they remain because above all things they are there for God!

    I was just talking to my wife about this very subject two days ago. If I get the first commandment down…..I don’t need ten books to read about how to love my wife.

  2. Don’t forget His Needs Her Needs and “the love bank”! This is very true… the best gift a man can give his wife is to love the Lord with all his heart.

    Did not realize you had your own blog; will bookmark it. I check Christie’s blog. Glad you got rid of the wonky beard. Baylor is such a cutie!

  3. steve ker

    Great post, Brett. I have been really concentrating on the “love your neighbor commandment” lately and need to get back to the realization that it all comes from God. When we have the right relationship with God, then we will be able to give HIS LOVE to our family, friends, the lost, and not be limited by our own strength and abilities.
    I believe that you believers that are living and ministering in foreign lands are given special insight, probably because you seek it, that we at home who are distracted by our cushey life style don’t have.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Steve

  4. Excellent post Brett.

    Timeless words most wise.
    Considering myself now.
    Need to love Him more.

    Sorry, I can’t stop thinking in haiku now!

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