I’m certain of the right way to load a dishwasher. My wife isn’t. And this has been a recurring point of tension in our marriage.
Recently, I was re-loading the dishwasher and griping (so maturely) about it when the Holy Spirit gently but piercingly spoke: “You chose her.”
Ever experience how God can say something simple that nonetheless penetrates several layers at once? This was one of those moments for me.
In those simple words, He turned my attention away from what my wife was doing and back on me—reminding me that I’m the one who committed to love and cherish Jamie in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse.
He was reminding me what my job is.
Ephesians 5:22-30 is one of my favorite places to look in Scripture for a good marriage job description.
In verse 22 – 24, Paul has a specific word for wives. That’s not my job, so I’ll skip that here. My job is in verses 25 – 30 where Paul has a specific word for husbands. And his words are more than enough for any married man to spend all his energies on without concerning himself with his wife’s job.
It’s a good thing to pursue a good marriage, even a happy marriage, but here are five reasons I think it’s better to think less about having a good marriage and more about doing your job (as husband or wife) well:
1. It puts the ball in your hands. You’re never benched, never just watching your team play while you sit helpless on the sidelines.
2. It highlights the need to keep learning how to best love your spouse. Your job’s not “be a good husband or wife” in a generic sense, but “be a good husband or wife to your spouse.” None of us long for a generic, disinterested love. We want to be known and loved uniquely.
3. It weathers any season, you’ll never be out of work. If your marriage is thriving or struggling, you have a job to do. If your spouse is loving you well or poorly, you have a job to do.
4. It clarifies that God, not your spouse, is your boss. Take it seriously when your spouse isn’t happy with you, but recognize it may not mean you’re doing a poor job. (A spouse who refuses to enable an addiction is acting in love, despite the anger it may draw). Conversely, take seriously if your spouse is happy with you, but recognize God may be calling you to love deeper still. (If your spouse is happy you’re not as bad as other husbands/wives, that’s hardly a benchmark that will satisfy God.)
5. Lastly, it makes being a husband or wife a lifelong adventure. True love may begin with a chemical reaction, but in its fullest sense, true love is a virtue given by God’s grace and developed through loving over a lifetime.
After all, instead of grumbling about how poorly we were loving Him, our Bridegroom loved us even to the point of death on a cross. In this light, focusing on our job leads us away from making marriage an idol and reminds us of the icon He created it to be.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment here.
Josh this was super encouraging and challenges us to a deeper more personal way to love!
Thanks, Ali. I’m glad.
So right on, Josh. Love is a continuous, til death do us part, decision. One is never out of work.
Well said! The Lord spoke to me similarly early in my marriage by clearly telling me He calls me to love my spouse, not to correct him/her….that to love with Christ’s love is more important than my being right. Examples include allowing the dishes to be cleaned and put away the next morning instead of after dinner; not correcting the retelling of a story or event; and praying for God to lead my spouse to pledge to the work of God rather than my insisting it is right and we are wrong to not do so. God took care of all this and more. By God’s grace and His empowering of His agape love for one another, we’ve been married 32 years now. Praise God! He’s changed me a lot in this learning to love well sanctification process! 😉
Thanks for sharing — I’m glad I’m not alone!
Great article, I wanted to share on fb but was unable to do so.
Hmm, not sure why, Cindy. I’ll ask our web content person to get in touch with you (he’s out sick today!).
Thank you as always, Josh, for bringing us back to the King Himself. This focus on my “job” even applies to me as a parent! (E.g. My job is not to produce well-behaved, God-loving children. My job is to be faithful to God in stewarding them).
Great point about applying this to our job as parents! So true and so good. Thank you, Julie!
Spot on, love burns and it is with the person we choose. I up each other in grace?
Interpreting God’s word to benefit we the church takes heartfelt love of God. God’s message is planted in His word and this reminder and fresh glance encourages me greatly. Many thanks Josh.
Thank you so much, Josh, for your clear writing and teaching of God’s words and principles! I am always in awe and eternally thankful for the way God’s “still, small voice” speaks to us. On one occasion, after months of vehement and gut-wrenching cries for assistance and guidance He simply said, “I’ve got this!” As someone who wishes to be married again, this is great advice. The greatest thing I got from this is that our marriages are “jobs”, that require continual maintenance whether they are going smoothly or poorly. Also, our success as a spouse is not necessarily determined by our spouse’s assessment, but, how we serve God by serving our spouse, “…as serving God, not man.” Thank you for your writings, Josh. You are making a difference for so many!