I’m feel like a blessed man, but not because of material things (though, I’m happy to say my family is warm, dry, and fed). I feel blessed because of the people God has entrusted into my care. Namely, God has graciously given me two beautiful baby girls. (They’re just about all I post on Instagram.)
Every Easter, our church has baptisms (we also have them at other times, too). This year there were two eight year old kids who had decided to publicly declare their faith in Christ. As our pastor introduced each one, he invited them to read a verse that had impacted their lives. As the children read their verses, my mind wandered…
I longed for and dreamed of the day I’d get to see my daughters publicly share their decisions to follow Jesus. Tears filled my eyes and a knot formed in the back of my throat. Normally I’d be embarrassed, but watching baptisms is an occasion well worth a few tears.
My daydream continued… I began to envision my daughters as teenagers, then as young women. I imagined them introducing me to boys they like (cringe).
Eventually, I began wondering what kind of men each of my daughters would marry. Would their future husbands treat them well? Would they speak to them kindly, gently, and lovingly? Would they respect my daughters, and treasure them as I do? Would they lead and love them sacrificially as Christ loved his bride, the church?
Then, conviction set in as my line of questioning turned inward.
- Do I respect and treasure my wife as God treasures her?
- Do I treat her as I would want my daughters to be treated by their husbands?
- Do I speak to her kindly, gently, and lovingly?
- Do I pursue her as he does?
The conviction was deep, and it’s just as fresh today.
It’s sobering to think of your bride as a daughter of God. Yes, a man in Christ is also adopted into God’s family and called a son… but husbands, have you ever thought of yourself as God’s son-in-law? I can’t help but picture him standing at the front door, shotgun in hand, warning me to have his baby girl home before 10pm. I know it’s a ridiculous mental image (with no scriptural foundation), but perhaps it’s useful?
Wives, have you ever thought of yourself as God’s daughter-in-law?
Familiarity & Forgetfulness
One of the mixed blessings of marriage is familiarity. I say mixed because there are two very different sides to the same coin. On one side, you can be closer and more vulnerable with your spouse than with any other person. On the other side, you can grow too familiar and get lazy with each other. I’m not just talking about using the bathroom with the door open, or forgetting common courtesies once revered while dating. (Side note: it’s a good idea to maintain a healthy amount of decorum in your marriage out of mutual respect).
The biggest downside to familiarity is forgetfulness: forgetting what makes your spouse remarkable, forgetting why you were drawn to him/her in the first place, and forgetting just how treasured they are in God’s eyes.
Nobody Knows You Like God Knows You
No one is more familiar with you than God. He knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), he knows the number of hairs on your head (even if it decreases daily) (Luke 12:7), and he knows exactly what you do, think, say, and intend… every moment of every day (Psalm 139:2). Nothing about you is a mystery or a surprise to God!
Yet, he forgives. He loves.
“For while we were still weak, At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Despite how much you neglect God (forget to pray much?), he stands ready to meet you wherever you’re at and pour out everything he promises without delay. In Christ, you have all the benefits of familiarity and none of the drawbacks. That’s what it means to be called son or daughter. That’s the good news of the gospel!
Experiencing the gospel will forever change how you view your wife or husband. Christ views her/him with the same loving, longsuffering, patient, and kind eyes with which he views you. Remembering God’s position as your Heavenly Father and as your Heavenly Father-in-law will help keep the harmful effects of familiarity in check.
For Husbands Only
Husbands, God adores your wife! She is his little girl… now all grown up. He knew her in the womb, designed her intricately in his image, and entrusted her into your care. Your bride is God’s daughter first and your wife second. Remember to treasure her as God does, and love her as Christ as loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). As you do, you will be faithfully caring for God’s greatest blessing in your life.
About Husband in Pursuit
This article is an excerpt from Husband in Pursuit: 31 Daily Challenges for Loving Your Wife Well. Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. Husband in Pursuit helps men love their brides intentionally in creative, fun, and sometimes challenging ways.
The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge
There’s also a version for wives called Wife in Pursuit: 31 Daily Challenges for Loving Your Husband Well. Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?