For Men, Leadership, Love

God’s Daughter First, My Wife Second

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.”

Romans 5:6–8

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?

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  • Gene Mefferd

    As of April 3 2017, I’m a divorced man. It pains me deeply to admit that. I find it shameful. How can I call myself a Christian even though I fought it the only way I know how, God is my warrior, mighty in battle (Psalms 24:8). I had been praying for Him to show my how to love her best. How to love her as Christ loves to church. After all, I would remind him, she is your daughter and your creation, woven by Your own hands. When I was served the papers I said “Alright God, this isn’t how I thought you would answer, but now I’m I’m free for you to take where ever You want, I don’t have to worry about what she thinks anymore. She can no longer hold me back!” Later that evening, as I was looking over the paperwork and wondering what’s next, I started hearing the question “Do you really think I, who hate divorce (Malachi 2;16), would “free” you from OUR covenant like this? That I would allow you to just walk away from MY daughter like this?”
    We are His children and He will use tools to correct us in the way we think and act. After all, He Himself divorced Israel at one time so that they could be disciplined but after a time He reconciled with her and then punished those who He used to discipline her (Jeremiah 3) If we stray, He WILL seek us and bring us back to Himself if we are indeed His.
    He has used this time in the “wilderness” to teach me and draw me closer to Him. There are many minutes throughout the days that I question the actions I’ve taken to protect my beloved. That I wouldn’t have been better off to let my attorney tear her up in court. I’m constantly questioned about why I just let her walk all over me. But I have to go back to “loving as Christ loved the church”. At any moment Jesus could have said “ENOUGH!” and all creation would have ceased to exist. But He took it all, from the beatings all the way to death, because He loves us.
    Ryan thank you for this reminder. We are God’s first for His glory and His name. In this truth we can and should find our hope. If we are still breathing, He’s not through with us yet.

    • B

      Thank you for posting this… I am waiting for my husband to come home. He left us and our two children.. he keeps telling me not to get our hopes up… that he just hasn’t had time to file the papers… after 14 years… But God… his name is Ryan… praying… check out thebtgmovement… it is helping ✝️

      • B

        14 years of marriage…the separation is new and i see it as tenporary

        • Gene Mefferd

          B thank you for your reply. It’s been 22 years of marriage for us. I’m still not sure what happened but I do know that God is in control. My wife and daughter actually file for a full order of protection against me and I haven’t seen or talked to either of them since it was filed. I have refused to be disobedient to God by violating the law of men when it isn’t violating the laws of God. He has allowed that to stay in place so I believe He has a reason for me to not be able to talk to them. I told Him I wanted Him to be most glorified by the outcome and He keeps reminding of that request. Thank you for turning me on to BTG. That was just another way He is reminding me of who is in control.

  • David Mike

    I had the pleasure of baptizing my oldest two daughters. I was truly an emotional event and I am so blessed to have been able to do it. My youngest daughter is still pretty young but I can’t wait until it’s her turn. Thank you for sharing this post with us. I need to remember to view my wife as God’s daughter. I try to value her as you mentioned, however we do get comfortable and take each other for granted at times.

  • chris

    Thanks for this article Ryan! Amen.