Brotherly Love

                         This is the third essay in a five-part series on Marriage Advice
                      from 1 Peter 3:8. Click here for the first post
                         Click here for the second.

Same-team-friendship-family. This is the kind of love that we need in our marriages. Romantic love is ah-ma-zing. But, it ebbs and flows and is based more on how I “feel loved” than the steadfastness of brotherly love.

Before we get further down the “brother-sister” bent, let's remind ourselves that marriage is way more than just two friends or siblings co-habituating. It's a commitment of souls with the thumbprint of God, the two shall become one flesh.

But, as we talk about love in our marriage, with this designation of ALSO having philostorgos in our marriage – we look at loving our husbands as brothers in Christ. It is about loving him and wanting the absolute best for him. It's about kind delight and enjoying him. It's about honoring him first.

Now, it's easy to fall into two categories, so stay alert!

One group of Christian women are excited about this. They are taught that if she honors her guy first, he'll get the gist and start honoring her. They have an IF-THEN philosophy of serving and honoring. They think if they cook his favorite foods, watch his football games, wear the clothes he loves, (fill in the blank), then he will be a better husband.

Not so, my friends. This same commandment is given to men, however… as we know from our own brokenness, just because it's a commandment to them, it's not a promise to us. Our obedience is neither based on the worthiness of our husbands, nor the results of what we will gain through obeying.

The second group of Christian women are the ones who are dumb-founded that I would even be writing this. They are saying, “You don't know how hard it is to live with my husband”. They are saying, “What about my rights?”  They are saying, “You sound like a doormat.”

Guilty as charged.

I don't know your husband. My guess is he's selfish, bitter, egotistical, oblivious, and stressed out. Maybe his anxiety, depression, or idols are choking his mind. And that when he does do something really wonderful, it's because he wants something back. And then, there is his wife. She is selfish, bitter, egotistical, oblivious, and stressed out. Maybe her anxiety, depression, or idols are choking her mind. And she has her own set of hidden agendas behind all the amazing things she does.

And even though you are both unworthy – God has called you to Himself. He has given His Son to bleed your sins. He has put on you the clothes of Heaven. You have been saved from the hell you deserve.

And I know that you are worried about your rights. Me, too! A husband who loves me perfectly? A home of safety and security? Someone who will provide what I need when I need it? Someone who knows the intimate parts of my soul and meets me there? Someone who encourages me and never leaves me? Well, not one of those things are promised to me in a husband. What God has promised is that He will give those things. He will BE those things.

Yes, husbands are commanded to love us. But again, we know that even the best husbands aren't perfect about this. And our command to respect them? Hmmm… we all know how that goes. We are both broken in need of the reconciliation of Heaven. There, we will understand true love and true respect.

So, when it comes to my rights I have to remember that God is for me. Even though I don't deserve any good thing – He promises many – but through Himself, and not through my husband. Therefore, I don't have to fight my husband for my rights. I already have them because of Jesus.

Does this make me a doormat?

No. It empowers me to love, serve, and honor my husband with great joy. Why? Because when I remember what God has given me even though I don't deserve it – picking up another dirty sock isn't such a big deal. When I remember that my salvation (what really matters) is already taken care of by Christ, I don't need my husband to do/be-like/act-like I want him to. The pressure is off. It's off of me trying to manipulate him. It's off of him trying to live up to my expectations.

So, maybe he does pick up his dirty socks. And mine, too. Maybe he does wash them and put them away. Maybe he dusts and vacuums as well. Maybe he's the greatest thing since sliced bread (which he is, by the way).

But even if he's outdoing me in showing honor – well, I say thank you. And then I remind myself that my salvation is not in him doing things for me. It's in what Christ has already done.

Lord, I pray that you help me base my security in You.  Thank you for how my husband does serve me.  Please open my eyes to that.  Please help me care for him as a brother who is walking towards your heart. Help me remember all you have done for me.  Help me not feel like I need to protect my rights and my position.  Help me trust You.

Continue reading this series here...


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