September 24, 2012

The Best Marriage Advice: #1


By way of review:

#5 Husbands Should Make, Prepare or Do Something for Their Wife Every Day
#4 Always Kiss Your Spouse Goodnight, or At Least Touch Toes
#3 Run to the Sun
#2 Run to the Son

Here is a link to the actual spreadsheet I used to collect the advice.

#1 Have Lots of Sex With Your Spouse

Just kidding. You should. But that doesn't occupy our top spot.

Before I reveal the best advice, allow me to explain how I arrived there. First, I needed to select something that both men and woman suggested, something from the most popular category (serving), and something not necessarily unique to the Christian faith (for reasons I explain here).

So without further ado...

#1 Wives Submit to Your Husbands; Husbands love your Wives As Christ Loved the Church (32 Points)

 

Before I explain what I mean by this, allow to explain what I don't mean. I do NOT mean that wives are secondary to their husbands. I am NOT suggesting that women should cook, clean, etc. This has nothing to do with gender roles. As nearly every pastor who has ever performed a "Christian" wedding has noted, the task of men to "love their wives as Christ loved the church" (Ephesians 5:22-33) is actually a much greater sacrifice; as Christ ultimately gave his life for the church. What I am trying to say is this, as I read through all the recommendations and advice one prevailing theme emerged.

Treat your spouse like he/she is more important than you are.

For you biblical scholars, you could probably weasel in the "Golden Rule" here (do unto others as you would have them do to you). Although this is certainly a hallmark of the Christian faith, I think it is a principle that is at the heart of every single healthy marriage on the planet, "religious" or otherwise.

This fall I decided to start taking classes at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (which explains the less frequent blog posts). I know that many people work full-time jobs and take classes but for whatever reason I have felt absolutely swamped for about a month now. I basically work until 4:30, come home, eat dinner, then do homework the rest of the night (I literally have NO idea how couples with kids do this). I can honestly say that this would be 100% impossible if Sarah didn't support my schooling. If you are wondering, yes, practically this means that Sarah often makes dinner and cleans our apartment. BUT, this is entirely secondary to the point I'm making. I know there will come a time in our lives, when it will be my responsibility to cook, clean, etc (P.S. Everyone should try a spaghetti squash. It's like spaghetti...but a vegetable...mind = blown). 

When I asked Sarah's dad if I had his permission/blessing to marry his daughter he responded by saying:
Yes, under this condition. I expect four things from you. I expect you to be a prophet, priest provider and protector to and for my daughter. What I mean is this, on a basic level I expect you to be able to support Sarah and take care of her. I'm not asking for off-shore accounts, but I do expect you to be able to put food on the table ect. As for priest and prophet, I expect you to not only be pursuing a relationship with God, I expect you to lead her spiritual. I expect you to not only pray with her but also pray for her.
He said a few more things (actually a lot more things) but this was the basic gist. It's a little oversimplification on my part to summarize these four "requirements" into the sentence "Love Your Wives as Christ Loved the Church", but I think it accurately catches my father-in-law's charge.

I can only fulfill the role my father-in-law outlined (so eloquently I might add. He borrowed it from an author named Bachman) if I'm willing to allow Sarah's interest, dreams, desires to supplant my own. And Sarah can only support my education if she absolutely values and cherishes the things that are important to me (as you can see, it gets real exciting when dreams, visions, etc are the same).

Can you image if we actually lived this way? What if we genuinely, sincerely and absolutely put our spouses first. Think back to the first four points:

#5 Husbands Should Make, Prepare or Do Something for Their Wife Every Day
#4 Always Kiss Your Spouse Goodnight, or At Least Touch Toes
#3 Run to the Sun
#2 Run to the Son

So when it's time to do the dishes, mow the law or carry out the trash...when you just had a huge fight and the other person is definitely wrong...when your spouse just had the worst day imaginable but you had an exhausting day yourself...

Think about this.

In many ways it's unnatural to put the interest of someone else so clearly ahead of your own. But I think this is the most important thing in a marriage.

Basic? Yes. The hardest thing on the planet? Definitely.

Thank you to everyone that submitted marriage advice for this countdown. Sarah will be baking you each a pan of chocolate brownies. They should arrive in the mail in 1 - 4,900 weeks. 

2 comments:

  1. A quality first place winner indeed! Well done with gathering and organizing all this info Keith...and I must agree with your previous comment re: speedball...very insightful!

    For my brownies, I like the kind with chocolate chunks in the mix...

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  2. Thanks, Lisa! I'll let Sarah know about the brownies :)

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