Choosing to love your husband? “Well that’s silly,” you might say. “I didn’t choose to love him, it just happened.” True. When I met my husband, I was done for. Head over heels in love. I didn’t choose to love him; it just happened.
Fast forward ten years of marriage: three kids, a mortgage payment, putting three meals on the table daily, 14,000 loads of laundry a week (I kid… or do I?), and sometimes I don’t feel like loving him. I feel like complaining. I feel like moping because sometimes it seems like no one cares about mama’s feeling in the midst of the chaos. I feel like I might explode some days. But I choose to love.
Feelings can be misleading. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” I can scarce understand my own emotions most of the time, but there are some things that I know without doubt. In her book “Unglued,” Lysa TerKeurst talks about mentally reviewing what she knows to be true when she finds herself in a stressful situation. I KNOW I’m Jaclyn Harwell. I KNOW I am daughter to Johnny and Sabrina and wife to David; mother to Camden, Maddox and Everett. I KNOW I am a child of God. And I KNOW I can seek Him in all things, and ask Him how He would have me respond to my husband in times of discord.
We know that according to God’s word, we are to submit to our husbands. I KNOW this. So, in moments of discord, I ask the Lord how I can honor my husband while still communicating what I feel must be said. I seek the Lord in moments of distress in my marriage, and His response is always the same: first and foremost, I must honor my husband. From there, the Lord will guide my speech if I let Him.
Choosing to Love
And I choose to love. I choose to love when I’m picking up dirty socks. I choose to love when I’m feeling unappreciated after putting a stellar meal on the dinner table. I choose to love when my husband forgets his lunch I made for him the night before AGAIN (or IS he forgetting…? Maybe he’s sick of this Paleo business. Hmmm… that’s neither here nor there). I choose to love because that is the only real choice. As the song from King and Country says, “If I sing but don’t have love, I waste my breath with every song, I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise. If I speak with a silver tongue, convince a crowd but don’t have love, I leave a bitter taste with every word I say.”
If I go about my sometimes mundane business of being a wife and mom, getting everyone’s laundry done and feeding their bodies with good, nourishing foods but do so without love, what’s the point? If my husband comes home to a clean house and warm dinner, but I don’t greet him with love and am instead grouchy after working hard all day, then the clean house and warm dinner will mean nothing; my hard work will just leave a bitter taste in his mouth. Likewise, if it’s just one of those days and the house is messy, I’m still in my pajamas and dinner is just not going to happen, I can greet him with a hug and kiss, a warm smile and a genuine appreciation for his arrival home, and he could care less about the other stuff.
1 Peter 4:8 states “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” All the other stuff, whether the house is clean or not, the dinner is made or not, I smell nice because I actually got a shower (or not!), that stuff is just fluff. The love you have for each other is the real meat of what makes the marriage work. When I choose to love my husband, I can walk in joyfulness, knowing the good I bring him. I become a woman worthy of his love, too. The thing about love is that it just multiplies and grows, and when I choose to love my husband, his choice to love me back becomes a no-brainer, and love really is what makes the world go ‘round, isn’t it?