Husbands, I know that you love your wife, cherish her beyond measure, and wish every day (and tenfold on Valentine’s Day!) that you could figure out how to better express that to her and in return feel her love and respect for you in all new ways as well.
Though we should not dismiss in the least the importance of showing your love to your Valentine through acts like bringing home flowers, surprising her with dinner out, cleaning the house for her, and other ways that express to her that you’re thinking of her and you want to serve her, gaining your wife’s long-term admiration and awe for you is actually much less complicated than finding the perfect combination of small acts of love and service: let her see you become vulnerable and depending completely on Jesus.
It is simple. As she observes you sincerely depend on Jesus Christ, especially when your back is up against the wall, she will honor you. Something triggers in the Christ-following woman that results in the kind of admiration and respect that this wife who wrote me has for her husband:
My husband was diagnosed with cancer when our firstborn was just four months old. He had developed asthma out of nowhere and when it would not respond they took a chest X-ray and found out he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Throughout that process (diagnoses, radiation, recovery) we felt God’s hand blessing us all along the way. My sweet hubby witnessed to others about his faith and God worked little miracles along the way. It was relatively easy to trust God even though the road was a hard one to walk.
Two years later when our second-born child was just four months old, my hubby was found to have a new tumor in his lung, under the spot where they shielded his lungs from the radiation he underwent the first time. This time there was a painful surgery to remove part of his lung, chemotherapy (which we dreaded), a very good chance that he would be sterile afterward (after we had planned on letting God bless us with as many children as He saw fit to give us) and lots of pain, suffering, trials, and bitter disappointment.
Hadn’t God healed us the first time? Why? What didn’t we learn the first time? We had lots of doubt and anger. One night my hubby sat down on the sofa and declared, “When I became a Christian, I said I would obey God for the rest of my life, whether I knew His plan for me or not. He has never forsaken me and I will not forsake Him. He does not owe me an explanation.” I remember sitting there in awe of his great faith and commitment to God, considering he was the one physically suffering.
This all happened about twenty-five years ago. The cancer has never returned. He has suffered with other health problems, including a week in ICU when the fluid around his damaged heart nearly killed him. (The damage was a consequence of the radiation treatments.) But we walk the road, faithful to God whether we see His plan or not. He is God and that is enough for us.
Gentlemen, when you face tough trials, are you willing to humbly say to your wife, “When I became a Christian, I said I would obey God for the rest of my life, whether I knew His plan for me or not. He has never forsaken me and I will not forsake Him. He does not owe me an explanation”?
When she hears you say this and sees your faith in action, I predict she will feel awe. But you don’t do this to ignite her respect; you do this because you are actively declaring your trust in the Lord. Even so, I have observed countless women feel deep admiration toward a man who depends on Christ in the face of events he cannot control. God designed her to respond to him at such moments, and most Christ-following wives will.
Yes, on Valentine’s Day your wife may be secretly wishing to have roses show up somewhere unannounced or be taken to that new restaurant downtown. And I would encourage you to express your love to her in as many of these small ways as you can.
But that is just one day, one act, one smile. Do you want her to be in complete awe of you for the other 364 days? Then show to her your complete faith and dependence on God, no matter what struggles arise.
She’ll be proud to call herself your Valentine for the rest of her life!
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