“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” I’m guessing Elizabeth Barrett Browning didn’t have Titus 2 in mind when she wrote those words. But for some reason, Browning’s words are in my mind as I think about how Titus 2 tells us to love our husbands.
How do you love your husband? Go ahead. Count the ways. But before you do, consider this: the word love in Titus 2:4 in the original language is a form of “phileo”. Carolyn Mahaney describes phileo as “a tender, affectionate, passionate kind of love. It emphasizes enjoyment and respect in a relationship.” So…how are you tenderly, affectionately, passionately loving your husband? Somehow washing clothes, making dinner, and raising children don’t seem to be the right answers to that question.
One Columbus Day weekend a few years ago, my husband and I decided to go for a long bike ride together. The kids were all in school, and he was home for the federal holiday. It was a beautiful day, and we were almost giddy at the thought that we had 6 whole hours to ourselves. Our best “dates” have historically included a trip to the gym, a good hard run, or going for a swim together. This time, we decided to bike about 64 miles—insanely farther than I had ever biked at one time before. Tom mapped out our route which would get us home just in time to pick up our youngest from preschool.
As we biked together, down long stretches of mostly quiet roads, hugging the shoulder and riding single-file in order to take turns drafting, my mind began to mull the lessons we had been discussing in our Bible study, many of which had centered on concepts related to submission. God opened my eyes, in fact, to see that the very act of biking together with my husband was an amazing example of submission—both of its implementation and its benefits.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t, you might want to read part 1, part 2, and part 3before you read the conclusion:
The day finally came. As I welcomed the builder into my bursting-with-potential kitchen, I could hardly keep from hugging him. He followed me about the house, listening to me babble on with my ideas, and then asked if my husband would be joining us. I said, “Oh, he’s heard me talking about this for years, now.”
Spoiler alert: You might want to readpart 1and part 2before you read on…
I was a bit like Cinderella before the ball, humming little songs and dancing dreamily about my kitchen–the same kitchen that would soon be expanding by the magic wand of three big fat checks all rolled up into one!
I decided to wait and call the builder after we got home from the restaurant, just so that everything was official. But before we left the house, I did check the calendar for the following week. I was wondering if I might need to reschedule a few things, since we were probably going to have a hole in the kitchen by then.
We wives who have a way of getting what we want have this tactic called persistence. The more we bring something up, the closer we get to the tipping point–where our husbands abdicate their preferences to keep their sanity.
This is the tactic I used on Ken as I initiating regular ‘discussions’ about the home addition I was lobbying for. (Read part 1 here.) These were rather one-sided discussions, wherein I did all of the talking and eventually, Ken did the caving. He now describes it like this: “Once that idea [of a bigger kitchen] was birthed, I knew it wasn’t dying any time soon. It moved in and made the house even smaller.”
Five or six years ago, I began complaining about our kitchen to my husband. I said that it was too small. You could only fit a tiny round table in the eating area, and there wasn’t nearly enough room if we wanted to have a big group of people over for dinner. Plus, the kids had to get off their stools at the island if I wanted to get the milk out of the fridge behind them.
That’s how small it was. (Shudder!) And the kids were only getting bigger.
After 12 years of marriage, Sam and Kathy sit at a restaurant with hardly a word crossing their lips. Kathy plays with her salad and shifts in the hard seat. Sam checks his phone and replies to a text message.
When he sets his phone down Kathy mentions that Tommy, their 10-year-old son, has a ball game that Saturday. Sam asks when, and then checks his phone to see his calendar. They go back to silence as the main dish is served. Continue reading →
Do you remember the first time you laid eyes on your husband? Do you remember what you wore on the first date? Do you remember your first kiss with him? When is the last time you and your husband talked about the story of your courtship? When is the last time you had a date? Continue reading →
We’ve been getting real here on the blog and I, for one, feel refreshed by it. I’ve loved giving you a peep into the non-sugar coated truth about my life as a mom and managing a schedule, a marriage, fear, hospitality, keeping a clean (or not so clean) house, faith and even a real mom sex life (yep, we went there). Continue reading →
During the first seven years of my marriage, when other couples called marriage “work,” I secretly judged them. My marriage didn’t seem like a lot of work during that season. True, I was married to a boy, which inevitably comes with its fair share of communication and hygiene challenges, but overall it was pretty smooth sailing. Continue reading →