Thanks

Facebook is full of 30 Days of Thanks posts. Same with Twitter. I think every blog I read had some sort of “I’m thank for…” list posted today. Writing about our blessings and the gratitude they generate is unavoidable on this day, but I hope to take this in a slightly different direction.

I’m thankful for the hard stuff in life. Honestly, I am. Marriage has been hard, and by all accounts it always will be. People don’t believe us when we say this, but we don’t fight. We don’t argue much either, and when we do it ends well. But that does not mean it’s been easy.

It’s been hard learning to be a faithful husband. The Bible tells us that men are to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That’s a high bar. I think we can all agree, even our readers who don’t agree with us religiously, that loving someone enough to die for them, to literally give yourself up, is an incredibly lofty goal. It’s a goal I fail at on a daily basis. Every day I make decisions that put myself ahead of her. Every day I accept my passive instincts. I choose my comfort over her good. I do the opposite of what I should, I love myself more than I love her. Yet, I am thankful for those failures. Every single one of them.

I’m thankful because God gave me a wife who knows what it means to fail, a wife who has been forgiven herself, a wife who loves me. In her love, she forgives me for my failures. In that forgiveness I can see an image of the forgiveness I have been given for all of my mistakes.

We’ll be the first to admit, this is not always the easiest or automatic process. We get mad at each other, and sometimes the mercy takes a while to show, but in the end it is always there.

That is what I am thankful for this year, I am thankful for a wife who shows me the grace of God everyday. Because that is when I need it.

Priorities

We had a good little argument tonight. I use the word ‘good’ deliberately because it brought some things to light for me.

First, the selfishness of the human heart is incredibly ingrained, and in my case hardened by ten years of living alone. I am so used to reacting out of my own interests that it’s second nature. Then, when it becomes obvious that I am being selfish I jump to defend myself, usually harshly. I know we all handle it differently, but I’m not unique, this is a universal pattern.

Second, I have not fully (you might argue not even partially) adjusted to having a wife with priorities that I should place above my own. This is still selfish, but in a marriage I think this is particularly egregious. If we are called to serve our spouse, or as a husband to love my wife as Jesus loves his church, then putting my priorities above hers is an awfully bad place to start.

Yet that is exactly what I have done with a couple of important things lately. So, after our discussion in which I realized what I had been doing I confessed these things to Lindsey and she forgave me. This is the most important part of an argument, the confession and forgiveness. Without confession and forgiveness hearts get hard and bitterness sets , but with them, we can learn, accept and grow. Of course, that is exactly what any marriage needs.