Becoming intentional about the things that matter most does not mean that you have succeeded in those things. This is an ongoing, refining process. It is determining your priorities, and taking the appropriate action to be intentional about them. The alternative is of course drifting aimlessly through life; being reactive instead of proactive.
Well, it is time to tackle the subject of marriage, and this time it’s my own. It is time to get intentional.
This Is My Friend
In the Song of Solomon the wife says of her husband:
“this is my beloved,
and this is my friend” (5:16)
Commenting on this verse, John MacArthur states:
“She rejoices in her love for him, but it is not just his romantic devotion that thrills her. It is not his machismo or his leadership that causes her heart to sing. What is it? She is glad that he is her friend. That’s the kind of relationship husbands should cultivate. It is a deep sense of intimate, equal sharing of spiritual things. It is a communion together like no other relationship on earth.”
It is easy for us to say, “Yes, of course my wife (or husband) is my friend! And it’s easy to respond, “That’s great…mine too.”
But is it true? Is it really true that you enjoy each other as “friend?” Intimacy aside. Husband and wife daily duties aside. Your mutual roles as parents aside. Do you really rejoice in his or her friendship?
Well let me break the ice. In my own marriage I fail in this area.
Here is what I mean: We both have roles. We both have children to raise. I provide for the family financially. She nurtures the children and manages the home while I am doing that. We enjoy each other as a family unit in our weekday free time, at dinner, on weekends. But what lies past that “family unit?” What about exclusively us two? Are we cultivating that friendship between us? Can we look at each other and say: this is my beloved, this is my friend?
For us, we have a movie night at home every Friday. Doesn’t that count? Well, are we intentionally spending that time together or is it simply a downtime away from the kids (who are sleeping)?
And what about the kids; don’t we do a good job in coming together to raise them? Aren’t we enjoying the “family unit?”
Well, maybe the parenting is an excuse. Maybe the downtime is an excuse. Maybe the family unit is an excuse to slack in the exclusive. Maybe our daily “duties” are a smokescreen from what is most important.
Justin Buzzard in his book, Date Your Wife (yeah I know, I’ve read it but don’t!) states:
“Husbands should be big dreamers. Men, you should have a bigger dream for your marriage than your wife has for your marriage. You are the leader of your marriage. And men, you should have a bigger dream for your marriage than you have for your work or any other responsibility or interest in your life. Next to your relationship with Jesus, your biggest dream should revolve around how to steward the marriage God has given you — how to best cultivate and guard the wife God has entrusted to you.”
We are doing a great job parenting together. We are enjoying the family together on trips. We are doing a great job of consistently getting downtime on Friday nights. We are doing a great job of talking about new things going on in distant family, with the kids, or around the house.
But, we are doing a shoddy of job of building and strengthening our exclusive friendship together.
A Second Confession
But wait, it gets worse. Specifically, it is I doing the shoddy job of building and strengthening our friendship. For example, my wife has asked a number of times over the years that I start taking her out somewhat regularly, for us to spend more time together in that regard, yet something else has always come up or it simply is bad timing. There was no intention on my part. It has become easy to think my financial and material provision and “participation” in the “family unit” is enough. It has become easy to think that because we have “another baby” that it is just a “season” we are in in which we cannot get away. This inaction has created that “roommate” scenario, where two people live together and parent some kids.
So what to do?
Well, there is only one thing. Take action! Husbands love your wives. Travis, love your wife in an understanding way.
Are you in this same boat? Realize your mistakes, repent, and join me and step it up. Make this a priority!
Let’s be intentional.
It Begins Today
So what about me? Well I’ve scheduled a night out with my wife tonight!
After 10 years of nursing babies and parenting, no more excuses. Time to cultivate this friendship.
Surely this will be continued…..
Are you in a similar situation? If this has inspired you to take action let me know about it in the comments. If you are a veteran at this, give us your wisdom!