[This is the first post in a new series entitled Pursuing Your Wife.]
Scripture is pretty clear on how men should love their wives—like Jesus loved and served the Church (Eph. 5:24). Christ, in his pursuit of us, gave his life for us. Jesus sets the stage from the beginning concerning what this pursuit should look like, so why do we have so many dudes in our churches that are failing in this endeavor?
Because dating and pursuing one’s wife is such an incredibly important issue, we are going to begin a multi-part series here at Manual encouraging you, urging you, and coming-off-the-top-rope-with-a-biblical-manhood-elbow-drop into you to challenge you to raise the bar in how you date and pursue your wife.
There is no close second, bro.
There is no other relationship, in any other environment in this world, which so closely reflects Christ and the Church. There is no other replacement for you as a husband. There are no audibles you can call. There are no other options. You are option one. You are the only one that can make her feel loved, cherished, pursued, and valued. It’s all you. There’s no one else. Period.
Therefore, because we are men, and because we are husbands, and because no one else can pursue our wives for us, we need to begin to act like our marriages are the number one aims of our lives. Therefore, we must begin to embrace a war-like posture in this arena. We can’t go into the game soft, sluggish, and pudgy. Our marriages are under attack. No one can fight for your marriage except you.
This series hopes to do just that—encourage you, equip you, and spur you on to a greater drive in how you pursue your bride. If you are a single guy reading this series, then I pray you begin to add some much needed weaponry to your arsenal, as maybe you will one day be in the position of a husband who is ready to go to war on pursing your bride.
As we move forward in this series, there will be some really good stuff to chew on, apply, and amen, so I don’t want to pave the road here that someone else is paving, but I do want to give you a few practical tips even in this beginning post about how we can begin to do work on the most prodigious pursuit of our lives.
Are you ready for this?
PURSUE YOUR WIFE SPIRITUALLY
Above all else, pursue Jesus. From your pursuit of him, everything else will follow (Jn. 15:5). The wrong thing to do here, I think, is to function as a pastor (or mentor) to your wife. Many people err on this, thinking they have to sit down and do exegetical bible studies with their wives and family every single morning, teaching them and equipping them, as a pastor would his church.
There is an aspect of “love your wife as Christ loved the Church” in this thought, but I think it begins more with you, as the husband, and I think it ends with you, too. Here’s what I mean: Before all else, focus on your relationship with Jesus, not your wife’s relationship with Jesus. Focus on your prayer life. Focus on your heart.
When it is real and genuine, and not out of obligation or duty, then your wife will follow suit. When it feels more manufactured than anything else, then you need to reevaluate and go do some work with God.
So, have a fervent prayer life by yourself, and then go pray with your wife.
Get up early and get in the Word, and then read Scripture with your wife.
PURSUE HER EMOTIONALLY
Often times, men fail here in big ways. My pastor, Trent Stewart, calls this face-to-face time. Other people have called it quality time, as opposed to quantity time. In other words, we do spend time with our wives but only in a quantity form or side-by-side way.
We come home from work after long days at the office, eat dinner, tuck the kids in bed, and then crash out of exhaustion. We either veg-out in front of the television or our iPhone screens. Instead, try veg-ing in front of one another. Close the computer. Turn off the television. Put away your iPhone.
Get in each other’s faces—just brush a little bit first.
Men, I say this with emphasis: We MUST have face-to-face time with our wives. We have to connect with them emotionally. We have to be able to open up to them, have them open up to us, and then try our best to not “fix” them. Face-to-face time is not about us coming to their rescue concerning all of their problems. It’s about real, authentic, one-on-one time about life, family, and anything and everything else you want to discuss. That is a series in and of itself right there.
PURSUE HER PHYSICALLY
I shouldn’t have to encourage you here, right? Wrong! So many marriages are failing in this area as husbands and wives resort to being roommates, instead of one another’s sacred beloved (Song of Sol. 6:5). Pursuing our wives means we pursue them face-to-face—both emotionally and physically. What is more, when we pursue our wives emotionally and spiritually, that often sets the stage for intimacy in the bedroom.
Don’t be the guy who comes out of the shower buck naked with a cape trying to pull off the Captain Morgan pose and think that’s going to work.
Believe me, it doesn’t.
Again, it starts with Jesus. It’s all about him. Sex is a gift from God, and when used in the right context, it can be the most joyful experience and gift in your marriage.
It doesn’t come easy, though.
PURSUE HER PRACTICALLY
Finally, you have to pursue your wife practically. First of all, you have to go on dates. If you have multiple kids, then dating is much harder. You have to be proactive in finding a babysitter, etc. It becomes a littler bit more work, then. When you don’t have kids, it’s a little bit easier, but still a good bit of work. It takes a man with a little bit of drive to continue to pursue his wife after their marriage vows—kids or no kids.
Additionally, you have to plan family vacations. Make sure that’s the first thing on the calendar. Plan them early in the year, ask off for them early, and have a vacation every single year. I would encourage married couples with kids to get away at least 2-3 times a year together. I know that might seem like a little bit of work, because it is, but don’t neglect the intentional face-to-face time you need to have for extended amounts of time.
Get away and have fun together—like you once did.
There is no “how to” manual here, and this is not a “do this and your marriage will succeed” article (or series). It is, however, something in which I think we can all do better. We can all pursue our wives in greater ways spiritually, emotionally, physically, and practically.
And as a final thought, maybe we can pursue them randomly at times, too.
When was the last time flowers randomly showed up for your wife in the middle of the day?
When was the last time you randomly bought her a gift?
When was the last time you randomly had an adventure together?
When was the last time you randomly had incredible, spontaneous sex?
When was the last time you randomly cleaned the entire house for her?
When was the last time you randomly did something she loves to do?
When was the last time you intentionally, with a war-like posture and mindset, got serious about pursuing your wife?
Remember, only you can roll up your sleeves and go hard every single day for your bride.
I pray this series encourages you and fires you up.
ABOUT GREG: Greg serves as the family pastor at Foothills Church in Knoxville, TN and as the assistant editor of Manual for CBMW. He has a lovely wife and 2 children–Cora and Iver.
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