Men, we have our marching orders.
We know that we are called, by God, to pursue our wives. Hands down. No debate necessary. Therefore, over the last month, we have talked through this concept a bit, urging you, as men, to have a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude in your marriages. Nick Moore called the pursuit of our wives a “life and death matter,” and I agree.
As we have moved forward with this discussion, we have done much work on this issue.
I have outlined here a few areas in which we should pursue our wives (i.e., spiritually, physically, emotionally, practically), and, over the last month, we have had some great theological and practical pieces on why men should pursue their wives, starting with developing courage in your courtship days and adding legs to that with a discussion on the goal of dating. Additionally, we discussed how the pursuit of our wives is nothing but untrivial and how it can lead to great joy in Christ—for both spouses. And, finally, we discussed more practical-theology along the way as we challenged men to develop a mindset—a lifestyle, of sorts—for dating our wives.
As I have edited, read, and re-read this series, I have been continually reminded of the greatness of trials. That might seem a little strange at first read. Trials? Great? What? However, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know and understand (and maybe even amen) the truth that marriage is hard. In fact, it is really hard. When two sinners come together in the institution of marriage, the journey is not easy. I am reminded of James 1, when James urges us to “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds,” and I believe marriage is one of those “many kinds” of trials we will face in life.
Here’s what I mean. Life is hard.
Everything in it comes with some amount of trial attached to it. Parenting comes with trials. A new job comes with trials. Real and authentic relationships and friendships come with trials. Pursuing a new career will come with trials. Climbing a mountain will come with trials. Writing a new book will come with trials. And, yes, marriage comes with trials.
As a pastor, I see this reality often. Urging men through writing to “man-up” and pursue their wives is one thing, but counseling couples—in real life—on the brink of divorce is no fun at all.
We can write all day about the call of you, as the man, to pursue your wife. But here me out. I know sometimes you can get lost in all the noise. I know that sometimes you will feel like a failure as a husband and spiritual leader. I get it. I see men in this situation all of the time. I do too, at times.
That is why it is so important to live within the beautiful truths of gospel as we go about stepping up to the plate in our marriages. Just because we step up to the plate, it doesn’t mean we will hit a home run every time. Again, marriage is hard. We must live within the confines of grace every single day.
We must preach grace to ourselves, because we will fail. We will feel like failure husbands, a times, instead of warrior husbands. We will lay in bed wanting to kick ourselves for that outburst after dinner. We will feel guilty for working more than we should sometimes. We will find ourselves even getting in a fight on date night. Has this ever happened to you? No? Only me?
Well, if it hasn’t yet, then it will. We will go to bed as the words of Paul echo in our minds: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15). We will have to repent—both to God and our wives. We will have to apologize. We will have to make things right.
But may we when we fail, as warrior husbands, also preach more words of Paul to ourselves: “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).
Yes, brothers. We are no longer under the law. We are no longer bound by sin. We are in Christ. Under grace. Free from hell.
However, let’s be real for a minute. We can give you a ton of “how-to” stuff on pursuing your wife. Go and do those things. Go and be a warrior husband in the pursuit of your wife. Model the gospel. Repent where needed. Pursue your wife.
And as you go, remember one thing: Marriage is hard but God is good.
Go and pursue your wife. Live, however, within the oceans of grace.
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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