by Kristen Narara
I struggle with my desire to be noticed for both my appearance and my intellect.
This can lead me into dangerous territory. It can influence me in many ways, from the way I dress to the way I interact with other people – both men and women.
Recently, my husband and I had a conversation about this very issue. He graciously pointed out that the conversations we have with others are often vibrant, intellectual and meaningful. Yet at home my conversations with him can tend to be less than this.
I realized that because of my pride and desire for approval from others, my tendency is to save all my energy for the people around me – giving them my best – which results in me serving up lukewarm, haphazard “leftovers” to my husband.
If I have deep and meaningful conversations with my friends all day and then give my husband one word responses when he comes home from work, how is that honoring to my beloved husband?
I don’t believe Paul was referring to “leftovers” when he wrote in Romans 12:10 to “outdo one another in showing honour.”
Christ didn’t give us his leftovers – he gave up everything for us! He left his Father’s glorious side and humbled himself as a helpless infant. He lived in the grit and grime of every day life, encountering sin and despair, yet he himself knew no sin. And as an innocent lamb to the slaughter, he gave his life so that we might be reconciled to him for all eternity and see him as he really is. And all this he did this for the joy set before him (Heb. 12:2) – his future inheritance of his bride (the Church), perfect and blameless, and his for eternity!
In response to Christ’s sacrificial love, we then give ourselves up for Him, putting our old self to death (Rom. 6), offering our lives as living sacrifices to Him (Rom. 12:1), and serving him joyfully.
I want to rely on Christ’s strength to joyfully give my best, not just my measly, half-hearted leftovers!
In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Dr. Timothy Keller writes:
“The deep happiness that marriage can bring, then, lies on the far side of sacrificial service in the power of the Spirit. That is, you can only discover your own happiness after each of you has put the happiness of your spouse ahead of your own, in a sustained way, in response to what Jesus has done for you. Some will ask, “if I put the happiness of my spouse ahead of my own needs – the what do I get out of it?”
The answer is – happiness. That is what you get, but a happiness through serving others instead of using them, a happiness that won’t be bad for you. It is the joy that comes from giving joy, from loving another person in a costly way.” (p. 58)
This is the kind of happiness I desire in my marriage!
What encourages me most about this is that the source of my strength in serving my husband in this way comes not from me but from the power of the Spirit.
“God asks that you deny yourself, that you lose yourself to find yourself. If you try to do this without the work of the Spirit, and without belief in all Christ has done for you, then simply giving up your rights and desires will be galling and hardening. But in Christ and with the Spirit, it will be liberating.” (Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, pp. 65-66)
Here’s to depending on Christ’s strength and the Spirit’s power to honor our husbands!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Kristen was born in Papua New Guinea and grew up in Australia (incidentally, with Samantha). Now Kristen lives in Dubai with her husband, Nigel (aka Captain Nigel), who is an airline pilot, and their gorgeous baby boy Kingston (aka Sprout). Kristen is well known for her outstanding baking skills and hospitality, and can turn any stranger into her friend for life.