Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” The Lord has shown favor to me by sending me a good, good woman. I desire to love my bride as Christ loves His bride.
Beki and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on Saturday. We were married a decade ago on August 1, 2010. The ceremony was held in a church that became another church that’s now for sale. Our wedding reception was in the basement of the church where I am currently pastor. (How many pastors can say they preach in the church where they got married?)
At the reception, my friend, Andrew, stood up and said, “We watched these two fall in love with each other, and then we saw their love blossom and grow. And it was absolutely disgusting.”
It’s true. We were gross. But that part about blossoming and growing continues to be true. Beki and I are more in love today than we were the day we exchanged our vows. God has blessed us with four wonderful children, and our love has grown all the more.
About this time five years ago, I started the WWUTT podcast (When We Understand the Text), taking the skills I’d gained from 22 years of radio and applied them to teaching the Bible every day online. Fifteen hundred episodes later, the podcast is still going strong, and Beki has been with me every step of the way. Her voice is featured in every episode, welcoming listeners with a pleasant greeting and closing every broadcast with a simple, “Thank you for listening!”
On the Friday edition of the podcast, I’d been doing a Q&A, reading and responding to questions from the listeners. With some coaxing from a dear friend, we managed to convince Beki to do it with me. She jumped in on episode 470, which at the time was a half-hour. However, we love talking to each other so much, eventually that turned into a full hour!
We get lots of comments on the program, but there has been one comment I don’t think either one of us were expecting—especially not as often as we hear it. This is the compliment we get the most: couples tell us, “We love the way you talk to each other.”
I was approached by a married couple earlier this year who said, “The way you and Beki talk to each other has changed our marriage.” They said they used to bicker and fight and argue all the time, but just listening to the way we talk to each other has changed the way that they talk to each other. That is astounding! And I mean that in a good way.
I don’t want to give the impression that we are perfect people who make the perfect couple. There are times Beki and I don’t do a good job of communicating with each other. We are just as prone to moodiness as anyone else. We can hurt each other’s feelings. Sometimes the world can come between us. Spending too much time on our smart phones or other electronic devices, becoming short on personal interactions with each other or the kids, always leads to poor communication.
But as far as how we talk to each other, this I will say—we have never raised our voices to one another. Ever. I’ve never yelled at Beki, and she’s never yelled at me. In ten years of marriage, we’ve never called one another a disparaging name. I genuinely love this person. She is my favorite person in the world. Before we got married, we set forth commitments to love each other as Christ has loved us. Christ is the foundation of our marriage.
This is a testament to how gracious God has been to each of us. As surprising to you as it may seem, neither one of us are “kind” people by our nature. We’re born sinners. Both of us have been in relationships in the past where we were not as compassionate or considerate of our significant others as we are to each other. Beki would tell you the same thing. But we’ve both been convicted of our past sins, we have sought God’s forgiveness, and we have been renewed in Christ.
As a husband, I have a daily responsibility to love my wife “as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). It is my job to teach my wife God’s word and how it applies, and as a father I am to raise my children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
That doesn’t come easy, but Beki makes it easy. She submits to her husband as the Lord instructs a wife to do (Ephesians 5:22-24). As easy as Beki is to love, I must be careful of letting my sinful flesh take her for granted, my wonderful children for granted, and my gracious God for granted, and I become lazy. As Christian a man as I am, I can still easily ruin my family, and I can ruin it just by doing nothing. After all, Adam ruined paradise by doing nothing (see Genesis 3:6).
When the Bible says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3), that verse may begin with the words “Do nothing,” but you are being told to do something—be humble and love others.
Your worldview cannot be that as long as you do not do “bad” things, then things will turn out “good.” The world is fallen. Nothing will ever be good by doing nothing. To live in righteousness is to wage war and push back the forces of darkness every day. “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
There are so many applications to this, but I must stay on task. Here’s my point. You must turn away from the evil desire to not talk with your spouse in a kind way, and you must talk with your spouse in a kind way! Be encouraging, complimentary, compassionate. Maybe you need to adjust your tone. Your default position to believe that kindness in your marriage is your spouse’s job and not yours. This is pride. Humble yourself. See your significant other as more significant than yourself. Seek peace and pursue it.
Jesus’ words to the church, His bride, are full of loving kindness, and so I want my words to my bride to be full of loving kindness. Beki and I speak kindly to one another because the gospel of Christ compels us. If you haven’t been kind to your spouse, there is forgiveness from God and a new start today. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Christ has been an example for us, and we consider it a privilege to be an example for others. Listen to us every day on the WWUTT podcast. We’d love to have you join us!
This is my first blog entry as part of The Majesty’s Men. Thank you for reading, and please subscribe! If you enter your e-mail address above, you will receive a notification via e-mail the moment I post a new blog. God bless!