A few years into his marriage, a young pastor just finishing seminary was about to take a pastorate at a small church. However, there was one major problem, his marriage was in trouble. “How can I preach hope to people as a pastor, and I can’t even make my own marriage work?” As he cried out to God, He said, “God, I don’t know what to do.” Then God gave him a visual image that would forever change his life, his marriage, and hundreds of thousands of other marriages.
As God gave him a picture of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet he heard, “That’s the problem with your marriage. You don’t have that attitude towards your wife.” In that moment he realized God was right and asked Him to forgive him. In all his study of theology, he had missed the whole point. He then prayed, “God, give me the attitude of Christ.” And God changed his heart. Since that day, Dr. Gary Chapman has been helping marriages all over the world. His book, The 5 Love Languages, has sold over 12 million copies.
I frequently have to ask myself the question, “Do I have that attitude? Am I willing to ‘wash Bonnie’s feet’ every day? Am I willing to lay down my life, my desires, my needs, and my happiness every day for her?” That’s the first step. I have to confess my sin by confessing my attitude has been wrong. Next, I must do as Dr. Chapman did and repent, or turn from my sin and turn to Christ. Asking God to give me the attitude of Christ is repentance. However, to be truly repentant, I must take one final step. And it’s the most difficult one. I must modify my behavior. I have to change what I’m doing… regardless of whether she changes or not.
After Dr. Chapman asked God to change his heart, he began asking his wife three simple questions every day:
- “Honey, how can I help you?”
- “How can I make your life easier?”
- “How can I be a better husband?”
The change wasn’t overnight. But after about three months, Dr. Chapman began to notice something. His wife began asking him those same three questions. Then his whole marriage began to turn around. In Ephesians 5:25, scripture tells husbands to love their wives the way Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. There’s no other magic pill. There’s no, “yeah, but what if…” Christ knows the problem in our marriages. The problem is self. Selfishness. What is the cure for selfishness? Giving of yourself and serving someone else. This not only changes you, but it will also change your spouse as you learn to selflessly express your love through serving.
“Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”- John 15:13
Enjoying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie