As I sat watching the well-known pastor on television, he stated something that made me start questioning my priorities. My husband should come before my kids. God first, husband second, kids third. I immediately began running different scenarios in my head of how our family did things.
Were our kids the center of our universe? And if so, how would this affect their behavior in the long term? Certainly, they had more needs and required help with day to day activities, but I wondered what kind of world I was creating for them beyond that.
The following week, I began studying scripture, looking for instruction related to this topic. One of the first passages I found was in Ephesians:
“Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” (Ephesians 5:22-23)
I have to admit these verses were a source of contention for me for many years, because I am not a person who likes submitting to authority. My husband once joked that the reason I’d never been happy in any job I’d had in the workforce was because I wasn’t the boss.
However, as I studied this scripture and its meaning, I realized something. The relationship between the husband and wife is a model of the church, of which Christ is the head. By living in this way, we are creating a living image and testimony of God’s love for us.
In the following text, the husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ loves the church. In other words, the previous statements are not a free pass for the male to wield his authority with force or use it to his advantage. He is to follow the example of Jesus, who laid down his life for us. He is to hold his wife in the highest esteem, as he would his own body.
After I spent some time in the Word and in prayer, I realized my husband and I had some work to do in this area. Although we allowed time for dates and alone time each month, our outings had become routine and stagnant. We needed to “shake things up a bit.” A marriage ministry our church recently started helped tremendously in this area.
They assigned date challenges. We were forced to think outside of our normal dinner and a movie fallback.
Here’s what I recognized:
When we take time to for each other as husband and wife, we are not only strengthening our marriage, but are giving a gift to our kids.
We are displaying for them what love looks like. We are investing time in our marriage and showing them that like any other commitment, it takes dedication and work. We return to them refreshed, with our needs as a couple met, and ready to tackle our next family adventure.
We show them that while their wants and needs are important, there is only one center of the universe.
And his name is God.
*Black and white photos courtesy of Derek & Diane Photography