How to Do Marriage
1 Corinthians 7:4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
My persistent defects are probably nowhere more apparent than they are at home. If anyone doubts my continual defects, one would need only to ask my wife, not because she is the most critical, but because she is most familiar with my frequent displays of selfishness, pride and anger.
Last week, I was on my way to the gym when I got the call that my wife needed me for something. It was truly quite important that I drop everything and go. I knew this. Still, I was on my way to the gym… I knew the right answer, Yes, I will be right there. I had a little internal battle though, over the fact that I was not going to get to do exactly what I wanted to do. I am terminally selfish. I always want to do what I want to do.
Most of us can identify with this. We insist that we have the right to pursue our needs above all. This attitude spills over into our relationship with our spouse. We feel that we entered marriage to fulfill ourselves and thus, our spouse is expected to meet our needs. The marriage relationship becomes about getting what we want. I am not getting what I expected out of this…
Paul, in today’s passage turned this thinking on its head, saying that I am not to pursue my own interests in marriage. Rather, I am to pursue the interests of my spouse. Likewise, she is to pursue mine. The passage is referring to sex, but it applies to the marriage relationship in general. Neither of us are to pursue our own needs, but rather, we are to pursue the needs of each other.
This is a foreign concept. As a child, I clearly remember thinking that one day I would be the boss. I disliked the status of childhood where someone else was in charge. One day, I will make my own decisions. Even if they are bad decisions, they will still be my mine. I will be the boss of me…
That turned out to be true. I followed me and I made bad decisions. In my addiction, I nearly lost my wife. My marriage was taken to the brink because I put my desires above hers. In my worst destruction, she felt that I could not love her and use drugs. I insisted I could. She paid for my selfishness and stupidity.
I am no marriage counselor, but it seems people usually wreck their marriages in pursuit of their own desires. What would it look like if we worked to meet our spouse’s needs over our own? What if our spouses did the same?
This is not about my wife being my servant and it is not about me using this verse to subjugate her will. If I ask my wife to read this passage to manipulate her into doing what I want, then I am completely missing Paul’s point. This passage is about me choosing to be a servant.
This is not easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it. Sacrificing my own interests is in opposition to my very nature. This takes daily effort and it takes two. My responsibility though, is not to make my wife do this. My responsibility is to daily choose to put my wife’s interests ahead of my own.
My responsibility is to skip the gym and have a good attitude about it. I’m not sure I got the attitude exactly right, but I did skip the gym.