Stop and take the picture!

Date nights are a very rare commodity to a couple that has small children. In keeping a small child, you have to consider the sheer exhaustion factor when it comes to grandparents. I’m the kind that doesn’t ask for help much, and dropping my little tornado off on anyone is something that gives me a deep degree of hesitation. To be a good husband, you have to spend as much time with your spouse as you do your child. If you aren’t taking time away with your spouse, then you are a doing a disservice to them and your marriage.

My brother Chris talked Monday about giving your wife some time on her own. I totally agree with that. I also challenge you to take time together, just the two of you. I had a good fortune (and a good Nana) to have a date night with my wife last weekend. My wife has always been about the moment, about spending the time together. We went to an early dinner in her college town and then drove back home. On the way home, there was a beautiful sunset. The sky was the most triumphant color of gold that I have ever seen. The Author of Life was certainly putting on a show. My beautiful bride looks at me and says, we should take a picture.

At the time she said this, I was doing around 75 down a major highway in my state. The logical side of me says, “Are you nuts? We’ll get run over.” I didn’t say it, but my body language was enough for her. She was upset, not because I didn’t want to stop, but because I didn’t prioritize time with her. I didn’t value the moment with her.

One Million Dads is based on Ephesians 5. Many of our writings end up pointing back to that chapter. Why? It’s the best marriage advice that one can get. Ephesians 5:25 is what guides my own marriage: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Give yourself up for her. That’s a hard thing for a man to do. Give up himself to be a part of a greater unit. Many failed marriages come down to the fact that individuality was more important than marriage.

As someone who strives to be a good husband, I had a few minutes to think about my response. My wife wanted to celebrate our relationship, free from the bondage of parenthood for even a second. To remember a time when it was just us and our love for each other.

So, what did I do? If I believe in the Ephesians 5 approach to marriage, then my actions have to reflect that. I have to sacrifice the parts of me, even the rational, analytical side of me that focuses more on the end result than the journey. I have to not see only the highway and the fast moving cars, I have to see my bride, and just the same as the day I married her. The one my heart loves. Then, I have to see her as Christ sees the Church. What would Christ do in the same situation?

Christ, who gave up His entire life for the church, is my guide in life and in marriage. Would He refuse a request of the one He loves? Calvary tells us that He answered every request, even one that required His life, with “yes.”

I slowed down and pulled off on a small hill on the side of a major highway in North Mississippi. I let her get her hair straight while hundreds of vehicles flew by, no doubt wondering what these people were doing on the side of the highway. Their thoughts mattered naught to me in that moment. My thoughts were, on pleasing my bride, to saying yes to her request.

Life brings with it many challenges. That is one of the main blessings of marriage is to have someone who you are spiritually joined with to help you shoulder the load. Our spouse should never be someone we take for granted. It is God who ordained that they be our helpmate. Most of us, scratch that, all of us married way outside our league.

Though life can become overwhelming at times, it’s important to tell our “one” that she still is. That we would not only sacrifice our life for her, but we would sacrifice ourselves for her.

Slow down. Tell her you love her. Get a babysitter and blow some money on an expensive dinner. Send her some flowers because it’s Wednesday. Pull over on the side of the road and take a picture at sunset. Not because it makes sense, but because she is worth it.

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10

Jim Shempert

Editor, One Million Dads
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