Husbands, love your wives, as Christ…cleansed her…so that he might present [her]…without spot or wrinkle or any such thing…ESV Ephesians 5:25-27
Increasingly God convicts me of the my responsibility to shape my wife’s character. He entrusted a wonderful woman to me, and while I am to love and cherish her, I am also called to join God in bringing out the gifts He has entrusted me wife. While this sounds romantic and wonderful, it can be challenging, especially when God has gifted her differently than I expected. Part of my calling to love her includes discovering God’s call on her life and helping her achieve that.
My wife is unique from every other woman. Like most mothers, God gave her a mother’s heart, but He also gave her a passion for those without a mother. He has given her leadership gifts and a passion to connect with women who are struggling in their marriages and homes. He has given her a deep and abiding relationship with Himself–one that requires extensive time journaling each day. In many ways, developing her God-given gifts has required me to change how I love my wife. I do more of the home schooling to free her to go to coffee with women she cares about. We are pursuing adoptions together rather than have more biological children. I watch the kids so she can lead women’s retreats (and leave a day early to attend training events). I watch her go to her grandmas, leaving me with dirty dishes, dirty laundry, groceries to buy and a house to clean–all as I prepare to leave on my own mission trip.
The point of this post is not to toot my own horn. Making these adjustments has been, and continues to be, hard at times. My spiritual formation involves embracing God’s spiritual formation of my wife and realizing it may be different from God’s plan for my mom, for your wife, for every other woman in the world. Joining God in bringing out all He designed my wife to do involves letting go of my expectations and prayerfully embracing His ideas. On a certain level this is the point of all spiritual friendships, but especially the point of marriage. May we bring out God’s design in our spouse, no matter how challenging it may be.