“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
After fourteen years of marriage, I learned something new about my wife yesterday while having a casual conversation: She hates changing the sheets.
In my doctoral research, I also learned something about men: when we have our masculine identities threatened we are less likely to do domestic chores around the house.
Therefore, you can imagine the vicious cycle this can create in a marriage. Men feel threatened, we become passive, the wife feels unloved, so she pushes forward wondering “Why don’t you love me?” So we become even more threatened, and disengage even more. Round-and-round it goes leaving our marriages exhausted, resentful, confused and trapped.
Which is when I remembered the training I had received running Young Life retreats at Windy Gap. It wasn’t how to share the gospel with a student, how to craft a hilarious skit, or how to launch a student off of the blob. They taught us how to make bunk beds with hospital corners.
The very thing my wife articulated, God had formed me through the refiner’s fire to do. The most challenging time during a weekend retreat was convincing a cabin full of boys (who were ready to go home and grab the seat on the bus by the cute girl) that they needed to stay in their cabins and make the beds for the next set of students.
In my youth, I was trained and equipped with the skill that my wife needed to feel loved.
Those Sunday afternoons at Windy Gap teaching students to make hospital corners, God intended for me to use this very morning as an expression of love to my wife.
Thankfully, there was no fight or hard feelings that prompted me to serve my wife on this day. I simply heard the dryer buzz and saw an opportunity to love her in a simple way. Because I had gotten up to draw on His love for me this morning and having received the fellowship of F3, I was better prepared to serve her. For the confidence found in Christ and the affirmation of friends will confirm a man’s sense of himself. Which, as the research showed, means that also the opposite is true. When a man has a strong understanding of who he is then he is better prepared and more willing to roll up his sleeves and serve his wife, family and community.
So, in what ways has God equipped you to stop the vicious cycle and serve your spouse? When was the last time you used that training?
Who are you looking to in order to build your confidence (read Galatians 1:10)?
BTW-by blogging this and having Lindsay edit it, it means I fully expect you to stop next week and ask me, “So Wes did you make the beds again?”