That’s The Gig, Man

Posted on February 7, 2018


Perhaps you were caught up in the moment and did not realize what you were committing to.  I was not at your wedding, but based upon the service of marriage I found in the hymnal, it probably went something like this.  The pastor turned to you and said, “Scott will you have Carol to be your wife, to live together in holy marriage?  Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”  (Okay, hopefully he or she used your names, but the rest is somewhat on target.)  Since you ended up married, you must have answered in the affirmative.

Later in the service, you turned to your wife and said, “I, _____, take you, ____, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.  This is my solemn vow.”

That’s about how it went, right?  Not a lot of caveats and escape clauses in that.  Not a lot of “as long as I still feel like it,” or “as long as you are always sweet to me” to be found there.

I get it.  It seemed like a pretty easy promise at the time.  Things were good.  It didn’t feel like I was always in trouble.  The goal posts did not seem to be moving on me.  It was easier to be loving when I was feeling loving.

Will you love her?  This is the first place you might have gotten tripped up.  In the New Testament when husbands are instructed to love their wives, the word for love in the original Greek was agape.  Essentially, this is an unmerited, self-giving love.  The standard we are given is to love her as Christ loved the church.  That’s a tall order.  You will not pull it off, but that should be the target.  As my former pastor oft observed, love is not something you feel, but something you do.

Will you comfort her?  You promised.  If she is feeling insecure about your love, you don’t get to just dismiss that as her problem.  If she needs comfort (which includes reassurance of your love and care for her), you promised to provide it.  Her fears could have nothing to do with you.  Maybe her father left the family when she was growing up.  Maybe a man in a previous relationship cheated on her.  Even if it has nothing to do with you, you still have a promise to keep.

Will you honor her?  This is to hold in high regard, to show a courteous regard for.  As with love, the way you treat her and speak to her should convey your high regard for her.  If you were on trial for honoring your wife, hopefully, there would be enough evidence to convict you.

If she is not the wife she should be, there is no question but that you are impacted by it.  However, making her a great wife is not your mission.  Being a great husband is.

So what’s in it for you?  First, asking that question is inherently problematic.  It means you are still looking at this, not as a covenant and sacred calling, but as somehow quid pro quo.  Second, having said that, the benefits for you are massive.  I remember an old plaque at Farrell’s that read, “Treat your wife like a thoroughbred and you will never be married to a nag.”  If you successfully follow through on your promise to love and cherish her, your life will be better for it.  Living with a wife who feels loved and cherished is one of the greatest experiences we can have in this life.  I guarantee it, or your money back on this blog post.  Third, you can save a ton of money on therapy and/or attorneys (alimony, child support, separate households, etc.).

Still don’t believe me?  Bummer, man.  That’s the gig you signed up for.  Do it anyway.  You can find out I was right later.

Posted in: Love, Marriage