On Monday I had to have a wisdom tooth extracted. I have never had a procedure like that done at the dentist before, and I was nervous about it. I sat nervously in the waiting room until the hygienist called my name, and I followed her all the way to the back of the building, past all of the rooms where lucky people were just getting check ups and xrays, back to the rooms where the bad stuff goes down. I felt like I was being led to the electric chair. I could see the sympathetic looks that employees and patients were giving as I trudged past, headed toward what was sure to be my doom.
I settled into the chair, and the pink-scrub-wearing hygienist mercifully gave me the laughing gas, so I lay and listened to the echo-y sounds of activity happening in the next room. A teenaged boy was in the next chair over. He was also getting a healthy dose of laughing gas, and he kept saying, in a cracked and giddy voice, “My arms feel funny.” Some employees were trying to keep him from texting girls in his current state.
Finally the dentist came into my room and did his work. It was unpleasant, but painless. I can’t help but feel like I did some of my best thinking while I was in the chair, high on laughing gas. I probably had some of my greatest ideas ever, but somehow all I can remember is the teenager repeating, “My arms feel funny,” while a dental hygienist laughed at him.
While in the chair I did do some thinking about romance in marriage. I probably had all of the world’s romance problems figured out. If only I could recall my solutions. I have had some interesting email conversations, though. with husbands who were either appalled or confused by my Valentine’s Day post. It seems that this is a touchy subject for men and women alike, since even the Google searches that brought people to my blog this weekend were things like:
My husband never acknowledges Valentine’s Day
How do I romance my wife on Valentine’s Day
My wife isn’t interested in sex on Valentine’s Day
Why does my wife get mad on Valentine’s Day
I think that I felt encouraged by the fact that the guys cared enough to ask Google about it. But, what I’ve been hearing from readers of my blog are two main things. The guys are saying they resent being forced to romance their wives. The girls are saying their husbands are clueless about their thoughts and feelings.
And, with romance, like all things, the best solution to our problems can actually be found in the Bible.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33
To the Christian men, I would say what I emailed to one husband today: Have patience with your wife, and just remember that God calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Jesus holds no good gifts back from us, so you are doing best when you err on the side of spoiling your wife rather than letting pride hold you back from showering her with love in whatever form that she needs it.
To the Christian women, I would say: Have patience with your husband. He cannot understand what you haven’t communicated to him. Don’t tell him one thing when you want another. God calls wives to submit ourselves to our husbands, which DOES NOT mean that we are subservient or that we have to just accept it when we are mistreated or misunderstood. But, it does mean that we are to be open and honest, not manipulative or cold, so that or husbands understand the best way to love us.
Above all, we married people should communicate. We must talk about our expectations and then genuinely try to love each other in the ways that specifically speak to our spouse. The more we communicate, the better we understand each other and the more equipped we are to express the real love that is in our hearts.
One last word to any man or woman who felt disappointed by the outcome of their Valentine’s Day. We all want to feel loved and adored by our husband or wife. But, they are not the source of true joy, and we can’t expect them to bear the weight of making us feel our worth. Only God can fill that role. Turn to Him and allow His comfort and love to soothe your heart. Pray for your marriage and for your spouse. Love them well even when it’s hard. And, love God more.