I know I am going to date myself, but at one point in time I was a young starry-eyed romantic. At 14, 15, and 16 years old I would stay up listening to the “soft rock” station so as to be able to tape-record the love songs that I liked (Yes, that is the way we once had to record songs . . . on a blank cassette tape, before there was online file sharing). One of my favorite songs was by the early 90’s Canadian star, Bryan Adams. The song’s title was “Everything I do, I do it for you.” Some of my favorite lyrics, “Yeah, I would fight for you. I’d lie for you. Walk the wire for you. Yeah, I’d die for you. You know it’s true. Everything I do. I do it for you.” As a teenage boy, there didn’t seem to be anything more romantic than a song like this. Yet, now as a married man, and having a much more sensible idea of romance I ask myself, and to those reading this, “are you really willing to die for your spouse?” Now that the feelings of romance are much less than they might have been before. How about now that life seems to just be routine? Are you stilling willing to say words like the above mentioned with as much enthusiasm as a young teenage romantic? If you truly have a Christ-centered marriage, I would hope the answer would be yes . . . though not in the same way as you would have as a freshman in high school.
I have heard it said, “It is harder to live as a martyr than to die as one.” I believe the same is true when we think about our marriages as well. A one time major sacrifice can be easier than a life filled with little ones. So, my question is, “Are you willing to die for your spouse daily?”
Dying According to the Scriptures
Our daily Christian life is to be one filled with dying to oneself (Matthew 16:24-26). It is to be one about putting others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3). It is about doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). As we look to Christ, and worship him, this is the task that he assigns us to. In other words, Christianity is not a self-centered religion. It is not a religion of romance. It is to be Christ-centered, which leads us to have a love for others. Dying to oneself is to be the daily habit of the Christian. Are you willing to die daily for your wife’s needs? Are you willing to put her desires before your own? If we truly desire to keep the Lord’s commands there is no better place to start than with the one you made a covenant with. Are you dying for your wife according to scripture?
Dying as Christ Died
You are likely aware of Ephesians 5 where Paul speaks of a Christian marriage in terms of the covenant between Christ and the Church. Husbands are told to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” We don’t see this sacrificial covenant love through the eyes of a Greco-Roman romanticized understanding of love. No, we understand and see this sacrifice that was filled with blood and wrath. It was a love that led to a substitutionary death and Paul says that this is how we as men are to love our wives. So men I ask you, “Are you willing to die for your wives?” Christ died for his bride when his bride deserved to die. If this was some Hollywood tale it would have made for a great romantic movie. However, this is not a Hollywood tale. This is the truth about a holy God sending his holy son to die for an unholy bride which he in turns makes holy. Christ didn’t die for her out of a desire to be romantic instead he died for her in order to make her righteous.
Romance is a wonderful thing. If I am honest, I would say that I still enjoy going back from time to time and listening to some of those sappy romantic songs from my youth. They are good for nostalgia and date nights with my wife. However, when I hear that old Canadian pop-star sing “Everything I do, I do it for you” it speaks to me in a much different way today. After being married for 12 years I hear, “Am I willing to die to my desires to have a little free time in order to be there for her? Am I willing to free her to go to Bible study on Saturday while I watch our 7 kids? Am I willing to lose sleep to take care of our sick 2-year-old so she can catch up on some sleep?” My understanding of dying for her has changed a lot over the past 12 years. I can safely say that I love my bride more today than I did the day we said our vows. I really had no clue what being willing to die for her meant back then. It looks much different now. Yet, when I look to the Lord and His Word I start to see it a little better as each year passes.
Husbands, were you once a romantic but now that your wedding day is over a decade or a quarter century ago have you lost that loving feeling? If you were once willing to hang the moon, climb the highest mountain, swim the widest ocean, or even die for your love back then, are you still willing to die for her today? I would encourage you to look to the scriptures and to Christ to see what this looks like in the mundanity of life for your wife. Christ died for his bride, and as long as we live we should be willing to die for ours as well.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Adam B. Burrell