He gave Himself up for her, will I?

At the beginning of this year I decided that for me 2011 should be a year committed to essentials. I have given this some thought at times but, as is human nature, it really isn’t until things start getting a bit unbalanced that I have paused to consider whether I am on track with what I should be doing as opposed to what I have actually been doing. And then there is all that I have not been doing, such as:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
(Ephesians 5:25 ESV)

When I think about Christ loving the church and giving Himself up for her, I am reminded of Philippians 2:5-8, which in turn reminds me of the immediately preceeding verses:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)

Pulling this together, I need to love my wife as Christ loved the church, which means serving her and considering her needs more than my own interests. A good example of considering her needs would be to not promptly fall asleep after coming home from work, leaving her to get three children ready for bed alone when she is already exhausted and I know it.

Over the last couple of months we have been attempting to adjust to me doing shift work, which has meant a bit of an upheaval to our usually quite routine days. As part of this there are now days when I am at work all evening and asleep in the morning so am not available to help at either of these busy parts of the day for families. This puts a huge load upon my wife, especially if I do nothing to reduce the other work she has to get done to keep our home running. On the surface it seems easy to come home from work tired and just want to rest, but I am not the only tired person – the kids are so they are cranky, my wife is so she has a thumping headache and twenty things to get done at once. Am I now going to simply have a rest myself while someone I love is being drained utterly empty?

The answer should be obvious, unfortunately I don’t always think things through like this before being selfish and unloving.

Gifts I have noticed this week (251 – 261):

251) Problems which cause me to consider what I believe and why.
252) Physical labour on a sunny day (Ecclesiastes 3:13).
253) A shed slowly filling up with cut firewood and pine cones.
254) Neighbours who at least have good taste in what music they play loudly.
255) A lovely paediatrician who genuinely likes children.
256) Gentle reminder from a friend, that I need to encourage a brother.
257) Figuring out that the computer can do a tedious task for me.
258) Love, which causes me to want to make her a cup of tea and give her the nicest cheese roll.
259) The depth of Scripture (Mark 12:24).
260) Cold tea because I fell asleep in the sun before drinking it.
261) The Third Strand in our marriage (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

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