I think often times the understanding of the role our wives play in our lives is not seen accurately. As men of God, we have cut a covenant with Him, not on behalf of our gifting or ministry or profession; we have cut covenant with God on behalf of our wives. Our wives are our highest priority under God. We could be the greatest, most talented, and/or most successful in regard to business or personal life or ministry or hobbies, but if we fail in our ministry to our wives, we are violating our covenant with God. We may not like it, and it may hurt us to have to shelve what we are passionate about for a time, but the covenant we cut with God demands our focus to be on our wives.
What do I mean by that? I think most of us are passion, visionary, driven people. Likely, we are also ministry minded. As such, we are driven by this passion to do what God has called us to do. No matter what function or gift or talent or skill or whatever He has called us to operate in, we have something we want to accomplish, and likely it is for the Kingdom’s sake.
I know we can think that our ministry or gift or calling can feel like it should be on the same level in our priority list as God because it is from and for Him, but that’s not the case. Before ministry, before work, before church, before hobbies, before anything else; there is our wives. And above her is God. Not what we can do for Him or through Him—just Him.
Keeping this in mind, sometimes we are at odds, trying to decide between the passion we have to serve God—to operate in our gifting— and the passion we have (or should have) for our wives. This can sometimes bring tension, confusion, friction, and even division. But God is a God of unity.
In the Book of Ephesians, there is an interesting statement; “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” There is great significance in this one command that I think many people likely miss. How much did Jesus love the Church? The Bible paints the picture that the Church is His bride. As such, you see the entirety of His life was a representative of His pursuit of her. He loved the Church and sought and defended her. He even died for her. I think the significance here isn’t that Jesus died for the Church but that Jesus died for His Bride. He did not die for His gifting or calling or ministry: He died for His Bride. This command in Ephesians wasn’t stating we should have the devotion to the Church that Jesus had, but that we would have the devotion for our bride that Jesus had for His Bride, which happened to be the Church.
God did not call us to die for our calling or gifting or talent. We cut covenant with Him for our wives. God did not cut covenant with us for our calling. It was a gift. There is a significant difference between the weight of responsibility surrounding a covenant compared to a gift.
Jesus’ life was an example to be followed. I don’t think anyone disputes that. However, we see everything He did in the light of His ministry. But I think the purpose wasn’t to see that He gave His life in its entirety to the ministry simply because He was called by God to do that. Rather, He gave His life in its entirety to His Bride, which happened to be the Church, and therefore seen as ministry.
As a result, so many people throughout history have devoted themselves to the ministry. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem lies in forsaking our first ministry; our wives. How many ministers and missionaries and men of God felt they were doing God’s will by devoting themselves to full-time ministry but in doing so sacrificed their families in the process? But what about I Timothy 3:5, which says “for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” This sobering verse challenges us as men to re-evaluate our priorities. We may have a passion for the Church and/or our calling, but it is secondary to our responsibility to our wives.
I do not bring this up to instigate condemnation. Perhaps this is simply a season to refocus and to rekindle the flame of love and passion for our wives. I do not know where you may find yourself within your marriage currently. Maybe it is perfectly fine. Maybe it is on the brink of destruction. Maybe visions and passions and ministry needed to be put on hold for a season, and that season is where you are at currently. No matter where we find ourselves at the moment, I can say that pain can be healed, trust can be restored, and, when the time is right, we may be able to tap into our other passions again. I believe there can be a balance between our wives and everything else. But our wives are always priority under God.