"Love Makes Sacrifices"
"He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers"
(1 John 3:16)
Do: Listen and give understanding. Sometimes your wife needs to "vent". She needs to talk through a situation, maybe even complain a bit. Your tendency is to want to fix it, and to become frustrated if you can't because of whatever factor. This can be complicated by misunderstandings caused by the factor, too, since situations can change throughout a day. But words of affirmation and encouragement are always appropriate and may be exactly what is needed to help your wife through a tough spot.
Don't: Make comparisons. If your wife has a need, don't say "You think you have it bad! Well, I have to ________________." This doesn't help. Go back to the "do" list and listen with understanding or help your wife to get help. Self-pity does not translate well in answer to what your wife is trying to communicate to you. Accuse. The biting words, "You wouldn't have this problem if only you had done what I said!" or "You could fix this if you would only do ____________." Your concern and your initiative will help so much more than your criticism. Love listens, love shows compassion, and love helps.
Must: Say "How can I help?" These are words of balm to a troubled soul. Sometimes the answer is "just listen". Sometimes it is, "What I really need is ___________." Your answer may need to be, "I can't do that from what you are asking, but I can do ___________. (and find an answer for her) Would that help?" People are not so interested in what you can't do as they are in what you can do. Ask - and then step out in fulfillment of that need. That's what love does.
Say "How can I pray for you?" Then do it. If you're on the phone, pray over the phone. Pray over email. Pray in person. Write or say, "Here's how I'm praying for you." Or "Here's the scripture I'm praying for you." Then remember to follow up. If you know that your wife has been praying for you in a situation, make sure you ask how that is going. Or report back with, "You remember that we prayed for _______?" "Well, here's how God answered our prayer: ____________."
Life is tough. Marriage is tough. You and your wife are not enemies ... you are willing to lay down your lives for your wife. That's love.
Identify the one greatest need in your wife's life right now. Pray for wisdom in how you can help, and then approach her using these "dos", "don'ts" and "musts".
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' ... Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. (2 Corinthians 12:15)
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16)
"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
(2 Timothy 2:2)
When Jesus commanded us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), He was in effect telling us to make certain that what He has placed in each one of us doesn't die with us. Ask yourself today, "What am I doing to ensure that I am on this journey and leaving a legacy of righteousness and the purposes of God? How can I more effectively leave a spiritual heritage for my wife and especially my children after me?" Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.
Prayer: Father, teach me to number my days, that I may make the most of the time that You have given me. Let my family live devoted, single-minded lives as we go on this journey together. All glory be to You. In Christ's name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Romans 12:1-8 ... It is easy to become consumed with our own circumstances. Take the time to focus on your wife in need today. Pray for her and ask God for a tangible way that He can use you to assist her. Then, take action in faith as God leads you.