One night, when we were yet to be engaged, Silas and I were sharing homemade chocolate lava cake with close friends.
His cousin’s wife, Laura, had truly outdone herself this time – a delicious treat dusted with powdered sugar and adorned with raspberries.
Don’t get me wrong, chocolate cake is good. But I was zoned in on the best part: the gooey center.
It was just as if I was eating a jelly doughnut. You know, the kind with the white frosting and the raspberry middle. I eat the edges of those in haste just so I can slowly savor the very middle with the filling.
I was on a mission to find the treasure of this cake, and at the first sign of chocolate oozing, I jumped at the opportunity. I promptly took my fork, made a perfect square, and popped the entire middle in my mouth, before Silas could even notice any evidence of the cake’s texture change.
Unfortunately, Jonathan and Laura caught me.
They burst into laughter as the “lava” melted in my mouth.
“You didn’t even let Silas taste the best part!” Jonathan wailed, in pain for his best friend’s loss.
A twinge of guilt set in as I tried to explain myself, but I was unsuccessful at dodging the lighthearted jokes on behalf of my selfishness.
Give, or Take?
My husband is oh so very gracious with me.
He likes his fair share of desserts, but would gladly give me more than he takes for himself.
Silas not only listens to my needs but takes action on providing them.
“I think my love language has changed from touch to words of affirmation,” I announced to him after a few weeks of marriage. He lovingly tries his best to communicate his love to me through words when prompted, even though thinking of the right words to say require more work than holding my hand.
However, I noticed something was off recently in our marriage.
I felt more distant from my husband.
I was struggling to receive his love, so I kept pressuring him to give me more in the ways I thought I would finally receive it best.
I would ask, instruct, and finally demand my husband to give me more – all under the intentions of trying to guide him on how to love me.
It didn’t work, which made me press on more until he finally exposed my selfishness.
I thought I was pretty good about catching this myself. But, it turned out my selfish dry-spell wasn’t due to there not being an issue in my heart, but rather because I was needing my husband to check that blind spot for me.
Having your sin pointed out is always an uncomfortable experience, and can often lead to bitterness, anger, or in my case, shame.
This is when having a godly husband is crucially important.
We can either hide away in our bitterness, anger, or shame – or we can be pointed to the cross.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV)
My selfishness is covered by the blood of Jesus.
I don’t have to be the perfect wife because my husband has the Perfect Savior.
Loving Like Christ
It turns out I don’t receive love very well when I make that my ultimate goal.
When I’m centered around my needs, and not focused on making my husband feel loved, then I’m using all of my energy to express and build up expectations (that will fail me).
We would be foolish to take advice on how to love properly from anyone besides Love Himself:
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ESV)
If the Lord was more concerned with giving love than receiving it, we as his followers must align our concerns with his.
Is God lacking in love because he gave it to us first? The truth is quite the contrary – in fact, if God hadn’t loved us first he would’ve never received any love from us at all. Because of his sacrificial style of loving, his love was able to be multiplied.
The same happens in marriage: when the husband makes it his mission to make his wife feel loved, she will respond in love and respect.
And vice versa.
We as wives must not take advantage of godly husbands treating us well. We cannot abandon the call of Christ to love everyone the way he loves us – we are not above our Lord, we are not above our husband.
What Would the World Look Like?
What would happen if we loved like Christ – if we were more concerned with giving love than receiving it?
Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. (Romans 12:10-11, CSB)
We could reach out for new friendships without the fear of rejection.
We’d feel closer to the God we worship, instead of feeling distant and bitter due to our focus on our own wants.
We would have love in our marriage stronger than unmet expectations.
I’m convinced that we all – both the giver and the receiver – would feel more loved and less lonely.
We’d be less concerned with what we’re lacking, and more grateful for love multiplied and returned to us. We’d give more love, which is the main goal, but we’d also open ourselves up to receiving more love, too.
And we’d be more pleasant to share desserts with.