Thankfully Christ never gives us what we deserve. Every single human ever born is a fallen sinner. Christ is the only exception. Rather than giving us what we deserve, punishment and death, He offers eternal life, and every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. One of the greatest blessings Christ gives is marriage. Though, it is truly a blessing, it is not easy. God brings together two people who are sinful, and joins them as one flesh. There could not be a more accurate portrayal of Proverbs 27:17
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Just as we might imagine, when iron is sharpened by iron, sparks will fly. When God joins us together with our spouse we, and they, will have some rough edges. One of the primary purposes of marriage is mutual sanctification. This is the process where we are transformed throughout our lives into the image of Christ. Because we have been joined to another fallen creature to continue this spiritual metamorphosis, it is sometimes painful and frustrating. We may have areas where we seem to be lagging behind and our husbands are speeding toward the finish line, and at times it may seem like we are dragging them in tow. Frequently where we are weak they are strong and vice versa. There is no doubt however, that growing in godliness as husband and wife is joyful and encouraging. We spur one another on with love as we grow in grace, and nothing on this earth can really compare.
One thing is certain, no one can see the sin of your husband more clearly than you. We each have pockets of sin, and in marriage killing sin frequently is a joint effort. Because our husbands are sinners, they do not always think, act, or respond in a way that we agree with. Likewise, because we are also sinners we can be tempted to respond in kind when we our husbands have done something that has left us feeling disappointed or dissatisfied. It is important that we do not live out our marriages using the principle of equivalent retaliation. This is when you love him or treat him well based off of your estimation of his performances. He does well and pleases you, you treat him well and please him. Tit for tat. He behaves poorly or doesn’t perform his duties properly, and you punish him by being withholding of your love and kindness.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Treating your husband well is based not in your temporal experiential reality. Honoring your husband and doing him good all the days of your life is based off of Christ in you. You are to be forgiving, remembering that Christ forgave you. You are to be kind because Christ has dispensed His unmerited favor on you. He has not given you grace because you performed well enough at some point in your life. He has given you grace because He loves you and has purchased you, a sinner, for Himself. There is not one day that you have ever loved God as you should, with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Despite that He has redeemed you and called you by name. Even though your sins have been as scarlet, He has cleansed you and made you as white as snow.
You may say, it’s really hard to treat my husband well when he has…(fill in the blank), or it would be easier to treat my husband well if he acted more like Christ instead of….(fill in the blank). You are to love your husband and treat him well not based off of any good or bad he may have done. You treat you husband well and act as a ‘helper’ to his needs based off of your love for God, and how you would treat Christ whom your husband represents.
When you have opportunities to feel that you have not been treated well, remember that God is sovereign over even the minutia in our lives. Every single thing that comes to pass is for our good and His glory. To have a marriage that honors the Lord Jesus Christ, we must lay down our lives as Christ did for us. We must put aside our own gain and desires, die to our sin and die to our selves so that we may live for Christ. As we do this we will naturally seek to grow in Christ, which grows our love for our husbands and our marriages.