A young couple in the pew in front of me caught my attention. The mother held a curly-haired toddler on her hip. She danced with him to the worship music. His legs bounced like he was riding a bucking horse.
I wondered if he was the couple’s firstborn, one they’d waited a long time for, because she seemed entranced with him.
The father looked at the two of them often, but the mother didn’t acknowledge him. I’m sure the dad was proud his wife was a good mother, but I felt sad for him. He couldn’t compete because the mom saw only her son. She smiled and tickled and teased him between songs.
I wondered what her husband thought: I’m so glad she’s a good mother. Or I remember when she delighted in me.
She held the toddler on the same side as her husband so the little fellow was between his parents. After about fifteen or so minutes, she passed him off to her husband, but their son wanted his mother after only a few minutes. She rewarded him with a dazzling smile.
What if she’d put the child on the other hip so she’d be next to her husband? What if she’d made eye contact or whispered to her husband or leaned into his side? What if when he looked for that connection, he found her smile at him or her hand brushed his face?
Did she prefer being a mother over a wife? Her actions seemed to say that. Babies and young children naturally charm us so it’s true we don’t need to be told to adore our children. Their chubby cheeks and soft skin compel us. And those smiles that light up their face …
But the Bible tells wives to respect their husbands. Admire, esteem, defer to.
God reminds us of this, maybe because once we have children, we can forget. Likely because we can get so busy. But if love is proved by action, loving our husbands means showing him he is our first love. To demonstrate we value him in ways he understands, such as when we consider, prefer, include him.
There are everyday opportunities to show respect if we look.
But when we fail, we need our husbands to let us know. In the same way, when he forgets to show the love we need, we should remind him. Nicely. It’s our responsibility to the marriage to admit what we need from each other. Again, nicely.
Spouses are vulnerable to a co-worker’s attention when there is a lack of respect or love at home. We’re too busy. We’re exhausted. We take care of the children, the home. We’re in charge of the meals, shopping, the bills. Especially when both parents work outside the home.
It’s not just another item on your to-do list to nurture our marriage. It’s non-negotiable, something we just need to do. Because it matters.
Who’s first at your house?