[thrive_progress_bar count=”1″ label0=”Course Progress” percentage0=”10″ color0=”blue”]
[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Chapter Summary”]Love is the core of a lasting marriage. Leadership is the mechanism by which you, as the husband, show your love for your wife. When you’re not a good leader, it’s because you don’t love your wife.[/thrive_text_block]
Regardless of your beliefs, you’ve probably heard the iconic passage about love from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. This passage is the go-to reading for almost every wedding ceremony, even when the wedding isn’t in a church, because it speaks so truly to the heart of what love means:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”
It’s an obvious thing to say, but love is the single most important part of a healthy marriage. Most men understand the importance of love, but they may not know what love should look like between a man and woman.
How do you actually implement and carry out this kind of love in your marriage? That’s what we’re going to be talking about in this chapter.
Love Inside a Marriage Is…
Before we talk about how to bring true love to your marriage, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. When I say “love”, there are certain attributes that go along with it. Inside a marriage, love should be:
It’s kind of cliché, but it’s really the reason that marriage is such a beautiful relationship.
A healthy marriage is built on unconditional love. It’s about one person accepting another person completely as they are. It’s about two people saying to each other, “I will love you no matter what until the day we die. From now on, no matter where you go or what you do, I will love you.”
Unconditional love is what makes forgiveness possible. Unconditional love is what enables a marriage to last forever.
Mutual love is what makes marriage the definition of freedom.
Mutual, unconditional love frees you to be the man you were meant to be. It allows you to say, “I already know I’m loved, therefore I am free to make sure my wife knows she’s loved too.” You could call it a Mutual Love Matrix. Here’s what it looks like:
Here’s what’s happening in the diagram above: When you love your wife, you’ll make her life better, which in turn assures her that she’s loved. Then when she knows she’s loved, she’ll love you more, and because she loves you more she’ll naturally prioritize making your life better, which assures YOU that you’re loved, which restarts the cycle. The end result is you both make each other’s life better.
Mutual love in marriage should create an internal web where both spouses are actively trying to make the other person feel loved. This Mutual Love Matrix is what you’re working towards. This concept was something that was inspired from a chapter in Jon Piper’s book, The Dangerous Duty of Delight. Great read.
Sacrificial love means that when push comes to shove, you’re willing to lay your life on the line for your wife. It means you’d literally take a bullet for her.
However, since most of us won’t be in a position to take a bullet for our wives anytime soon (hopefully), we need a more practical application of sacrificial love. Basically, when you love your wife as you should, you’ll always prioritize your wife’s needs above your own.
Makes sense, right?
Where this gets complicated is when your wife is being overly demanding. Sacrificial love is vital to a healthy marriage, but what if your wife doesn’t love you the same way that you love her?
What’s going to happen then?
Every situation is different, but many times she’ll take advantage of you. She’ll make you into her footstool. She’ll take and take and take some more until you’re empty and out of stuff to give.
This is why love must be tempered with leadership. When you let the sacrificial nature of love run rampant, when you make sacrifices for the sole reason that you want her to think that you’re a good husband, you risk becoming desperate. Sacrifices should be untainted by ulterior motives; they are only made with love in mind. But we’ll talk more about that later in the course.
Marital love has a strong chin. It can take a punch. It always gets back up after it’s been knocked down.
The love you feel for your wife and that she feels for you should be highly resistant to all of the little problems that come from daily life.
The persistence of love is especially important when your marriage is on the rocks…
If you’re the only one putting real work into the marriage, you have to make your love even more persistent than normal. Your love has to be unbreakable, unshakeable, unwavering. Your love needs to be like Rocky – you take a punch, take another punch, and take another punch, and then get back up to take some more. Through it all, you’ve got your eye on the prize (a happy marriage), and you won’t quit until you get there.
Ultimately, love should make you joyful.
This isn’t the kind of superficial happiness that only shows face when the sun is shining in your life… Marital love should make you joyful on a soul-level. Marital love should make you content; it should give you satisfaction; it should be the thing you prize most in this world.
The love you feel for your wife and the love she feels for you are what you will cherish when you’re on your deathbed. In your last moments on earth, you’ll look at your wife and smile because you know she loves you, and that’s all you need to take with you out of this world.
It’s sort of a sad thing to think about, but that’s what I want from my marriage, and I know it’s what you want too. The love inside your marriage is one of the few things in life that truly MATTERS. At the end of your days when you look back on your life, the love you feel for your wife and that she feels for you should be what gives you joy.
Like many things in life, love can only move in two directions. It can either increase or it can decrease; it can never stay stagnant.
Let me say that one more time, just to make sure you get it:
Love can only move in two directions – it can either grow or decay. If it’s not one, it’s the other.
This means if you can’t say with confidence that you love your wife more than you loved her a month ago, a year ago or ten years ago, then that doesn’t mean you love her the same… It means you love her less!
This goes for your wife too. If your wife doesn’t love you MORE than she did before all the problems started, then she loves you less.
Yes, but this point is crucial to understand because it demonstrates why marriages have trajectory. When a marriage is healthy, love grows. When a marriage is unhealthy, love decays. The more that love grows, the easier it is to keep growing. The more that love decays, the easier it is to keep decaying. This is why the problems you’re facing in your marriage right now didn’t appear overnight – they’re the result of love decaying over time.
What Does Love Have to Do With Leadership?
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]Think of it like this: If your marriage is like a car, love is the engine and leadership is the fuel. Without an engine, a car isn’t really a car. Without love, your marriage isn’t really a marriage. But even if you have an engine, you can’t use it without fuel. Without leadership, you can’t get the benefits of love. When you have both, though, that’s when you can go anywhere. [/thrive_text_block]
You’re probably starting to see where all these problems in your marriage have been coming from. Even though I know you love your wife and you know you love your wife, if you’re not a good leader, then guess what? Your wife doesn’t know you love your wife.If love is really so important, then why did I make such a big deal about leadership in chapter 1? To put it simply, leadership is how you show love to your wife.
When you neglect your duties as the leader of the marriage, you’re basically saying to your wife, “I don’t care enough about you to continue putting work into this marriage. I locked you down, I got the girl, now I’m just going to coast.” On the other hand, when you do put in the effort to lead the marriage, you demonstrate your love for your wife in a way she finds both attractive and meaningful.
Love Makes Servant-Leadership Possible
The most important lesson to take away from this chapter is that being a leader is NOT about masculinity. At its core, it’s not even about attraction.
Being a leader is ultimately about loving your wife.
So, let me ask you this question: Do you love your wife?
If so, use that love, because love will give you superpowers. I mean it. It really will!
Love will give you superhuman patience and an unshakeable will to persevere. Love will give you strength that you didn’t know you had.
Love will make everything worth it… All the time you’re spending working through this course, all the time before now you’ve spent worrying about your marriage, and all the time after you’re done reading this course that you’ll spend putting it into practice… It’ll all be worth it when you can look in the mirror and see a leader. It’ll be worth it for your wife too.
- Let love be your fuel.
- Let love be your motivation to change.
- Let love be your goal.
- Let love be your route to forgiveness.
If you can do those things, then in the next chapter we’re going to learn how to harness your love for your wife into concrete, focused action.
[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Key Takeaways from Chapter 2″]
Even though it’s obvious, we need to say it: love is the foundation of a healthy, happy and lasting marriage.
Love inside a marriage must be…
Love is what makes marriage rewarding. Love offers all the things that a marriage is meant to be. Love sets you free, gives you confidence, joy and contentment.
The Mutual Love Matrix goes like this:
- You love your wife.
- Because you love her, you do things that make her life better.
- This assures her that she’s loved, which allows her to love you more.
- Because she loves you, she’ll naturally do things that make your life better.
- This assures you that you’re loved, which allows you to love your wife more.
- The end result is that mutual love makes both of your lives better.
Important: being a good leader is ultimately about loving your wife. It’s how you show your love to your wife.
[thrive_link color=’blue’ link=’https://inside.husbandhelphaven.com/chapter-3-focus-on-what-you-can-control/’ target=’_self’ size=’big’ align=’aligncenter’]Go to Chapter 3. Focus on What You Can Control[/thrive_link]