Today, I am writing to you from Orlando, Florida. Spring Break is in full effect, and the weather is a long way off from the snow that happened in Indiana this past weekend, which we were fortunate enough to miss. Thanks, to you all, for taking that last punch of snow on our behalf. The Wasson family really appreciates your desire to take one for the team. Now, while we’re down here, we’ll do our best to bring the warmth and blue skies with us when we come home.
As we start to write these posts, we’re typically given several Bible verses to give us the material we need to get our thoughts in line with that of the message coming up this weekend, and to get our writing motors fired up and make us able to connect with God, and help the words become thoughts, and the thoughts become words. For this week, however, I was given just one verse. Normally that would add a fair amount of pressure to my creative spark, but with this topic, one is plenty.
With that, let me share with you this week’s verse. It comes to you from the book of Ephesians:
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
Ok, let’s be real. I think if we really want to try and help one another, help those around us, whether they believe, or not, we need to be real. We have to get beyond the surface level of relationships that feel safe, and we need to dive deeper, further, and faster. If we take the first plunge, with sincerity and hearts filled with desire to help, it will be typically be met with the deepening of the relationships we long to experience. So, in order for this to truly try and make an impact in someone’s life, I’m going to dive deep.
In my life, I have been a miserable husband. I have been the husband who was never at home, who was never engaged, and who was never “all-in”. In fact, I have done that twice. Both of those marriages, as you might expect, did not work. Divorce is one of the ugliest things I have ever gone through. I realize you might be thinking it must not be that bad, since I have done it twice, but I assure you…It. Is. It’s ugly on the husband and wife, the children, families, friends, and co-workers. It’s tough on everyone. Also, it is a gigantic waste of resources and time that the court systems should be using for far more important things. We could be using those resources for bringing people who are causing violence and drugs to be the headlines of today to justice, rather than who gets the electric teapot that neither of them have used since 1996.
So, now…as I am on marriage number 3, and knowing that 73% of 3rd marriages end in divorce, and knowing my past, it is pretty safe to assume that I would end up being in the 73 out of 100 failures, instead of the 27 successes, right?
Why? Because, I had never before put someone else ahead of myself. In Ephesians 5:25, it says to (paraphrased) love your wife as Christ loved the church. If that doesn’t set you back on your heels for a second, then read it again. Jesus, with everything He did, never once lived for Himself, first. He, in fact, put all of us first, throughout His entire ministry on earth. Some of you, who know me well, would not be surprised by my confidence in this marriage not being a statistic.
Natalie, my beautiful wife, is the most incredible woman I have ever met. She’s brilliant, sensitive, funny, ethical, calm, nurturing…and breathtaking. I met her before we joined the church…in fact I met her before we really knew what we believed, spiritually. Even before our involvement at WRCC, and our renewed dedication to following Jesus, I knew that she…and this relationship… were different. I know that the term “soul-mate” is thrown around a lot, but for me, she is that. I felt more complete with her in my life, than I ever had before. 4 years later it’s still incredible, in fact all of those feelings we had then, have grown stronger.
So…what happened? What is different? I now have a barometer of success in terms of how our relationship is going. When I make a mistake and screw something up, I can look back at the situation and run it through the filter: Did I act in a way that showed her love, like Christ loved the church? I’ll let you guess how many times the answer is, No.
I once thought submitting to my spouse was about giving up all of my own needs. Yet, I’ve learned…we’ve both learned, actually, that when we’re both submitting to each others needs daily, we’re more motivated to continue to put each other first. It’s a powerful and beautiful force that strengthens with each act of love.
When people ask us why we’re so happy, and is what you guys have real? We tell them yes, and then share a few tips that we’ve incorporated to make sure we always get back to the way it should be. We call them our Laws of Life, and we committed to them the day we were married. While I will spare you the details, I will list out the key themes for what we’ve dedicated to do, to make sure we’re submitting to each other…and living second.
5. We never do anything apart.
In our past, the distance that happens in marriages can…and has, ruined many marriages. Distance can lead to bad decisions at some point. This is totally controllable, so why chance it… Spend. Time. With. Each. Other.
4. We never make a decision, of any kind, without thinking of how it will impact each other, and the relationship as a whole.
Communication is key…I’ve never understood that until I have had this communicative of a relationship. The security and safety you’ll feel by being on the same page is amazingly comforting.
3. Pride kills relationships.
Do not let your pride destroy your marriage. If you think about relationships that have crumbled in your own life, friends…co-workers…family, a lot of the time they have resulted from two pride filled people who refuse to give in…and would rather be right…than move on. While I struggle with this a lot, I work on it every day. In fact…
2. Work on it everyday.
If you stay engaged with each other, living for them before yourself, and have less pride, your chances at a successful marriage will increase 14,000%. (That stat may not be entirely accurate)
1. Keep Christ at the center.
My wife and I love our Lord…and do our best to follow His teachings. We live with Him at the front and center of our relationship, and we stand before the cross, hand-in-hand, knowing exactly where our daily blessings come from.
My prayer, is that as you read this, you can check the boxes on these items, and use it as a reminder for why you have an incredible relationship with your spouse. But, if you haven’t felt that way, and aren’t sure how to get it all back on track, we can tell you that these have worked for us. Will they work for you? I don’t know if they all will or not, but what I do know is that if you’re at least willing to communicate, work on it, and put your spouse’s needs before your own…it will change your relationship.
Have a great week, and remember that there’s no reason that every day cannot be Date Night, in some capacity.
In His powerful, amazing, awe-inspiring name,
Eric J. Wasson