Mar

22

2012

Justin Taylor|2:53 pm CT

Brothers, Love Your Wife More Than Seminary

A sobering word, full of good counsel, from a man who put ministerial training above his marriage and lost his wife in pursuit of a degree.

An excerpt:


As I think about my own marriage breakdown, I want to offer a few things I wish I would have more seriously considered during my time as a seminarian:

Tell your wife you love her regularly.

Deeply dwell on the Gospel. Your affection for your wife can only go as deep as your affection for the person and work of Christ. Because marriage is a picture of how Christ has loved His church, if your heart has grown cold toward the cross, you can be sure it has grown cold toward your marriage. Thus, do everything possible to keep your heart soft toward Jesus. Read books about the cross. Listen to music about the cross. Try to constantly maintain a posture of wonder about being reconciled to God through Christ; this is the foundation for true love for any marriage.

Remember that marriage is Gospel ministry. If you do not hold your marriage in high esteem (Heb 13:4), you do not truly hold Gospel ministry in high esteem. The size of your library is a poor indicator of how seriously you take the Gospel. Your marriage is where the audit needs to happen. I think this is what Paul is getting at when he asks, “For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church” (1 Tim 3:5)?

Tell your wife you love her regularly.

I have also found that your class notes may not be the best devotional material for your wife. Fight to ensure that you and your wife’s affections for Christ flow from sources other than seminary.

Never sacrifice intimacy for study. For some couples this means going to sleep at the same time, for others it means eating breakfast together every morning. Either way, budget time for intimacy. Manage your time better throughout the day, or take a lighter load of classes. Furthermore, show interest in her schedule.

Tell her you love her regularly.

Fight peripheral laziness. One thing that will surely make it an uphill battle for your wife to respect you is if she sees you work hard at seminary but act like a slob everywhere else.

Be tender during theological discussion with your wife. If she’s not as robust a student as you, she’ll likely not find the same things interesting. In conversation, she’ll likely not go as deep as you, and she may even contradict what you have just learned in class. Yet, gently affirm her knowledge of Christ. You are the pastor of your home; shepherd your wife, making the most of your theological education. Do everything you can to ensure that she feels safe expressing her heart regarding your study habits, ministry or projected graduation date. Always be grateful for a wife who knows Christ.

Fervently pray for her heart, even when times are good. Pray that God would keep Satan from using your sins as a seminarian to turn her away from Christ and His church.

Tell her you love her regularly.

Always remember that God doesn’t need you, your gifts or your ministry. If He did, why did He create you so late in history? Cultivate your marriage behind closed doors because “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt 6:4).

Oh, and tell her you love her regularly.

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