Alright guys, can you remember the last time that your wife pointed out something to you – meaning your attitude stunk, your pursuit of her was lacking, or your wife claimed that “you’ve lost that loving’ feeling”?
Do you remember how you felt inside?
Well, it has been a fun ride for me to have spent my last month of posts talking about marriage. It is one of those topics in which I am continuing to learn how to love my wife more like Jesus is loving His church.
For the last month we have looked at four key elements for a guy in making sure his love for his bride looks like Jesus loving His church. Today will be my final post in this series – not because there is not more to say, but this was meant to be more of a primer on marriage than a full commentary.
The big question
So back to my question – has your wife every confronted you on something? It could have been you were just wr….., yes wrong on an issue. Or it could have been an observation of a major deficiency going on spiritually with you.
In any case, how did you feel? Any emotions rising with you? Like anger, frustration, or some other fruit of your flesh?
There are a number of reasons I love this woman of mine, and one is the fact that she calls me out when I get out of bounds. And I have to admit, there are few times that I initially value it. My first response is typically something of the variety of saying to myself, “I do not like having this thing pointed out in my life!”
I recall one time that we were dealing with a recurring situation and each time it was discussed, I deferred it or had some excuse. Then the situation was brought to light again and I remember her making a loving and gracious statement.
I do not even remember exactly what she said. But I do remember it arrested my attention.
And I remember the Spirit using that statement like a 6-foot javelin that went right between my eyes…and I was speechless.
I had nothing to say except “wow, this is true and I cannot deny it.”
A spirit we all must have
In this final post for this theme over the prior four weeks, I want to challenge us as husbands in an area that seems to be very difficult for us.
And that is being teachable.
Yes, you might have cringed just now, or you might have even shot back with a quick “Hey! I’m teachable!”
Regardless, I think there are more words we could use about how to be teachable. But I can say with confidence and experience that if this fruit is not being produced in your life, the other four posts prior to this one are not going to take any root. They will simply be scattered seed in which we feel good about thinking about them, but are left like the man in James 1 who…
is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
A helpful podcast
I recently listened to a timely podcast by Carey Nieuwhof. He was interviewing Matt Keller and the title of the podcast was The Key to Everything That Too Many Leaders Lack.
Sounded enticing. And it was.
Matt’s discussion was on teachability, what it means, and what keeps us from being teachable.
Matt gave one of the best definitions of teachability that I have heard before and it made a lot of sense to me, especially in the role of being a husband. Here is a quote from the podcast about teachability:
It’s the desire to learn multiplied by a willingness to change. If you have a desire to learn, but no willingness to change, you’re going to struggle. If you have no desire, but high willingness, you’re still going to struggle.
A desire to learn multiplied by a desire to change. That is an insightful definition.
These are key for us as husbands if we are going to love our wives properly.
I must have a high desire to learn and I must have a high desire to change.
So where are you? Do not just ponder this yourself, do the hard work and ask your wife…
“Hey babe, do you think I have a high desire to learn about how to be a godly husband? And do you think I have a high desire to change as a husband?”
The problem that I have had is that I say I want to be a love-my-wife-like-Jesus kind of guy, but my problem has been this…and it is key.
I have equated wanting to be teachable with actually being teachable. Meaning, I feel good about the fact that I desire to be teachable, but I do not want to assess myself if I have actually changed and am teachable.
I must show that I desire to learn; I must show that I desire to change. And then I actually need to learn and then I actually need to change.
And these are not easy to do, because it means that I have to be vulnerable with who I really am, not who I want to be. And this can be a painful process because we as guys have been shaped in a western culture to be a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, don’t-let-’em-see-you-cry, I’ve-got-it-all-together, I’m-doing-just-fine kind of guy.
Sorry, but that mentality is not modeled in the Bible. Rather, the Bible portrays me as a broken individual with needs that only Jesus can meet.
Roadblocks to being teachable
This podcast also walked through roadblocks that inhibit being a teachable individual, and I would like to present four of them with some thoughts as they pertain to being a husband.
I like being right and I do not like being wrong. My pride is what rears its ugly head when my wife points out something to me about me. I like being right because I am more concerned about my glory than God’s glory. God’s glory is just not appealing enough.
I fear that my wife is going to see me for who I really am. Guess what? She already does. My fear maintains the mask because being teachable demands change, and change is not always easy.
Because I find my identity in my performance as a husband, I get insecure when chinks are found in the armor. What is the remedy for this? I begin living as if Jesus is my true identity.
Because of the painful past, it is too hard to have to relive it again. And so I resist being teachable and resist the freedom of change. Fear of past failure shackles me to future failure.
Being teachable is not a switch you can just flip on, guys. It is an overflow of the gospel work that is going on within. It takes a submission to Jesus and aligning yourself to His agenda. Because that is where the most joy for you is found.
Do you desire to be teachable? We as husbands could have awesome marriages if we would just have the spirit of “I am the chief of sinners” as the Apostle Paul stated and realize that our wives are part of our sanctifying process.
Quit pushing her away.
If you want teachability, pray to be the type of man that God notices as found in Isaiah 66:2:
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Humble, quick to repent, and trembles at God’s word. Pray for these fruits to appear. Because you cannot do it yourself. And you will find that as God shapes these in you, you will be free in ways you never knew and work towards a marriage that you never knew possible.
Remember, the gospel frees you: it frees you from a spirit of resistance and “don’t tell me what is wrong in my life” and frees you to partner with your wife in the sanctification process that God has for you.
And that, guys, is true freedom.
I’d love to hear from you — please leave a reply below if you have any thoughts to add to the conversation.
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