Jesus is the foundation on which I try to live my life every day. I have discovered, especially recently, that if I don’t have Him then I have absolutely nothing.
He has given me everything—my salvation, my relationships (wife, children, family, friends), my home and my job. Everything I am and everything I do is because of Christ. And while He is my Everything, I would be sorely remiss if I didn’t honor the “rock” He placed in my life more than 20 years ago.
You may ask, why do I call my wife, Patty, the “rock?” Years ago during a small group session at a friend’s house, Patty and I were prophesied over concerning our family and our spiritual lives. We were told that our marriage—while it may bend and be stretched to the limit—would never break.
Like most couples, we have endured tough times—financially, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. We have navigated through job losses, huge bills, philosophical differences, frustration with our children, broken promises (on my part) and heated arguments I thought would doom us.
But through it all, besides Jesus’ obvious involvement, Patty has been the steady rock that has held our family together. That name for her was included in the prophecy, and that’s why I call her that.
Every time I have felt down and discouraged—and there have been many of those—Patty is always there to pick me up with an encouraging word or action. While sometimes it is not always received well (because of self-pity), I know I can always count on her—for everything.
Yes, I am the priest of our home. And yes, I try diligently to use the gifts God has given me to be the spiritual leader of our family. But make no mistake, Patty is the reason we are still together since we were married in December 1997. Besides being much more financially savvy than myself, her heart is huge and she is always thinking of people other than herself. She is a wonderful mother to Rachel and Joshua, and to put up with me for this long, she must be a saint.
Proverbs 18:22 says it best, “Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the Lord” (MEV). I must have obtained favor from the Lord because he gave me Patty.
But in order for you to have a solid marriage, you must have two things: One, Jesus MUST be the foundation. Without Him, you’ll simply drift along and live as roommates instead of husband and wife. That is a given.
But second, you must die to self. I know a lot of husbands, including myself, who have yet to learn to do that. Luke 9:23-24 says, “Then Jesus said to them all, ‘If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever will save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.'”
During our wedding ceremony, my friend, Pastor Randy Claypoole, told us that marriage “is not a 50-50 proposition. We each needed to give 100 percent.” In other words, the word “self” needs to be deleted from your vocabulary.
As my friend, Hery Alonso, says in his new book, I’m All In, coming out soon, “We have to understand that as long as ‘self’ is in control, God can’t have His way in us. … When we deny ourselves, or die to self, it is not a thing we do only once. It will be more of a constant dying as Jesus helps us remove unnecessary things inside us that bog down our journey.”
I realize that it’s way past time for “self” to be extracted from my character. Going forward, I am dedicating myself to serving my wife and being the husband she deserves and giving her 100 percent. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:24-25, MEV).
Husbands—and wives for that matter—doesn’t your spouse deserve your best? I know Patty does. And I know I want to enjoy the full intimacy of my marriage that God has promised in His Word. But I also know that it starts with me, and it starts with dying to self.
In his book, Hery follows up with this, “Women desire to feel safe and secure along with unconditional love. If a woman feels unstable or insecure in the commitment or love, she won’t blossom to her fullest capability of being the ideal helpmate for her husband.”
So my suggestion is this: Turn off the television. Put down your phone. Stay away from your computer. Ask God how you can “die to self.” I ask for your prayers for my marriage, and I will pray for your marriage to rid itself of this toxic four-letter word so that it can flourish the way God intended.
My prayers are with you always. God bless.