Monday, November 8, 2010

You First

"When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves."
Phillipians 2:3 NCV

I love this picture. I don't love it because it's a great photograph, although it is a great picture (thanks, Caitlin!). It's special to me because of what it represents-about 23,000 miles of quality time with my husband on the Harley. You know what's crazy, though? Those amazing trips together almost never happened. I almost missed something incredibly wonderful God wanted to do in our relationship, because I doing what Phillipians 2:3 says to do.

When Gene told me he wanted a motorcycle, I hated the idea. Mostly because it seemed risky and dangerous and fool-hardy for a father of four to be riding around on only two wheels. I told him "Do whatever you want, but you're on your own, I don't want any part of it". I sulked or gave him the cold shoulder whenever he wanted to ride. I can't believe I did this (or that I'm telling you about it), but I really tried hard to take all the fun out of it for him. It wasn't too long before I realized the error of my ways. "It's not about you", the Holy Sprit nudged. "Honey, are you sure you don't want to go with me?", my kind and optimistic husband would ask. Finally, realizing how much it meant to him, I said I would go for a ride. I put his wishes (gulp) above mine. Because that's what you do when you're married....right?

That first ride was really scary, but he was patient and understanding. We didn't go too far or too fast. We went again, and I wasn't quite so nervous. We rode occasionally, then pretty often, then sometimes it was me who suggested a ride! He was very responsible, buying protective clothing-jackets, helmets, boots and gloves. For Christmas, he bought me my first pair of chaps. "Awww...Honey, you shouldn't have!" I gushed. What happened? Phillipians 2:3 happened. Not letting selfishness guide more honor to him. Wow. I can't believe I almost messed that up. Today, we ride all over the place. We took the bike when we voted last week, just for fun. Our kids roll their eyes when Mom and Dad put on the leathers and fire up the bike. We don't care. They're going to move out. And then we'll get to ride even more than we do now!

I share this because over the years, I've seen couples drift apart and even divorce because they had "different interests", which grew into "nothing in common" which became "falling out of love". But it started with making their own preferences the most important thing. He can't stand shopping, she won't watch football. She doesn't like golf, he won't play tennis. He doesn't like movies, she won't ride motorcycles.... And so the lines are drawn. I'm not saying husbands and wives shouldn't have hobbies, or that they should do everything together. But there should definitely be "together" things. Because the divide only grows wider and lonelier with time. So today, I made game food, and watched college football, like I do most every Saturday. Not because I love football, but because I love him.

Prayer for Today: Father, help me to put my spouse's needs before my own. If I've been selfish, help me begin today to take an interest in something that matters to my spouse. I long to honor You in my marriage. In Jesus' name, Amen


Robin Bryce said...

Leslie, I love this. You're right and you said it beautifully. Thanks for the great picture of doing things together.

Leslie Oden said...

Thanks, Robin! Good to hear from you again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Leslie for this great Chick Food. I have learned that you have to get involved with each other. After 37 yrs of marriage, we love to be with each other. We have to make the time. We love going on drives in the mountains, just go with the flow, we get lost sometimes, but it is fun. He loves a big computer store in town. I go with him, he goes shopping with me. We just need to learn to do things that each of us likes to do together. Love you & Gene (miss you all). Susan Melson

Leasa said...

The funny thing is I think the whole motorcycle thing suits you. It's crazy how God works in us when we let him. How he knows the things that we will enjoy even when we think we never would.

Leslie Oden said...

Thanks for sharing, Susan! We think of you and our Agape family often :o)

Leasa-great observation! Since He knows every hair on our heads, and our words before we speak them, it follows that He would know what activities we would enjoy! Even if we're stubborn...and slow.... lol