98: He Must Be Greater

98: He Must Be Greater

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

He Must Be Greater

By Pamela Louise Walker

“…He must become greater; I must become less.”

~John 3:30

I have always loved old, traditional things and I wanted my wedding to reflect that. I chose to go with the age-old “love, honor and obey” when I pledged my “troth.” I didn’t really know what those words meant; I just knew they felt right. It’s taken almost a quarter of a century to fully understand just how “right” they are.

At first, marriage was everything I had dreamed of and more. My new husband showered me with cards, flowers and little gifts to show he was thinking of me. Over the years, the tokens of his affection gradually slowed down and eventually stopped coming altogether. A lifetime of things — stress at work, job loss, the birth and raising of special-needs children, and aging parents moving in with us — took their toll on our happily ever after.

Time didn’t, however, erase my need for those things. I left hints and even came right out and asked, but my requests seemed to fall on deaf ears. I knew he loved me, but I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want to give me what I desired most. I tried to do whatever he wanted and needed. I cooked his favorite meals. I washed his clothes. Shouldn’t he give me what I needed to feel loved?

I began to resent him and all I felt I was expected to do. I let laundry and dishes pile up. I let housekeeping go. I went to bed before him so I didn’t have to kiss him goodnight. Our house and our life began to fall apart, and neither of us seemed to be willing to do something about it. One day after an especially tearful prayer, I picked up my Bible and came across John 3:30. More of Him, less of me.

Those words spoke directly to my heart, and I was forever changed. I was not looking at marriage the right way. Marriage is not just about us; it’s about God, too. I wasn’t trying to honor God in my marriage. I wanted my actions to make my husband feel obligated to give me what I wanted. God had little to do with the equation.

I made a decision that day to make it less about me and more about God. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but consciously putting God first has made all the difference in our marriage. The flowers and cards have reappeared. Our home is slowly becoming the haven it should be, and we always try to remember to kiss goodnight. We both feel loved.

Life isn’t a fairy tale… it’s real. It will always have its ups and downs. Don’t forget you are not in this alone. Do your best to “love, honor and obey” God by making it more about Him and less about you, and He will give you strength to weather whatever life throws your way. He will always love you. That’s a promise you can depend on.

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