Pastor, marriage is under attack. Your marriage is under attack. Spiritually speaking, you have a bullseye drawn on your back, and Satan has you in his crosshairs. The enemy knows that if he can get you, he can have many in your congregation for free. Keeping your marriage relationship strong and vibrant in ministry is essential for obvious reasons. The question, then, is how do you have a great marriage, even in ministry?
The most transforming insight I have ever had on marriage is the insight on perspective. So often I have looked at, and looked to my wife in the wrong way. You don’t just need a right perspective, you need a “just right” perspective. This one insight has changed my life and it changed my wife.
Perspective is Powerful
Perspective has the power to create reality. Perhaps you’ve see the picture to the right. It has floated around for years. When I first saw it, I immediately saw a tired-looking old lady. But the picture, also, is that of a young beauty.
Take a close look. Which lady do you see? What you see depends entirely on your perspective. The truth is the picture is that of an old lady. It is also true that it is a picture of a young lady. Your perspective has the power to create your reality.
What do you see when you look at your wife? If you see anything less than the beauty you first fell in love with you need a change in perspective. You need a “just right” perspective.
The “Just Right” Perspective in Marriage
Go back to the beginning of time when God first created man and woman. God made Adam from the dust of the ground. He gave Adam a work to do and a command to obey. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’ ”1
This is remarkable. Adam was unaware of his need. So, God took the initiative to awaken the need, and to create the person who was “just right” to satisfy that need.
I can imagine Adam beginning to awaken to his need, that at first, he couldn’t put his finger on what was missing, but he knew something was wrong. Like that nagging thought you get after leaving for vacation, you know something is missing, but what? God puts Adam into a deep sleep. He takes a rib from Adam’s side and forms the rib into a woman. God calls, “Adam. Hey Adam. Wake up. I want you to meet someone.” Adam awakens, takes one look at the woman and shouts, “At last!” Or, “That’s it! This is just what I’ve been missing.” Like remembering what you left at home was your wife. Adam knew she, woman, was just what he was missing.
But this is what is most remarkable: Adam knows nothing about the woman, yet he receives her enthusiastically. Was his immediate acceptance of Eve proof of love at first sight? She was literally the only woman in the world for him. But I think the answer goes deeper, much deeper. Adam received the woman not for what he knew about her, but for what he knew about God. Adam knew that if this woman was God’s provision, she was “just right” for him.
Here’s a Great Question
Is it too much to imagine that the God of the universe who created you, too, with a work to do2 and a command to obey3, knew your need for a wife before you did? And, is it too much to imagine that God, who met Adam’s need when there wasn’t another woman in all the world by taking a rib from his side and shaping it into a woman, could look the world over and find someone who is just right for you? No. She isn’t perfect, but like Baby Bear’s porridge and bed in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, she is “just right.”
The “just right” perspective is the perspective that says, My wife is just what I need to do God’s work and obey God’s command. She isn’t perfect, but she is just right for me.
She may not be the “perfect pastor’s wife”—she can’t play the piano or sing, and she isn’t interested in leading the women’s or children’s ministry. But you can believe this. She is just what you needed. She is God’s “just right” person for you.
Imagine for a minute that God’s purposes for your wife are more than just doing the things you aren’t good at doing and don’t want to do. Imagine that part of her role, by God’s design, is to teach you to love when you don’t feel like it. Imagine that God’s purposes for your wife are to teach you to lead people who don’t want to follow. Is there any better environment in all the world to shape you for God’s calling—to do His work and to obey His command—than marriage?
It should not surprise you, Pastor, that God chose the home to prepare you for leadership. You’ve got to love Paul’s warning: “For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”4
Your Perspective Is Talking
If you see your spouse as the old lady, your perspective is talking. It is telling you that you are seeing her all wrong. And if you see her as the old lady, don’t expect her to behave like a young beauty.
Begin to look at her as God’s “just right” gift to you to accomplish His purposes. That change in perspective changes everything. Like Adam accepting Eve as God’s provision, he looked at her and exclaimed, “At last!” Like the day you stood before a preacher, the JP, or Elvis at Las Vegas, believing she was just right for you, and in your heart, you exclaimed, “At last!”
Pastor, marriage is under attack. Your marriage is under attack. You can be a pastor and have a great marriage, but you’ll have to have the right perspective, a “just right” perspective.
Fix Your Eye Problem
I say this with all due respect. If you don’t see your wife as God’s just-right gift to you, you have an eye problem. What you must do is change your perspective.
If you can imagine that God awoke the need in you and brought to you the person who is just right for you, then it isn’t too much to ask that you accept her not because of what you know about or see in her, but because of what you know about God.
When you change your perspective, everything changes.
Pastor, Marriage—Your Marriage–Matters
God wants you to have the marriage you imagined when you married her. God wants you to have the marriage that models the relationship between Christ and the church.
Accept the person you married as God’s “just right” gift to you. She isn’t perfect, but she is just right.
She is God’s gift to you to shape you and partner with you for His purpose. Meditate on that until her former beauty emerges, until you spontaneously shout, “At last!”
Write her a note and tell her, “I’m sorry. I have been looking to you and at you the wrong way. I wanted you to make me happy. Now I understand that you are just what I needed to remove my selfishness, my pride, my unforgiving spirit, my __________. You are God’s ‘just right’ for me. With you, I am complete. God is using you to shape me to do His work and to obey His command. And when I am surrendered to God’s purposes, you make me truly happy. I need you. I want you. Thank you for being my wife.”
Pastor, will you do it? When will you do it? Share your commitment with me. Share your story. I’ll pray with you and for you. Have a comment? Start a conversation.
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Could Coaching Help?
“You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without a coach you will never be as good as you could be.” Twitter @Andy Stanley, December 12, 2018.