How to Love Your Husband… Dirty Toilets and All

Written by Jenna, Contributing Writer

I remember that day so vividly. It was a day of revelation for me. I was pregnant, homeschooling our two sons with a toddler under toe and trying to keep our house tidy for the sporadic showings we had while our little ranch was for sale. Life was so busy and my temper was unpredictable. You know that phrase, “If Momma ain’t happy…”?? You know the rest… that was me.

This day in particular, I was cleaning a mess my hubby made. OK, let me just be honest, it was his toilet. At the time, we had two separate bathrooms. As I was on my knees, working up a sweat with my big belly in the way, my thoughts started down that dangerous spiral: from accusation to anger and from anger to bitterness. If you could take a peek into my mind, it would not have been pretty.

Why am I cleaning his mess? Can’t he just do this one little thing? Doesn’t he understand all that I do? He is so selfish. I don’t deserve this. This is so unfair. I am so unappreciated. 

And then out of the blue, like a gentle tap on the shoulder, I felt the unmistakable whisper of the Holy Spirit: Do this like you’re doing it for me, Jenna. Clean the toilet for Jesus? Yes, clean that toilet like you were doing it for me. I couldn’t believe what I just heard, but I knew it was real and I knew God was trying to get my attention. Immediately my thoughts miraculously shifted. I’m doing this for Jesus!

What I have discovered in loving my husband is this: I can’t love him naturally on my own. My feeble attempts will always fail. Sin is funny that way. Somehow we will end up finding ways to be disappointed in our husbands. It’s gonna get messy. Just going on your feelings or his performance will never work when it comes to true love in marriage.

I believe this is exactly what Jesus was referring to in John 15.

I am
the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them,
will produce much fruit.

For apart from me you can do nothing.

It’s all about Christ. His death. The forgiveness he offers to us. Our lives, our love and our relationships are only effective when we’re connected to the Vine. Nothing in me that day wanted to clean his toilet. I didn’t make the mess. I had every reason not to. But when we allow Christ to step in and do the work through us, things begin to change.

Marriage–or any relationship–should not be “tit for tat.” As a disciple, our love should always be freely given without strings attached. When we approach relationships with conditional love no one really wins. If Christ operated that way, we would all be destined for hell. However, the humble and sacrificial love of Christ is offered to everyone regardless of their actions, behavior or attitude. Can’t we do that in our love for our husbands? Offer grace and forgiveness, just like Christ?

What if we give up what we think is right and fair for something greater: grace. Don’t give in to those dangerous thoughts of fairness and resentment. Remain in the Vine. Follow Christ’s example. Love deeply and richly without looking for something in return. In doing so, you’ll be like your Savior and you just might find out what true love is all about.

However, you might have to go through a lot of dirty toilets along the way 🙂

Jenna is a happy wife to Brian and a full-time mom to 4 boys. She is a follower of Christ, a researcher and an aspiring blogger, foodie and lover of all things healthy. 

Join her at Wholesome Bits and connect with her on Facebook.

*Linked to: Women Living WellHomemaking LinkupTraditional TuesdaysTitus 2sdaysWorks for Me,  Simple Lives ThursdayEncourage One Another 

Comments

  1. I just finished reading a great book – The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. It really is the best book on marriage I have ever read. Shows you how it isn’t about getting your needs met, but about growing in Christ. Thanks for the reminder!

    Here’s a link to the book: http://amzn.to/15uZCw7 I think you and your readers will love it.

  2. love this

  3. Often times, when I am cleaning up muddy foot prints, trekking out in the cold to do laundry (washer and dryer 40 yards away in our old house)I silently complain that it wall all be okay IF I didn’t have to work, IF I didn’t have to leave the house every morning and go to work THEN all this other stuff would not be so bad.

    You’ve reminded me that it probably doesn’t matter if I worked or not, human nature is to be selfish and “woe is me.”

    We should clean our toilets and muddy foot prints as if we were doing it for Jesus. My grand father used to say it doesn’t matter if your a judge or a janitor, if you’re doing the best job you can do and serving the Lord then you’re doing right.

    • Thanks, Danielle! Love your grandfather’s statement. We tend to put our lives and priorities into categories… like some are below us ~ not so when we put every part of our lives into one category — the kingdom of God. We all should humble ourselves and serve. Not saying it will always be easy, but focusing on Christ makes it totally worth it!

  4. Great post, Jenna…thanks for the good reminder to focus on Christ. I stumbled across your blog and enjoyed reading several of your other posts, too.

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  6. Oops, I messed up my first attempt to leave a note. SORRY! Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this post! It’s such a blessing to serve others when we consider how much Christ served/serves us – His righteousness for our sin, His life to save ours, His faithfulness despite our continual failings. What can we do, but serve Him and others, in light of all the great and marvelous things He has done for us! Blessings to you, Kelly

    • Yes, I totally agree, Kelly… “when we consider how much Christ served us”. That alone is so humbling… that should be only natural after following His example is to serve others too! Thank you!!

  7. Great perspective. I wrote a devotion about cleaning toilets last year, but not with the perspective of cleaning our husband’s toilet. You did a great job transmitting this Bible truth. Thanks.

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