"I don't want to hate my husband. When i marry him, I want us to face things and still love each other. I am thinking about this because I am listening to a couple bicker. I think years of endless bickering leads to hatred."
When I see statements like this, I generally stop to reflect on what God might be trying to tell me as well. I believe that He is always there in little "opportunities" to whisper into my heart the things that I need to hear.
This time it was the truth that I don't love my wife enough. Of course I love her. But, "enough"? No.
Disagreements will always happen but "bickering" is the result of one or both putting themselves before the other.
As a husband, the biggest challenge to me is always;
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her". - Ephesians 5: 25
When I reflect on how Christ "loved" us and "handed Himself over for" us.....well, I realize how lacking my love for my wife really is.
But it is NOT a moment of despair. It is a clarifying moment, showing me just how much I have to rely on God's Grace moment by moment and especially in my marriage, where the enemy will always seek to destroy more than one.
In his Homily this past Sunday, our deacon pointed out that Jesus was always serving. He was always serving the Father, and He was always serving others (who would become "the Church")
Connecting these thought then, as a husband I am to serve God and to serve my wife. But this service to my wife is a specific type of service. St. Paul explains;
"to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." - Ephesians 5: 26,27
Of course this was all affirmed to me when I came across a picture with a caption that sums this all up very simply. The caption reads;
"The greatest thing a man can do to woman is to lead her closer to God than to himself"
When my actions as a husband fail to lead my wife closer to God, I am not loving her enough.
Realizing that a husband is to serve God and to serve his wife, doesn't keep me from falling, but it does help me to return to the waters of Grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; to be refreshed and renewed and to continue to love just ever so slightly better than before.