"When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken." (Deuteronomy 24:5)My first thought at reading this verse was "How?" How do I bring joy and happiness to my wife? How do I, as this verse can also be translated, cheer up or gladden my wife? Knowing what to do doesn't help much unless you also know how to do it. As I was pondering this I read the following verse.
"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full." (John 16:24)Jesus desires to give us our needs, wants, and desires so that, not only would we have want we need and want but that in receiving them we might also have joy. Joy is the fruit of answered prayer. Sometimes, our lack of joy is just a lack of asking. James said, "What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:1-2) If we would but ask God for the things we need and desire then we would not only receive the petitions of our hearts but we would also find new joy in the Lord.
The key to bringing joy to our wives (or anyone else for that matter) is learning to become the answer to their prayers. When we learn to recognize the desires of their heart and then find ways to supply those desires then we have found the key to bringing them joy. For some it might be the desire for someone to understand them, for others it might be the need to feel that they are important to someone else. Other might simply need someone to help them and lift them up when they are overwhelmed and overburdened by the demands of everyday life. What ever the need, to the degree to which we can supply the want, we can also bring them joy.
This is not to say that, as husbands, we should expect (or even attempt) to meet every need and desire of our wives hearts for some needs can only be met by the Lord. Some people, when the wed, have the expectation that the other person is going to meet all their needs, that all their desires are going to be met in their spouse, that their spouse is going to rescue them and save them from their present circumstances and that they will never want again. Some people, when they look for a partner, are really looking for a savior. However, a husband or wife can never replace the true savior. As individuals we must learn to go to the Lord for our needs and desires and not expect another human to meat what only the Lord can provide. However, that being said, there are times when God can use us to be the answers to the prayers of others. When we learn to tune into the needs and desires of others then we can find ways to allow God to use us to become the answer to their prayers and a source of great joy to them as well.
marriage, joy, David Robison, The Robe, Book of Deuteronomy
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