When we were first married, Bonita and I kept restarting a book together that I kept on my nightstand. I don’t remember the title but I remember that the author and his family had a house on Grant Street. I remember little more. We would faithfully read this book on parenting for a bit and then it would get set aside as things got busy and then we’d pick it up again and start again from the beginning. To this day, I don’t know if we ever did finish the book…I don’t think we did.
Valentine’s Day was a week ago and I wanted to resist writing something about husband/wife relationships on the day. I am all for dating and going out for dinner and roses and romance and all that stuff. It’s good….but what we believe is so foundational to our marriages. What we believe in our Christian faith is the bedrock of our marriages and one of the ways we do that is through learning together.
As husbands, men, we are to be shepherds to our wives and our kiddies. We have shepherds in the church and there are to be shepherds in the home, as well. We are to lead, provide, and protect and one of the ways we lead is through teaching and books are key for that to happen.
When Jesus relaunched Peter back into ministry at the end of the gospel of John, He called him to feed His sheep. (John 21:15-17) Husbands are to do that in their families. Husbands are to do that with their children and also with their wives.
Bonita and I have grown up in our theology together through the years. Sometimes I would come home all excited from my study and share with her some of the things I was learning and we’d go back to Scripture and talk about some of those things. That still takes place today. So that would be more of an indirect approach.
Other times it’s through studying the Word together or reading through books together… that would be more direct. We have gone through many books together through the years. I remember being on holidays together and we’d be out in the sun and I’d be reading to her with a book in one hand and a highlighter in the other.
Unfortunately when we moved to St. Thomas things got much busier and crowded out some of this reading time. We felt it as a couple. I am grateful to have more time on my hands today for a few reasons and we’ve restarting reading together. We may be in the family room and Bonita might be doing some ironing or some knitting and I’ll be sitting across from her in the Lazy Boy with a book out or reading a blog to her from the iPad. If there’s a big pause she knows that I’m highlighting something.
Most recently we’ve been re-reading Chris Brauns’ book ‘Unpacking Forgivness’ together. This book is a thorough, biblical approach to forgiveness and draws the curtain back to explain the pertinent texts…and there’s a lot of them. It’s good for our souls and it have been a great foundation for discussion. We are to forgive as God forgives but that may not mean what you think it means. I think we need blogs and books so I’m not going to unpack forgiveness is a single post…for a topic like forgiveness, you need books (my encouragement for you is to buy the book!). We will often sit down once or twice a week and read a chapter and will sometimes back and forth about what we’ve read over the week. We have grown up together as we’ve read and discussed and it has been a great tool to shepherd my wife.
 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-27)
In Kent Hughes’ commentary on Ephesians he asks two questions in light of these verses ‘Is our wife more like Christ because she is married to us? Or is she like Christ in spite of us?’
I am all for the other things that couples do together. Walking, talking, laughing, watching movies, and biking. (We tried skiing a few times together but that rarely worked out well for me!) I’d encourage couples to read together…God’s Word and good Christian books. You will grow together and grow up together, in Christ.