A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a pastor that somehow drifted into gender roles. I was prepared for the usual discussion. But then he surprised me and moved quickly over Ephesians 5:22 - 24 and instead moved down to the next few verses,
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
Then he asked me what I thought that meant. I had to stop my mind preparing to debate women's roles and really think about the passage. What did it mean? What is the role of husbands supposed to be in marriage? What is the role of my husband? I read the passage again and the word that came to mind was that my husband is my champion.
"Like a cheerleader?" asked the pastor. No definitely not a cheerleader. I was a cheerleader in high school. I loved it. I liked the uniform. I enjoyed the practices, hanging out with my friends and practicing our routines. I loved encouraging the athletes during their games and cheering when they had a big play but that was the extent of my role in the game and the team's life. I was not a partner.
I think that a husband is meant to be a champion for his wife. A person who wants the best for me even if it involves challenging me to be better. Champions encourage the positive and work to soften and change the weaknesses. Champions tell you the truth even when it might hurt but they do so in real love, not the fake "friend" wanting to get back at you with the truth kind of "love". Champions help edit your life into a better story. And as godly husbands, our champions point us to God through it all.
My husband is my champion. He loves me. He makes choices that are evidence of that love. He goes to work every day to provide for me and our boys even when the job he has is demoralizing and frustrating. He still goes. My husband encourages me in my faith, making sure I get up on those Sunday mornings when I want to be lazy or spending a Saturday afternoon with the boys so I can go off to Starbucks to read and study the Bible. My husband is generous with our resources and helps me be more generous, an area that needs work in my heart. He is the ying to my yang in so many ways that challenge me to be better than I am.
My husband supports me using my gifts to serve God even when it involves him having to leave work early so I can go teach a Bible study. He is willing to work hard to pay the bills so I can serve at our church without having to worry about making money. When I was starting this blog and unsure if writing was something I should do, he bought me a domain name because he believes in my writing, even though he doesn't read it. He still believes in me without me having to prove myself.
My husband gives me a safe place to share my doubts about God and my frustrations that would turn to gossip with anyone else. He is upstanding, steadfast and even tempered giving me a better understanding of those qualities in God that I desperately need. He is so unlike me and yet we are made to fit together. I love him dearly even when I am frustrated because he is not doing things my way. I want to be worthy of my husband's love which encourages me to be a better person. Most of all, as my champion, my husband gives me the space to be the person God made me to be, not the wife he envisioned.
Hopefully we are each other's champions. Though I can see that women because of our give everything to other's, people pleasing and chaotic nature, may be needing a strong champion.