When I first married Dr.J, I thought to myself, ” Psh.. residency has got nothing on us..” We will be that “man and wife after God’s heart” power couple that I always dreamed of . We would be praying, studying the bible, serving our church, meeting new comers, hosting dinners, having sermon discussions ALL DAY EVERY DAY!!! My husband is a solid man who loves the Lord and is the most disciplined person I know. I entered marriage mostly thinking of how I will thrive because of him, and thinking quite little of how to encourage and help him spiritually.
Well, residency sure did have a good laugh at my expectations. I fight with residency for my husband’s presence every month, but she always wins. For two years residency has been faithfully taking my husband away from not only myself but most importantly, from church and community. She will continue to do so gleefully for another two more years. Her grip sometimes loosen up a few months out of the year, allowing my husband to go to church for more than two weeks in a row, but usually she is not so generous. Two three months easily go by with my husband associating Sundays with just another day of work instead of the Lord’s day.
Very soon, my husband’s residency program ignited bitterness in my heart. I found myself explaining sermons to him week after week without joy. I got tired of meeting new people by myself and having to tell them they probably won’t meet my husband anytime soon. I grew impatient and callous when his fatigue would keep him from socializing and I had to carry on conversations. I grew discouraged because we couldn’t pray together at night and panicked at times when he would vulnerably admit that he felt distant or far from God.
The root of my anger and discouragement however was not residency. It was and is always sin. I had all these expectations that I wanted my husband to fulfill for us in our marriage and I blamed residency for getting in the way. I was angry because my husband was not able to serve and lead me in THE ways I wanted to.
” Carrie, you must humbly learn how to nurse you husband’s soul.” The Lord whispered in my heart.
Could it be that the ” power couples after God’s heart” aren’t the ones who are always in the forefront serving at church, or having rich theological discussions every night? Perhaps God’s view of what a power couple looks like is actually a man and a women humbly serving each other with sacrificial love, aiming to put the gospel message on display.
Although my husband is responsible for his walk and relationship with the Lord, God revealed to me how to partner with Him in ministering to my husband not only throughout residency, but also throughout our marriage. Ultimately, God is the doctor, accessing my husband’s spiritual health, He uses His word ,the scalpel, to do His work in revealing, convicting, healing, and graciously allows me to be a part of the mending and growing process as the nurse. Unlike earthly doctors, My God can totally take care my husband without my help, but He decided that the best way for me to grow as a wife and helper to my husband is through learning to nurse his soul. Learning to nurse my husband’s soul redefined my understanding of what a power couple after God’s heart look like. God gave me a renewed heart of love and tenderness to serve my husband spiritually. Residency still spends more time with my husband than I do, but I’m starting to not loath her as much anymore. I try to thank her instead, because she is giving me a precious opportunity to be a nurse. The kind of nurse my husband’s soul needs.
Here are 10 practical ways on how I support my husband spiritually and help him stay connected to our community:
- I Pray for him. I Pray for his heart, his eyes, his thoughts, his speech, his relationship with the Lord and invite others to pray for him.
- I have learned its okay to initiate and ask him how he is doing spiritually and how I can keep him accountable.
- I take notes on the sermons and bible studies every week. I either email/text him a short summary or share with him over the phone during his breaks.
- I like to text him encouragements throughout the day filled with bible verses or a short message reminding him of God’s faithfulness and love.
- I like to keep him posted on new friends that I meet. I don’t expect him to keep track of them all, but it helps him feel connected with our community.
- I also brief him on who is dating, just got engaged, getting married, pregnant, recently gave birth etc. He appreciates this a lot! 🙂
- I take on the role of being in charge of our family’s schedule. I try to plan ahead and schedule meet ups with friends on days I know Dr. J has off or is coming home early. I will brief him on meet ups a few days in advance just so he is aware.
- I know my husband has a heart to serve the church, so I try to find one time church events or flexible service opportunities that can accommodate his schedule.
- I often email him articles from reputable Christian websites that I know would be of encouragement to him or related to something he is going through. (My two favs are: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org and http://www.desiringgod.org)
- I make sure I am taking care of myself spiritually and spending time with the Lord. The best way for me to serve my husband is to make sure I am walking consistently with our Lord and immersing myself in prayer and His word.
Much Joy and Love,