I am functionally orientated. In simple terms, that means I am usually so busy ‘doing the next task’ I forget to pause and appreciate precious relationships. Earlier today I was reading the latest raft of 9marks articles on the subject of marriage. It was a sobering reminder (not least the 30 ways for pastor’s to love their families article!) of my inept failures in ministering to my family.
I’m grateful to God that the same isn’t true of my wife. Nicki, your ministry to me is abundant and rich, consistent and caring. From my observations, here are thirty ways you love your family.
1. You always put your family first: before your needs, wants and concerns.
2. You love simply spending time with your family. You hate the notion of not being together when you could be.
3. You somehow keep a house immaculately clean despite three messy children and an only marginally cleaner husband.
4. You patiently take care of all the needs of our children 9 to 5 (feeding, washing, changing, disciplining, teaching, travelling etc). I struggle to do a good job from 5 till 7.
5. You spend countless evenings in alone, when I’m out at yet another meeting.
6. You then put up with it, when returning late ‘I’m too tired to talk about it.’
7. You regularly tell all of us you love us.
8. You are the most organised person I know when it comes to planning for birthday’s, anniversaries and other celebrations. Months ahead! You never miss a special ocassion.
9. You’re never beyond a bit of humour. A practical joke, a silly game, a friendly poke of fun at children or daddy.
10. You buy me favourite foods, even though you don’t like them.
11. You listen to biblical, passionate and profound messages from John Piper (just now from Romans) and each day when I get home, tell me about them!
12. You’re always more interested in talking about my day than yours.
13. You practice hospitality several times a week, and in welcoming other people into your home, bless the children by the exposure.
14. You are firm and consistent with your discipline of the children: they know where they stand with you and love you for it.
15. You care about the children’s education - not least spiritually - and buy great books that we use at the t-table.
16. You forgive your children even on ‘one of those days’ when they seem chronically naughty, and forgive me when I’m not as a good a husband as you are a wife.
17. You put yourself out, often when you don’t have to and it completely inconveniences you (picking me up from town - daily?; running me to meetings early Sunday mornings…)
18. You follow my lead and prefer it that way.
19. You go into the children’s bedrooms last thing at night, tucking the three children into bed - and never go to sleep comfortably until they are.
20. You read books on biblical womanhood, motherhood and marriage, and seek to apply their principles. With evident effect.
21. You miss us - and tell us so - if you’re absence from us is ever enforced.
22. You have not been unknown to inform me in the morning that you had been up half the night with one of the sick children. You didn’t want my sleep disturbed too.
23. You love meeting with God’s church on Sunday’s and by this show us all the value of church. You’re desperately upset when you can’t get an ‘evening babysitter’, especially when I’m preaching.
24. You watch football (soccer!) with your husband, instead of something preferable, because you know I like it.
25. You sometimes arrange datenights for us, including the babysitters, when if I were being diligent it would always be my job.
26. You buy your husband surprise gifts to encourage me (though I think, perhaps, “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor” was also designed to bring me down a peg or two!)
27. You leave me little ‘love’ notes in packed lunch boxes, clothes items, and on my computer screen at the office.
28. You happily listen to me preach sermons: several times at home, and then in the pulpit.
29. You are my best sermon critic. On the one hand, you are sensitive enough not to ‘kick me when I’m down’. On the other, you are loving enough to ‘keep my feet on the ground.’
30. You ‘make out’ that everyone else is ‘the best bit’ about the family, when you are.