If I Could Start Again as a Husband – Dave Rogers

If I Could Start Again as a Husband – Dave Rogers

Regret has been a perpetual refrain for humanity since our beginning; I have no doubt Adam and Eve must have thought, “If only we could go back to the garden, we’d never touch that fruit again!”  I sometimes wonder if Nicodemus’ words in John 3:4 held a wistful tinge of “If only I really could be born again.”

I have been greatly blessed to have been the husband of only one wife in my lifetime.  For nearly 44 years Luann has willingly shared my highs and lows, my successes and failures.  Becoming a husband should be an intimidating prospect; taking on the responsibility to lead, guide, and nurture the tender soul of a woman who willingly puts her heart, emotions, welfare, and happiness into her husband’s hands should not be done lightly.  Solomon wrote, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Pro. 18:22), and a godly wife invests herself in her husband, not only rejoicing in his successes but oftentimes feeling his wounds and disappointments even more deeply than he.  She longs for admittance to the tenderest, innermost reaches of his heart, and feels crushed when he shuts her out.  Allowing that access and intimacy is more than some men are willing to give, and betrayal of it can leave wounds only the Savior can heal.

I was 51 years old when my mother died.  During that time I never doubted my father’s love for her, but I never actually heard him speak the words “I love you” to her (or to anyone else, for that matter).  Sometimes our most valuable lessons fall into the “what NOT to do” category!  When I told her I was going to marry Luann, one of the things my mother said was, “Not all women are like me; she may cry, or need you to listen to her, or tell her you love her.”  Those words registered in a way few others ever have, because I heard in them a longing I suspect she had long ago learned to suppress.

If I could start again as a husband, there are certainly things I’d change, but there are also things I’d try to NOT change.

I would try to read Ephesians 5:22-33 much more carefully and personally, making a deliberate effort to define the direction of our spiritual lives from the day of our wedding.  It was my mistake to allow so much of our spiritual growth to be born of and defined by the challenges, hardships, and heartaches Luann and I have experienced.  Adversity teaches very thoroughly, but its lessons are hard-learned.

I would strive from the day of our wedding to conquer the self-consciousness of youth so that we could learn to feel comfortable praying together.  For decades it was hard for me to voice my cares and fears to my Father in the presence of an “audience” (it still is at times), but more often than not our joys and our worries are the same, and I need the forgiveness and the prayer support of my life’s companion (cf. Jas. 5:16).

I would make a greater effort to actually practice the instructions of James 1:19-20, by paying closer attention to Luann’s thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears.  Many of the things that matter most to her are things that never even “registered” with me in the early years of our marriage.

On the other hand, I would continue making a point of actually speaking the words “I love you” every day, regardless of our momentary marital “condition” (peaceful, angry, hopeful, hurt, etc.).  A dear older friends in the early years of our marriage used to joke that he told his wife that he loved her on the day they married, and if he ever changed his mind he’d let her know.  When I married, his wife confided that she longed to hear him actually say those words, even though she knew he loved her.

I would continue bringing fresh flowers, favorite candies, and cards on special occasions AND “just because.”  It made her feel special among her coworkers when I brought these things to her workplace personally.  The investment of time to be there in person, to share lunches together, and to know the environment in which she spent many hours each day has paid rich dividends in our relationship.

I would continue to open and hold doors for Luann, hold her purse and coat, pump gas so she doesn’t have to, and do all the “little” gestures that say “I prize you and your companionship more than any other in this world.”  These may be little things, but they show love and make her feel cherished; can you imagine our Lord letting a door slam in His bride’s face (cf. Eph. 5:29)?

In summary, if I could start over again as a husband, I’d try to pay much closer attention to the way my Lord treats HIS bride, so as to reflect that same unwavering commitment, solicitude, and tenderness in my own marriage.