A Husband’s Strength (and a book update)

In September Katie and I went to our hometown in northern California with the kids. We stayed with her parents for three weeks and during that time I put together a book, Marriage God’s Way: A Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships, from a number of sermons I preached. To provide an update, since that time the book is being edited by professional editor, Jeanette Windle. Every few weeks she sends me a new section of material to look at that she’s finished. Sometimes she requests clarification or feedback, lets me know portions that are confusing, need more elaboration, etc. Other times she lets me know when there’s been too much teaching without any illustrations; too much technical information without a personal touch…interestingly it reminds me of my wife when we go over my sermons together. Here’s part of what she sent me recently…

“Forgive me for sending you another homework assignment (I did warn you); NO hurry as I can thread it in at any time. But I’m organizing the two sections that deal with strength, then leadership, which basically combines to one solid sub-section. You have a couple good anecdotes in the leadership section, but none at all in the strength section. If you could come up with one solid anecdote to kick that section off, dealing with what is true strength in a husband that should be sufficient. Again, no hurry.”

Here’s the anecdote about “true strength”…

I started lifting weights in college, and if I had to list anything that’s ever been an obsession for me, I’d say bodybuilding. For about fifteen years, really only slowing down when I had a family and no longer had the time, I worked out every day, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year. Six meals per day was the norm, which is something else that had to change when I had a family, at least if I wanted to have meals with them since they weren’t going to follow my abnormal schedule of small meals and shakes. Plus, my wife’s meals – no matter how delicious – of course didn’t have the right breakdown of fats, proteins, and carbs. Needless to say the bodybuilding lifestyle doesn’t agree well with the family lifestyle, and when forced to choose between the two, there obviously wasn’t much a choice!

But during that season, my physical strength was – sadly – the only strength I really cared about. Any increase to my strength – whether by adding a few more pounds to the bar, or completing a few more reps than I did the week before, was the constant goal. Little did I know that only a few years later, physical strength would take a backseat to the mental, emotional, and – most importantly – spiritual strength, needed to be a good husband and father. When your wife or children are hurting, when your marriage or family experiences an unforeseen trial, when your family is looking to you for strength, the amount you lift in the gym couldn’t be more irrelevant. At that moment what’s needed is mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. A strength the family can draw on. A strength that can help lift the family like it used to lift some barbell. When a wife is discouraged, defeated, or depressed, she doesn’t need a man who can bench press 300 pounds, but she does need a husband who can say, “Please let me pray for you. Would you like me to read a few psalms to you? I know this is a really difficult time, but with the Lord’s help I know we can make it through this.”

Author: Scott LaPierre

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