Determining if you are succeeding as a husband probably involves some pretty unruly psychological calculus, but today I feel like a successful husband. Why? Did my wife express her love and devotion in some particularly convincing way? Was I presented a trophy etched with "Best Hubby 2009"? Is the Internet community hanging on my every tweet to find some sage advice on being an ideal mate? Not hardly. It's for much less obvious reasons that I feel this way.
Last night, as Amy and I left church, she had a huge smile on her face and she said, "I think I've found my place".
This was the first Wednesday evening service we've attended at our new church. After the service last night, Amy and I participated in practice sessions with the church's music team for the first time. The music director and pastor have graciously agreed to let us try to work to bring a slightly more contemporary flavor to the worship music of the church. So I added my guitar to the piano and keyboard sound already present, and Amy is donating her voice to the praise music and to the choir. It was the participation with the choir that had Amy so thrilled last night.
What has Amy's happiness as a musician to do with my success as a husband? Everything. I can rest well at night knowing that I have encouraged her to serve the church in any capacity she desires and feels gifted to serve. I have worked to arrange meetings with the pastor and music director so we can research this area of service. And I have consistently recognized, praised — and even constructively criticized, when necessary — Amy's wielding of her God-given musical talents. And someday, when God blesses her obedience and service to Him in this matter, I will be able to both share in her joy (three-point shot, nothing but net) and claim some of it for myself (the assist).
Could success as a husband really just boil down to using unconditional love to guide my wife toward the likeness and service of Christ?