What a Loving Husband Looks Like
About the Guest
What does a loving husband look like? Find out by joining us for today’s broadcast when Wayne Grudem, professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, paints us a portrait of the loving leader.
What does a loving husband look like?
What a Loving Husband Looks Like
Bob: Dr. Wayne Grudem remembers facing a difficult decision: Should he take a new, less prestigious job in a different city so that his wife can experience some possible health benefits from being in a different climate? That’s when Dr. Grudem says God spoke to him through his Word.
Dr. Grudem: By virtue of a discipline of daily reading through the Bible in my own personal devotions, on that very day on which the consideration of this possibility was very much the focus of our minds, I came to Ephesians 5:28: “Even so, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.”
Bob: This is FamilyLifeToday for Wednesday, January 5th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Dr. Wayne Grudem shares with us today an illustration of what loving and leading looks like in marriage.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. If you were going to put a list together of really smart people who have been on FamilyLife Today, this is one of the guys who would be on the list, don’t you think?
Dennis: Chuck Colson, Wayne Grudem, Bob Lepine . . .
Bob: Yeah. No.
Dennis: Our listeners know. They know.
Bob: Yes, they do know, and they know that if you got Wayne Grudem and Chuck Colson, it drops many notches before you get to Bob Lepine.
Bob: I had the opportunity earlier this year to fly out and spend some time in Phoenix with Dr. Grudem, who teaches at Phoenix Seminary. We had gone out there with a film crew because we were filming a story for our new video event called The Art of Marriage. Dr. Grudem had a story that he had shared with us on FamilyLife Today. It’s actually the story our listeners are going to hear him tell today. But we thought this story needs to be a part of what we present to viewers in The Art of Marriage video event. I should probably explain what The Art of Marriage video event is, don’t you think?
Dennis: I can do that. It’s a six-hour video conference that is hosted by individuals, by couples, by sometimes a pastor, although we’ve designed this really so we don’t add anything to a pastor’s load. We actually want to deploy lay men and women, people who are in the pews to grab hold of this tool and to bring it to their neighborhoods, their churches, their businesses, their communities, maybe join together with multiple churches in a smaller community, and host this and show it. Invite couples to come spend a Friday night and most of Saturday to experience the biblical blueprints for building a marriage and a family.
Bob: And we’ve already got hundreds of churches and locations that have signed up and said, “On Valentine’s weekend this year we’re going to host an Art of Marriage event Friday night and Saturday.” You can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com and click on The Art of Marriage link. You type in your zip code and you can find out where the nearest Art of Marriage video event is being hosted.
Dennis: And, if there’s not one near you, then you can click on a spot and sign up your location and begin to work and see if you can’t bring it to, you know, your basement – if you’ve got a good flat screen TV down in the basement maybe –
Bob: All you need is . . .
Dennis: I’m not talking about a trashy basement. I’m talking about a playroom or a theatre, Bob. Somewhere that’s got the ability with speakers to really experience a high-quality production.
Bob: All you need is a pretty good screen – so that’s either a projector and a screen or a monitor, some speakers, a handful of couples – I mean, you can have four or five couples or you can have ten or twenty couples –
Dennis: You’re going to need some chairs.
Bob: That’s right. And manuals.
Bob: We’ve got manuals for each person attending. But all the details are on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. You click on The Art of Marriage link and it will tell you how to host an event, or where to attend an event. You can see some film clips from The Art of Marriage. We’re really excited about that Valentine’s weekend premiere of The Art of Marriage. We’ve had some folks who have already previewed this; they’ve given us very favorable feedback on the event, and . . .
Dennis: That’s putting it mildly. They said this is all-time. This is a great experience.
Bob: And one of the stories we tell in The Art of Marriage video event is a story that Dr. Wayne Grudem shared with us. It’s really his story, and it’s in the section of the video conference where we’re talking about what it means for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and what it means for a wife to respect her husband.
Dr. Grudem is maybe the leading scholar alive on that subject in Scripture. He has looked at what the Bible has to say about this issue in every portion of Scripture, published papers on this. Of course, he’s best known for his Systematic Theology on the whole of the Bible.
Dennis: He’s a seminary professor.
Bob: We wanted to get his expertise on the subject, but not just his expertise. We wanted to get his own living example of what it looks like for a husband to love his wife well. What our listeners are going to hear today is an expanded version of the story that is featured in about a five-minute clip in The Art of Marriage. Here is Dr. Wayne Grudem:
Dr. Grudem: Ephesians 5:28 says, “Even so, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” For several years my wife Margaret has lived with almost constant pain. This is due to fibromyalgia, a disease that gives pain to major muscle groups, and for which there is presently no known cure. The pain tends to increase and diminish in unpredictable ways, but it is often weather-related. We know that for Margaret, the disease is aggravated by cold weather, as in Chicago winters, and by humidity, as in Chicago summers.
In August of 1998 some friends were talking to us, they had been talking to us and they said, “We have an empty home, a second home that we’re going to use for a retirement home in Mesa, Arizona. If you’d like to take a vacation there, please feel free to do so.” And we did, and we found that Margaret felt much better in the hot, dry climate in the Phoenix area. We returned two other times, in the winter and in the spring, and it was always the same, the pain was substantially eliminated.
At one point Margaret went on a bike ride with me, the first time she had ridden a bike in 12 years, and I remember her saying, “I’d forgotten how much fun this is.” As we talked I said, “Margaret, it would be great to move here, but there’s no job for me here. There’s no seminary in the Phoenix area, and frankly, I’m not trained to do anything else but teach in a seminary.”
Then a few days later for some reason Margaret was looking through the Yellow Pages and she said, “Wayne, there’s something here called Phoenix Seminary.” (Laughter) We literally found it in the Yellow Pages. Well eventually I phoned the academic dean, Steve Tracey, and asked if he might someday have an opening for someone to teach systematic theology. It wasn’t a large seminary; including the academic dean it had three full time faculty members. But they seemed interested in the possibility of my coming there.
Well then we went to Arizona for a fourth time, in September, and we were more seriously talking to the seminary. I met with some people on campus, and on September 19th, when we were in the middle of this process of thinking whether this might be right, I came, by virtue of a discipline of daily reading through the Bible in my own personal devotions, on that very day in which the consideration of this possibility was very much the focus of our minds, I came to Ephesians 5:28. “Even so, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” I thought, “If I were living with the pain in my body that Margaret is living with, would I move for the sake of my health?” And I thought, “Yes I would.”
Well if I am to love my wife as I love my own body, then shouldn’t I move for the sake of Margaret’s health as well? It seemed to me that that was the unmistakable implication of this verse. So I was convinced that we should move, but there was a problem. Margaret was not convinced. She did not believe that physical ailments were a reason to give up a ministry that God was blessing.
She had read stories like the story of Mary Slessor, who went to Africa with her own coffin. She went to serve and die. And she had read stories of other missionaries, who had given their lives in the Lord’s service. She thought it was wrong for us to move and for me to relinquish the ministry that God had given me for twenty years now at Trinity, simply for the sake of health – for the sake of her physical health. So then I came to realize that this situation that we had reached was God’s blessing on our marriage. I wanted to move for her sake, she wanted to stay for my sake.
Then I realized in fact more fully, looking back on it, that in that process God was allowing us to redo a decision- making process by which we had moved to Trinity from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1981.
You see when I had an invitation to come and at that time teach New Testament at Trinity, later moved into systematic theology. When I had an invitation to come, it was so exciting to me, I thought God wanted me to teach at a seminary and it was a calling that he had offered to me. Though I had asked Margaret what she thought, honestly, I didn’t listen much at all. Looking back on that I think that I failed to understand that though the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, a well-functioning head has ears.
And in spite of, I think, some inappropriateness in the way I forced through the decision, God did bring blessing to our time at Trinity, and we are thankful for that.
But now 20 years later, God was allowing us to work through it again, and now I was listening to Margaret and caring for her, the head had ears, and she was sacrificing her own comfort and even her health to support and encourage my ministry. But we were at an impasse, we didn’t agree.
Then something changed. I said to Steve Tracey, the academic dean at Phoenix, “I think it would be right for us to come here, but I’m not going to force that decision, and Margaret doesn’t think it would be right to give up the ministry that I have at Trinity.” Then he said, “You know Wayne, that’s interesting, because we’ve been talking, and we think if you would come here, we would like you to be a research professor with a reduced teaching load, more time to write, and we think that your writing ministry is a stewardship that we want to nurture and encourage.” There were a number of things that he talked about in that regard.
When Margaret heard that she thought, “You know, this might be perhaps a slightly different ministry, but perhaps an enhancement as well to the ministry that God had given to me.” And she said, “All right, I have decided what I think about this question of whether to go to Phoenix Seminary. I have decided I am going to trust you to make the right decision.”
At that very moment I felt the heavy weight of that responsibility, but it also felt very right, and very biblical. I’m the husband; I have a responsibility for leadership in my family. I could not pass that responsibility to anyone else. It seemed to me that through the whole process a biblical pattern of marriage was working itself out rightly in the process.
So I called Phoenix Seminary on that day, and said I would come in good faith for a full interview. One thing led to another. I was honest with them when I got there, and the first question from the faculty was, “Why would you want to come here?” I said, “Let me make it very clear at the outset. If it were not for my wife’s health, I would not be talking to you.” But as we talked, it seemed that there were many ways in which God had prepared this seminary for me.
“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her. That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so (that pathos means just as Christ did,) even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies, he who loves his wife, loves himself. I don’t believe that there is any conflict between following Ephesians 5, “husbands love your wives,” and following God’s call for your ministry.
I want to say thanks to God himself. He has given me a wonderful privilege of serving at Trinity for twenty years. He has given me another privilege: the privilege of serving him in a new place, and throughout it all, for 31 years now, he has given me the privilege of being married to the most wonderful wife you can imagine, a wife who deeply loves God, who prays, and who loves me as well. Margaret, I love you so much, and I thank God for you.
So I say with David, as I hope you can say every day of your life, “Who am I, oh Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far? To God alone be glory.”
Bob: Well, we have been listening together to Dr. Wayne Grudem as he spoke at a chapel service at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, addressing students and faculty. Many of the staff there, many of the professors, they understood what it meant for Wayne Grudem to step down from his position at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School as the head of the Department of Theology, and to move to Phoenix with his wife, Margaret. From a career standpoint, that was not a forward move.
Dennis: No, in fact I wish each of you, as a listener could know Wayne Grudem. Here is a man who holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge, arguably one of the leading New Testament scholars in the world, brilliant. He’s forgotten more than I ever learned. But what you have just heard, what a tender love story, of the knowledge of Scripture not puffing up a heart, but lowering that heart in wisdom to serve his wife. I love the way he concluded, “To God be the glory.” That is where it belongs, it really is where it belongs.
And for every man who’s listening right now, I’ve got a question for you. Are you willing to ask your wife the following question, “Sweetheart, is there anything I need to do to communicate to you that I love you, that I care for you and that you are indeed, a treasure, a gift from God to me?”
I would challenge every husband to ask his wife that question, and if his wife doesn’t need a 911 call to resuscitate her at that point, be very careful to listen to what your wife says in response to that immediately, or maybe a couple of days later, because she may need to think about it for a while. Our wives need to feel loved, as Margaret Grudem felt loved by her husband Wayne.
Bob: When Wayne and Margaret shared this story in The Art of Marriage video conference, and we see them interacting and reflecting back on how God led them in this moment, it is interesting for me to watch the faces of the husbands and wives. I think it really puts flesh on a biblical concept. You know, we can talk about how a husband is supposed to love . . .
Bob: . . . he’s supposed to lead. This gives you an example of how that plays out in a marriage relationship. We’ve had the opportunity with The Art of Marriage video event, which is a six-session video event that we’ve put together for lay men and women to host in local churches or in communities, a Friday night and Saturday event. It’s kind of a condensed version of the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway that is portable and easy to put together.
Dennis: You actually designed this, Bob, for individuals to be able to do this and bring to their communities.
Bob: Well, we designed it because there were a lot of communities where they live hours away from the nearest Weekend to Remember marriage getaway . . .
Dennis: Which only comes around once a year.
Bob: That’s right. And they kept saying to us, “We wish there was some way we could do a conference, a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, in our community, and we said, “Well, let’s see if we can give you something that would be not the exact same event, but many of the key principles presented in a fresh, new way. And that’s what we’ve tried to do with The Art of Marriage video event.
Of course, it’s kicking off in communities all around the country on Valentine’s weekend, 2-11-11, Friday night and Saturday. We’re excited about the tens of thousands of couples who are going to go out that weekend for what we think is going to be a great weekend experience for them. This really is like no video event you’ve ever seen before.
Dennis: It isn’t. And it’s designed for you and your spouse to host this and bring this to your neighborhood, your church, your community, perhaps your business. We’ve done it in such a way, as you’ve already mentioned, Bob, that it really makes it very easy for a layman to go online to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link to The Art of Marriage.
I’d encourage you to watch the trailer. It’s about three-and-a-half minutes. You’ll get an idea of the compelling nature of the video, the story that’s told, the different techniques used to keep attention and also to teach. It’s not a talking-head video; it’s a fresh approach that interviews a number of experts from around the country.
Dr. Grudem is one of them. I think it’s going to make a huge difference in a number of communities around the country where folks who listen to this broadcast have friends who are going through difficulty in their marriage, or they’re thinking about “How can we make a difference in the marriages and families in our community? We’re really tired of seeing divorce and the breakup of the family take its toll in our children’s lives and in their friends. So we want to bring it to our community. We want to bring it to our church.”
So I’d just challenge you: Go online to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on The Art of Marriage link, and sign up, you and your spouse, to become a host of this event for your community.
Bob: And you can go online and find out if it’s already being hosted in your community and just sign up to attend, even if it’s at a church that’s not the church you go to. You can sign up and join them and be a part of The Art of Marriage weekend. You’ll get a manual that’s more than 100 pages of articles and information and projects for you to do as you go through the event.
Again, all of the details can be found online at FamilyLifeToday.com when you click on The Art of Marriage link. Or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800 “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “Today,” and you can get more information over the phone about The Art of Marriage.
I mentioned that there are video clips that are up. One of the clips that’s available online is the story that you’ve heard today, in video form, with Wayne and Margaret Grudem. So check that out online at FamilyLifeToday.com when you click on the link to The Art of Marriage.
Dennis: And if you pray for us, which I hope you do, would you pray for the hundreds of events that will be scheduled on February 11 and even beyond that date, and the tens of thousands of people who are going to be attending these? There are going to be a lot of marriages, a lot of individuals who meet Jesus Christ person to person and come into a personal relationship with him because this event does contain the gospel. It introduces people into how they can have a personal relationship with Christ.
Bob: That’s right. Once again our website: FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also get in touch with us by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY. Now tomorrow, we’re going to spend some time talking about love and romance and passion. We’ll listen in on a question and answer time that listeners had with Dennis and Barbara Rainey and me a while back as we talked about romance in marriage. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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