Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: The Secret Revealed - David Ledbetter

How to be a great husband. The secret revealed.

There is no secret. There is no one secret, tip or answer that is going to magically create the best husband in the world, but there is a book!

The Good Book — La Biblia! The Bible.

Stop trying to be a great husband and begin being a great Christian. In this Book, there is a lot of incredible, life-giving advice as to how to be a good husband. In fact, every single (and yes, I mean every single) time that I find myself in a rut in our marriage, it’s because I didn’t take to heart the words given to me in the Bible.

Listen, marriage is freaking awesome. Honestly, there are times when it’s tough, and there will be times when you look across the room and say, “What were we thinking!?” Then, maybe not even an hour later, you’ll be like, “Oh yes. I remember now…”

The funny thing about these “aha” moments is that they simply show us our humanness.  What’s so awesome about God is that He never forgets why He loves us. He just does. It’s almost like when you meet a new puppy and the puppy just adores you and, of course, you adore it as well. All you want in that happy moment is a new puppy! Forget the price. Down with the shots! I’m taking this slobbery bundle-of-fur home because he loves me.

It doesn’t matter what we’ve done.

Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Your wife or husband is going to mess up thousands of times. And you’re going to mess up even more (see what I did there?). But grace is necessary in faith, so one extremely important step in being a Christ-centered spouse is showing grace.

“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” — Romans 5:20

Elizabeth and I always hear marriage counselors, friends, mentors, etc., mention the passages and 1 Corinthians and Ephesians, where marriage is explicitly talked about. If you haven’t read these passages, please start there. It’s 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5:22-33. But I wanted to bring up the Ephesians chapter because it is vital to this idea of what really makes a healthy, God-honoring marriage.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, His Body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” — Ephesians 5:22-28

Straightforward. Maybe a little confusing at times? How does this work on a daily basis, right?

Maybe the previous chapter (with the EXACT SAME VERSE NUMBERS) can help us out:

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin.’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” — Ephesians 4:22-28

And just to make another point: The renewal of the mind is mentioned all throughout Scripture.  Try Romans 12:2 for another example, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Being a great, God-honoring, faith-focused spouse is not something that just happens. Rather, it is a continual process where failure is imminent. We’re not perfect, but the more we can let Christ work on our behalf and surrender our selfish desires, expectations, unfruitful wants, worry, pride, lusts, and on and on and on, the better we can walk in the Spirit and be the kind of spouse that reflects God’s love.

Marriage really only has one true purpose: to bring people to Christ. If God is not in your marriage, that can’t happen. Pushing God out of the picture eliminates the opportunity to accomplish that sole purpose! When both spouses have Christ as the center (and this is such a Sunday school answer, but it’s the truth) everything will work itself out. It’s not because that’s just the answer to everything, but it’s because every struggle on the earth is so small in comparison to the weight of God’s infinite glory and His abounding grace! The struggles and problems that rise up each day can be shrugged off. Now, there will be times of great despair, times of great turmoil and confusion, but take courage, you will get through it. Everything has its own time (Ecclesiastes 3), but Jesus came so that it’s all already taken care of (John 16:33).

Always remember God cares more about the heart than anything else. If the heart aligns in righteousness, the actions will line up. Dive into the Word and let God change you on a consistent, spiritual level. Being a great spouse must first start with the desire to be a great spouse. But now you know what it takes, so now it’s time to get it done.

You’ll fail. There will be yelling. Tears are a guarantee. But smiles will abound all the more, and so will laughs! One day at a time, one decision at a time. But first, seek Christ.

David Ledbetter, pitcher in the Texas Rangers’ organization