The Apprentice: Perfect Husband
By Kizzy Katawonga, Uganda:
I am a husband.
To a woman.
The same woman for the last 7 years.
I can safely speak with some authority on the subject of being a husband.
Being a husband is one of the most rewarding, joyous and fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my life.
It is also one of the hardest, bloody things I’ve ever had to do.
And it is hard for one simple reason.
My wife is the most amazing, gifted, multifaceted woman I’ve ever met. Period.
From the moment I met her, 11 years ago, I knew in an instant I needed to step up my game to a whole new level.
The more I got to know her the more I realized that I didn’t really know myself.
The thing I most admire about her is her absolute sense of self. She is so assured in herself and acts with a confidence and boldness that I’ve never had.
Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking. I don’t deserve her. But she’s mine, so eat that. Hah!
But yes, she deserves a far better man than I. She deserves a smart, wise, patient, strong, good, generous, confident, wealthy, deeply spiritual man of character.
She deserves a man who totally understands her deepest needs, who isn’t intimidated by her richness, who is secure in his identity, whose highest priority after his God is her.
Basically she deserves a perfect husband.
“My wife wants Jesus as a husband” is what I thought.
As a result, being married to her was hard because I set an impossible standard of perfection to live by. It is humanly impossible for a man to love their wife like Christ.
Oh how miserable I made our relationship by trying to be perfect.
Fear was a constant companion as I was paralysed by over analysis and indecision over every choice, thinking I had to be perfect in my thoughts and actions to match her awesomeness.
There are some things you can only learn through pain. No amount of advice can get some things through our thick skulls.
It has taken me many nights of crying like a little boy to learn that although my wife deserves a perfect husband, she doesn’t NEED one.
It was my own insecurity and fears that led me to conclude I needed to be perfect in order for her to love me and be happy. The harder I tried the worse the results.
I’ve come to see that my wife needs a husband who is the best version of himself, who strives to be better every day. She needs a husband who has fears and flaws but doesn’t let them define him.
She doesn’t need a perfect husband she needs a present husband, who walks with her every day, growing with her, making mistakes and getting up, better each time.
She needs a husband who doesn’t try to be Christ but rather one who surrenders himself to Christ, allowing His love to flow through him; not one who tries to force that love through will.
It’s ironic that I’ve always known that pursuit of perfection in anything is a dangerous road rife with stress, frustration and unfulfilled effort.
The better road is to strive for excellence, be the best you can be with the knowledge and resources presently at your disposal.
That means you won’t always get it right because you don’t have the right information or know how to love your wife in that moment. But you will learn and keep getting better.
Be gracious to yourself as God is gracious.
Why I forgot that in my own marriage is beyond me but I am well on the way to moving away from a perfection mind-set.
The freedom in knowing that neither God nor my wife ever asked or expected me to be a perfect husband is priceless: less stress, less frustration and certainly less tears for us both.
My wife now has an imperfect but present husband who will never quit working on being the best man he can while trusting God to do the perfecting.
Because that’s what she deserves.