The Cross, The Couch And That Old Georgia Pine

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Meet in the middle.

Beneath that old Georgia pine.

Those two lines made the country music band Diamond Rio a lot of money in the 90s. The song was about a man and a woman both pulling their share of the weight in their relationship. The part about the Georgia pine was added because there’s a federal law stating that all country music songs must say something about Georgia.

Meeting in the middle might make for a pretty good song but it’s a terrible approach to marriage.

People get bent all out of shape when the Bible says things about men being the leaders in the home (Ephesians 5:22-27; Colossians 3:18). They conjure up images of lazy, even violent men laying on the couch and guzzling beer while their wives quietly bring them another plate of fish sticks and tater tots.

Nothing could be further from the Bible’s picture of a husband’s leadership. A husband who loves and leads like Jesus will be more interested in serving than being served. He won’t be content with doing his half and waiting in the middle while his wife pulls her fair share.

He’ll be a lot like another man who I used to see sitting on the couch a lot.

He wasn’t sitting there alone. His wife was next to him. He was alert and engaged. She usually seemed disinterested. He was well-dressed. Her clothes were sloppy and stained. And at the end of each day’s visit, the man would get up from that couch and go back to his home. Alone. The woman would stay at the nursing home.

That man waved goodbye to meeting in the middle a long time ago.

And the man who loves his wife enough to lead her will follow that example.

He’ll get out of bed to check on the screaming baby, even though it’s not his turn.

He’ll pray for God’s wisdom to guide him through each day’s tough decisions, especially the ones that he wishes he didn’t have to make.

He’ll embrace those decisions with confidence, rather than leaving all of the heavy lifting to his wife.

And he’ll accept responsibility when his plan turned out to not be the right one.

In the same passage that tells wives to submit to their husbands, men are told to love their wives, “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ did not demonstrate his love for the church by doing his part and waiting on us to do ours. Instead, “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8) he went all of the way. Way beyond meeting in the middle. He gave himself. Even to the point of death. Death on a cross.

And the man who loves his wife enough to lead her will follow that example.

Husbands, maybe our marriages would start to look a little better if we stopped impatiently waiting in the middle, beneath that old Georgia pine, for our wives to finally do their half. What if we started to actually follow the example of Jesus?

We would do well to follow the example of a man who hung on a cross in the place of his bride to take on the full wrath of God.

And the example of a man sitting on a couch in a nursing home.

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