Six months ago, on September 1st, my husband and I began a challenge that was offered by our church to drink only water for six months. During this time, we were encouraged to pray for those who do not have access to clean water and to find a way to help them (at the bottom of this blog post are ways you can get involved in this campaign too!). This was not something we jumped into lightly. In fact, we dreaded it. The reason is that I adore Diet Coke and my husband drinks a lot of teas. Neither one of us enjoys drinking water and so we knew this would challenge and stretch us. It certainly did, but there was such encouragement knowing that we were doing it together.
It was emotionally helpful to have someone walking alongside of me. My husband knew the stretch this was for me because it was a stretch for him too. When I was tempted to cheat (which happened occasionally – the temptation not the cheating, ha.) I would be honest about it and was met with an understanding ear. When I wanted to complain, there was someone who helped me to channel my complaints into prayers. It was beneficial to have my spouse be my support, for practicality, because there were no other drinks in our house. If only one of us had done this challenge, there would still be juices, teas, or sodas in the fridge adding extra temptation for the one going alone.
Yes, it was wonderful accomplishing this challenge together.
Today, on March 1st, our water-only drink option has expired. We are now free to go back to enjoying our favorite beverages. As we exit our time of mutual sacrifice, I am made aware of how hard life can be when going alone.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I am thankful for the institution of marriage because it provides a sense of unity, but even in marriage I confess that I don’t usually join in to help my husband in areas he wants to improve himself. This can apply to anything from career choices to spiritual disciplines to health goals.
For example, in January, my husband made many comments regarding his desire to cut sweets from his diet. I supported him verbally, but certainly didn’t jump in and accompany him. While I know that it would benefit my body to eat less sugar, I had a slew of excuses of why I didn’t feel the need to change my selection of food. I enjoy eating (a little too much as at times edibles can be an idol in my life). I didn’t mind if my husband wanted to skip out on desserts, but I certainly wasn’t going to. I blame my teenage years, where I was repeatedly called fat by a family member, as the reason that, as an adult, I have vowed never to diet. However, my husband wasn’t asking me to go on a diet. He never even suggested that I join him. My refusal to walk alongside of him and commit myself to eating better made his dedication even harder. I stood in his way as I continued to buy — and eat — desserts.
What a disservice to my husband.
Marriage takes team work, but so do personal goals. I have ambitions for myself that will only come to be if my husband comes alongside of me to make my dreams a reality. Same goes for him. If he wants to eat better, then what right do I have to make his mission harder? Should I not choose to give up my right to sugar in order to help him succeed? As long as my husband’s goals don’t interfere with our family’s well-being, then I need to make sure I am bending over backwards in order to partner with him.
I don’t want my husband to be the man who falls and has no one to pick him up, simply because I’m not interested in self-sacrificing.
Is there something your husband would benefit from if you committed to giving him your full support?
*Jason and I are now passionately praying for those who don’t have access to clean water. Our heart aches for them! There are many organizations that are championing this cause, but we have chosen to donate to Blood:Water Mission. They have a wonderful Lent (March 5th-April 19th) challenge where you can give up one drink a day and use that money to help save a life. Check out this specific challenge at saveadrink.org.