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My wife makes clear I’m in 2nd place — and I’m glad about that

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It was as simple as refused cheesecake, but the message she sent was much deeper.

The other night, my wife and I went out for dinner. It had been a long week, and with seven young kids at home, we relish the opportunities for quiet conversation and a meal that doesn’t start with sorting through leftovers in the fridge. Beyond the engaging, intimate interaction, dinner out also affords us the opportunity to eat foods that we normally forego, given that our diet is pretty natural these days. Although I only eat desserts or sweets on special occasions and holidays, a night out with my bride means I am free to eat anything—including a big slice of cheesecake.

I asked my wife if she would like to share a dessert, but she declined the invitation, indicating that she gave up sweets for Lent. I persisted, and she said that I should go ahead and order it, which I did. But when it arrived at the table, I realized there had been a miscommunication. She meant I should get it, but that she was going to stick with her Lenten commitment.

Suddenly, I was staring at a big hunk of tasty calories, but I realized that I would be alone in devouring it. My first reaction was to bemoan her holding steadfast to her Lenten promise. But, of course I ate it, and although it wasn’t as good as a piece shared, it wasn’t an opportunity to let pass by.

Days later, I found myself reflecting on this moment, and I realized that in her own way, she was sending me a message. The message was simple—I love you lots, but I love Him more. At the time of the cheesecake incident, I was feeling a bit annoyed, and somewhat humbled, that she wouldn’t just bend her resolve a bit for me. But I knew that she was doing what we both keep professing: living for Him first.

Whether in mundane, trivial situations or in monumental, life-changing ones, it is easy for us to forget that as Christians, we pledge first to be the person that God calls us to be. Although for many of us that includes being a devoted husband or a caring mother, the particular calls and demands of our day don’t always coalesce nicely with the covenant we have with our Creator. This is why Christ warned us that sometimes he is here to bring division; not for division’s sake, but for what is necessary that His will be done.

Which brings me back to that cheesecake and an otherwise forgettable moment. Although there are times I am annoyed by my wife’s ardent faith, it is also one of the qualities that I love about her the most, and it is definitely the one that makes me feel secure and at peace in being with her. I know what her alpha and omega is, and in all uncertainties of life, it gives me great comfort in knowing that she is grounded in something much more stable and enduring than, well, me.

Any aggravation that I feel is superseded by the solace of knowing that she is committed to Him first, then me. Even if that means eating cheesecake alone.

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