Husbands, there are a lot of lies in life. One of the most powerful I’ve run into is a simple statement: “if only”.

I’m a couple weeks into having another little boy in my house I’m reminded how tempting it can be step back from the daily battle of fighting for families and take a couple plays off. I find that I begin to dwell on an “if only” mindset.

Life would be good…if only…

This mindset is poison. It’s a lie that eats away at your heart until you begin to resent the very things God has called you into marriage for. Namely:

to be a part of a beautiful picture of God’s love for us that is the covenant of marriage.

Sometimes the temptation to just step back and escape can be overwhelming. Suddenly a couple hours with a video game, a football game, or heck even a good board game can draw our  focus and heart to the point that we are not present to pray and support my families.

These last weeks with our two boys at home I’ve come with all sorts of arguments to justify me taking a breather from being an active, prayerful husband:

  • I’m tired. (yes, I know I didn’t have the baby, but I’m still tired!)
  • I’ve done a lot of good things to help my wife out, so I deserve this.
  • I need some me time (it could be true, but not for gaming)
  • It’ll help me be more present if I take care of me first.

I’ve got more, but I’ll stop there.

All of these are lies.

Here’s an easy way to know if what your telling yourself is true. Ask yourself this question:

Do I look at my problems (sleep, time, personal time, stress) and then insert an “if only” statement that doesn’t include Jesus?

  • If only I had a little more rest
  • if only I could watch the game on sunday
  • if only I had a few hours to game on my own
  • if only people cared about how I was feeling
  • if only…

There is a time and a place for rest, relaxation, quality time, personal care. Yet the “if only” attitude is a signal that while you have real needs, your current attitude is not going to help you fix them.

The only real fix for any of our “if only” problems is Jesus. Jesus came as the ultimate “if only”.

  • If only God loved me enough to do something about this life I live. (John 3:15-16)
  • If only God could save me from myself and the stupid things I do (Romans 7:24-25)
  • If only I could have another chance and start over, despite my mistakes (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In light of this we don’t need to try harder to love our families, to fail less, to do better. Christ lived a perfect life for us, died our death so we don’t have to, so our hearts can be changed. We are told we need to repent of our brokenness and believe he can finish his work in us even though we are so screwed up.

Here’s the beautiful truth of the Gospel and our salvation from the “if only” of life:

  • Because only Jesus could do it, He did it.
  • Because Jesus has done it, we can have freedom to love in this life now.
  • Because he offers it freely, all of us can be what we were called to be: fully satisfied in God.

And for husbands, that means only in Christ we can be functioning examples of the grace of God to those around us.