a word about marriage and an exhortation to wives…

My husband and I had the sweetest conversation last night.  What began as a few contemplative thoughts on traditions and holidays slowly evolved into one of those timeless moments when hearts are laid bare, as pure as they can be this side of heaven.  These conversations are the ties that bind my heart to his.  Our hearts meet there on unexpected occasions and only the Lord knows what’s taken place.  I pray you experience these times in your own marriage as they truly are some of the most precious little gems I have.

Marriage was the topic we settled on and began reflecting on some of the lessons the Lord has taught us over our thirteen years together.  It occurred to me as we studied the various marriage relationships we’ve observed that there’s really two main things that make a marriage successful or dismal.

#1 approaching your spouse with love

This may seem very silly but I bet you don’t even realize how unloving you can be.  Now that may seem harsh but bare with me here.  While this applies to men, I’m going to assume the majority of you reading this are women and, as a woman, I can only speak from my experience as such.  Don’t feel picked on, ladies.

Manipulation is the art of woman and too often we use it for evil and self-gain.  Now we don’t call it that, but that’s really what it is.  With a biting remark here, a jab of guilt there, we beat our husbands into submission or rage, damaging our marriages – all too often beyond repair.  We’ve excused these mean and hurtful attitudes with lame reasons such as fatigue, personality differences or hormones.  Let me remind you, ladies,  there is never a reason to be hateful to your husband. Here some of you might say, “you have no idea what I have to put up with!”  And to that I say, “I don’t care.”  You still have no reason to treat your husband with disrespect and hatefulness.    This leads us directly to the second item.

#2 responding to your spouse with grace

We women love to be victims.  It’s apart of the manipulation.  When our men screw up we are too quick to point it out; too happy to say, “I told you so.”  And if a man has directly hurt his wife, she’s too willing to play the victim.  Creating guilt becomes our ‘free pass’ for a bad attitude.  It would be good for us wives to remember that it’s our job to love not to judge our husbands and more than offending us, they’ve offended their God when sin has ruled them.   It’s not that we want to be hateful, we’re just very often too lazy and too self-loving to put more effort into loving and respecting our husbands the way Christ requires.    When sin abounds in our husbands, grace needs to abound in us.

I know this all sounds mean and harsh but society has allowed us as women to walk all over men with no repercussions.  Unfortunately, we’ve been completely duped.  There are consequences to every action.  Our freedom to berate and emasculate the men in our lives has given us men who have no interest in leading their families or being loving to their wives.  More often, they become men who stay boys well into their thirties (and sometimes beyond!), playing video games and skirting anything that resembles work or responsibility.  gen316Men who are constantly nagged and disrespected will get tired of trying and will eventually give up.  The curse in Genesis 3:16 was for all womankind.   When the scriptures say “your desire will be for your husband, but he will rule over you” it’s easy to misunderstand what’s being said.  Your desire will be to rule him, to be in charge and boss him around.  “But he will rule over you.”

You were cursed from the get-go ladies, so this is something you have to work at.  No, it’s not easy and no, you may not see much fruit from your labors.  Nevertheless, you are called to respect your husband and he is called to lead you.  When you don’t fulfill your role, it becomes nearly impossible for him to fulfill his.

You see, as a submitting wife, you really do have much power in your marriage.  You don’t have to take it by force.  Your commitment to loving and honoring your husband as the God-appointed leader of you and your home is an extremely powerful tool to wield.  (forgive my geekiness here but) It’s the lightsaber of marital, spiritual warfare – “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”  With precision, goodness and little struggle you can control the direction of your marriage.  Why would you so quickly lay it down for a clumsy, random blaster like nagging, manipulation, or meanness?  These point-and-shoot weapons lack accuracy and often backfire.  They don’t give desired results because they do too much damage to the target.

When your husband fails to love you – this is when it’s most important for you to respect him.  When you fail to respect your husband – this is when you will most need his love.

I’ve  found that when a marriage is successful this trade of grace is always present.  Not every marriage is alike and not every husband is the perfect mate to every wife.  If the Lord has given you a husband, trust that the Lord is wise and good.  He knows that you need the sort of grace your husband is capable of giving and your husband needs the grace the Lord has equipped you to give.

Be willing to love your husband… especially when he fails.  This will make your marriage fruitful.

-knittingprose

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