146/365 days of blogging.
Guest blog comes to you from April over at Peacefulwife’s Blog. For the next few blogs, I am going to post a series of her blogs that tell how to have a Godly marriage.
Early in our marriage, I actually did get some things right. I was usually very controlling and took over things because I thought I HAD to. The real problem was that I was too impatient to wait more than about 5 minutes and would swoop in and take over. But
I DID go along with the Respected Husband’s decisions when he would occasionally put his foot down about something. I usually asked a lot of questions and tried to persuade him to do what I wanted to do, since I KNEW I was “right”- but I would concede eventually. I did ask him permission for things and abide by his answer. But I often did NOT do it with a joyful or peaceful heart. In fact, if I did not get my way, I would pout and cry and make sure that my husband knew I did not agree with him. I didn’t understand how to accept his decision with grace, poise and maturity. I’m not proud of that now. When he was trying to exercise his God-given authority to lead in our marriage, I made things a lot more difficult for him when I didn’t agree. Now I am so thankful for the times he stood up to me. If we had done what I wanted, I would have caused some serious division in our family. But I could have accepted and supported his leadership instead of constantly questioning and resisting him.
God has brought me a LONG way from those early years- I thank Him and so does my husband! In fact, the Respected Husband tells me now how wonderful it is to see me so full of peace- that is his favorite part of this whole transformation for him. He loves to see me full of joy and at peace. And last spring, he actually asked me to teach other wives what I have learned. WOW! I cannot fathom a bigger compliment from my husband!!! So, here I am!
THIS IS SCARY, GOD!
Following a husband’s leadership can be scary – at first. Now, i wouldn’t have it any other way but for him to be in charge. But at first, i had a lot of fears, doubts and questions. He was a sinful man, after all. He’s GOING to make mistakes at times. If I take my eyes off of the sovereignty of God working and think that I am solely depending on an imperfect and sinful man to lead me where God wants me to be- I can get hung up on “what ifs” that can seem important enough that I can rationalize I should be able to override God’s commands to me as a wife for marriage.
MY OLD TEMPTATIONS -”WHY I AM EXEMPT FROM GOD’S COMMANDS TO FOLLOW MY HUSBAND AND SUBMIT TO HIS LEADERSHIP.”
- What if God wants us to give more generously to orphans, widows, the poor and needy? God does say He wants us to do that in the Bible. My husband says we are giving enough to church/charities right now. But I think we should be doing more to please God. Maybe I should give to charity X without telling my husband. After all, God wants us to give generously to those in need…. WHEW! See how spiritual a temptation to undermine my husband’s authority over me can sound? If my husband had asked me to do something illegal/immoral/sinful then I would have to respectfully tell him I can’t do things that are against God’s Word. But in this situation, the husband is deciding in his heart what he wants to give as is his right and obligation in God’s Word. “Each man should give what he has decided in his own heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) Even if my husband wasn’t a believer and decided to give nothing to God’s Church or any charity, for me to attempt to give more to God than my husband has decided to give and skirt around my husband’s authority over me is disrespectful to my husband AND to God. God does not take kindly to disrespect towards Him or towards authority He has instituted. I have found that when I have been disrespectful of my husband as my authority and complained to God about my husband’s leadership or tried to go over my husband’s head to God with a critical spirit about my husband – I don’t see God’s blessings, I don’t have His peace, and my prayers seem to hit the ceiling. It is more important for me to honor the authority structure of marriage and to maintain unity in our marriage than it is for me to get my way on a particular issue. My relationship with God and my relationship with my husband have to be my focus – not the results of specific decisions. I have to let that stuff go!
- What if God wants us to be missionaries to Africa and direct an orphanage and take care of AIDS orphans or something and my husband decides to stay here in America and work a regular job and give us a comfortable, “normal” life here? Is it possible that I could “miss out” on God’s perfect will for me because I am being held hostage by my husband’s leadership “mistakes”? This may sound far fetched, but these are really the kinds of questions I used to have. I believe that I was missing the whole concept of God’s sovereignty earlier in our marriage. If God desires us to pick up and move and do some work for Him someplace else, my God is big enough that He can turn the heart of my husband (no matter where he is spiritually at the time) and cause him to follow His will. God hardened the hearts of kings in the Bible to accomplish His will- people who had no idea Who He even was! And God caused pagan kings to come in and discipline His people in the exact manner God desired them to and put it in the hearts of kings to rebuild Israel at God’s exact timing. My God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is plenty capable of directing my husband where he wants him and our family to be when he wants us to be there. I so easily got hung up on things like this (other places and far away people that “needed my help”), instead of realizing that I am accountable for my respect and my following my husband and following God today right where I find myself at this moment. My husband is accountable for where he leads us, not me. He will stand before God and give an account of that one day. And I will have to give an account for the kind of wife I have been to my husband and how I obeyed scripture in my marriage. I pray intently for my husband to have God’s wisdom to lead us now. And then I leave things up to God and my husband to hammer out. I wait patiently. If God could spend 80 years getting Moses ready to lead His people out of Egypt, I can wait on God’s timing. God’s timing and husbands’ timing are very different from a wife’s timing. Wives usually want things done NOW. As in- I want it today, or in 30 minutes or something like that. We learn patience by waiting on the Lord and by waiting on our husbands. Now I wait patiently on God to work and to lead my husband- and I have great excitement and anticipation to see the surprises He has in store. This is an adventure every day – following my husband and following Jesus! I go on my way, taking care of my children, taking care of our home and my husband, giving respect, following My husband’s leadership and praising God. God doesn’t NEED me to do His work. He may choose to use me. But I am not the critical component here. He is!
- What if I think we should have more children or adopt a child, and my husband doesn’t want to? Can’t I press and force him on this issue? Isn’t it clearly God’s will for us to have the blessing of more children? Ah- such a sticky subject! Of course children are blessings! But any time I try to force my husband to do something, it is not a good situation. I can pray and pray about it! I can say things (occasionally) like, “I really want another baby” or “I want to think about adopting a child.” But at this stage in my life, thinking about how I used to try to force my husband to do what I wanted in the past and how things turned out- I do believe that waiting on my husband’s timing and God’s timing would be wise and bring a lot more joy to the family than trying to manipulate or force my way, thereby creating a great deal of resentment in my husband’s heart toward me, and possibly even towards the baby.
There are many other examples, too, of things wives fear and dread and decide they should take over and lead in certain areas. It can be scary to follow a husband. Butthis journey isn’t so much about me following my husband, it is really about my faith in God to work through my husband for my good, not so much about my husband’s leadership- although, his leadership grows and matures as I follow him and God allows my cheerful, joyful, cooperative biblical submission and respect to help shape the Respected Husband to become all that God desires him to be! WOW!
Now, I trust God with guiding my husband even when I can’t see where we are going. There is so much peace and joy in my heart these days- and anticipation of the surprises and miracles God has in store for us. I am not infallible. I am FAR from perfect. But I pray that you might find the blessings that come from obeying God and trusting and resting in His love and from following your husband and trusting and resting in his love, too. I pray for you to find the peace, joy and wonder of living out God’s design for your marriage!