Husbands do not need a parent. But that does not stop wives from employing mothering tendencies in marriage.
The last few days I have been asking God to help me release my husband to be all He created him to be. I am like most wives; I love stability and working routines, and dislike uncertainties.
So while I pray that God would work amazing things in my husband’s life, I also quake at what that might mean for my life and our marriage.
I was thinking about my tendencies the other day and the word “mothering” came to mind.
Mothering is what we do for our offspring. It is also what one adult does to another when they want things to go their way.
It might be camouflaged as love or concern but it is anything but. A wife who mothers her husbands is actually thinking about herself.
We don’t like to admit it but being a “helicopter wife” – hovering too closely, rescuing him out of every situation real or imagined, playing god, overcompensating for shortcomings – is about our comfort and convenience, not his.
In the true sense, we want our husband to be safe or happy or controlled so we can feel safe, comfortable or in control.
Even when “parenting our spouse” appears positive, – wanting good things to happen in his life, never the uncomfortable – the bottom line is; we are worried about what will happen to us if something happens to him.
However, God does not call us to a comfortable life
If you have walked with God for any length of time, you quickly learn that His highest purpose is not safety, but faithfulness regardless of what is going on around you.
To grow in God, we will face the unknown, wrestle in our faith, ask questions, experience pain and discomfort; and all these things work to draw us into a deeper relationship with God.
Romans 5: 1 – 5 says
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
A wife who mothers her husband will desire to remove suffering from his life, thereby short-circuiting his growth.
There’s nothing wrong with praying blessings and peace over your man but there are times God will stir you for more.
For example, instead of praying for comfort, you might need to pray for a holy discomfort in his life. In place of peace, a new hunger and thirst.
In place of success, you will pray for God’s stripping of everything that has taken his attention. Instead of more, God may ask you to pray for less, so your husband may know God is all He needs.
These are hard thoughts even to consider. I tremble when God asks me to do hard things. But He has taught me, (and always reminds me) that I can overcome my timidity and fear – if I am honest about them – and pray in line with His will.
For God to do a deeper thing in our lives and relationship, we have to be willing to change the script we live by.
More than anything, be ready to flow in the Spirit, pray difficult prayers, as the Lord leads us. And accept that such prayers will possibly mean discomfort in our lives and marriage.
My bold prayers
My husband was telling me something the other day and turned out what he was sharing was an “answer” to some of my bold prayers.
Regardless, I hard to bite down a quick response, meant to ease his worries (imagined worries) when I realized that I was actually trying to calm my own heart, not his.
Like most guys, my husband is a stoic dude, and when he talks, he’s not looking for sympathy.
So now I have added a new prayer; that God will help me stay out of the way as He works in my husband’s life.
Here are two things we need to do, to clip the mothering tendencies resident in all of us
Allow him to reap the consequences of his actions.
I receive emails from wives who are working hard to make a difficult marriage work. Unfortunately, some of their actions are not helping their relationships.
A few years ago, I listened to a man who had strayed away from his family through an affair. He confessed that the best thing his wife did for their marriage was to take the kids and move in with her parents.
He said, “She showed me that she could live without me.”
I am not suggesting you run out if your husband has had an affair (yes, affairs can happen even in the early years of marriage).
I am proposing that you learn how to get out of the way, as the Lord shows you, so your husband can grow.
Stop cleaning up after him. Don’t cover up his sin. Be willing to treat your husband like the adult he is. Step out of the way so God can have His full way
2. Welcome stretching
It’s easy to pray big bold prayers “Lord help my husband live for you, no matter the cost. Ignite a holy hunger in his heart for more of your kingdom purpose”
Until he comes home and tells you how he plans to wipe your savings with a trip to a developing country. So, as you pray big things, also ask God to grow your capacity. Be ready to release your husband to dream outside your box.
Honestly, some things my husband dreams about, I come along by faith. I don’t know how he plans to make it work, but hey he ain’t asking me either.
So I am learning to cheer him happily, without feeling like I have to be his Holy Ghost. We are a team, and I share my thoughts and opinions. Too much in fact.
But ultimately I realize that whatever God puts in his heart to do, He will help him achieve it.
You might be married to a quieter, unassuming man (I am married to one). Introverts are not loud or boisterous so you have to reeeeally lean in to know what is in their heart.
One word from your lips can either encourage or suspend a dream. You are their safe environment, wherever they choose to tell you what they are dreaming about.
Most men tend to open up side-to-side, as opposed to face to face. So while you are doing something else, you might want to ask casually “what are you dreaming about?”
There might be a long pause, a goofy response (like, “you, minus that T-shirt). Or simply one sentence that you can take to your prayer closet.
Will you join me in prayer?
Let us ask God to help us release our guys to be all He created them to be.
Lord Jesus, I realize I cannot be the wife you want me to be without your help. Thank you for this wonderful position of wifehood, this beautiful grace to be a helpmate and friend to _____ (insert your husband’s name). You are my husbands Father, and you know how to parent him.
Today I release my husband to you. I ask you to invade His life in a new way. I repent of my sin where out of my fears and ignorance I have tried to mother him and thereby impeded your plan for his life. Lord, I pray you would help me stay out of your way. I am a helpmate not a parent to my husband.
Dear Lord, help me do my job and allow You to do yours. I repent of my fears; these that cause me to intervene when I shouldn’t. I repent of my doubt which has caused me to trust my abilities instead of yours. I repent for my lack of faith in you which has me playing helicopter wife to my husband. Father help me, anchor me in faith.
Help me see how you see, help me trust you completely with my husband’s life. I no longer want to pray safe prayers. I want to bold faith and prayers to bubble from heart. I want to risk in hope, to encourage and fan a burning desire for all you’ve called him to be no matter the cost. Help me not hold him back with my fears.
Give me a new sensitivity to hear and call out the brave and great in him. Help me believe in him as much as you believe in him. I thank you for the wonderful gift of marriage and the amazing blessing of wifehood. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen
Struggling with mothering tendencies in marriage? My book might help! I wrote Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early of Marriage Years for the newlywed and early-wed wife who longs for a great marriage but struggles to cultivate the mindset necessary for a thriving marriage. If you are an imperfect girl married to an imperfect guy, this book is for you! Click here to find more information, including the purchase links.
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