Most of my long time readers understand where I am coming from when I write. But some are newer to the community and may have asked a few questions.
Like, why do I write to wives only, and not to husbands?
What’s a man’s duty in marriage?
Do I believes wives are to blame for marriage problems and is that the reason I am always telling them what to do?
Should a wife do everything her husband asks her, regardless of what she feels and thinks?
Before we tackle these questions, allow me to take you behind-the-scenes, into my writer’s brain.
Whenever I write an article, I have a point to pass across; that means I don’t get cover all bases in a blog post. And sometimes that creates a problem…and we’ll get into that in a minute.
Also, to be able to write the way I do, at times I have to make certain assumptions.
Assumptions like the woman who will read the article understand (or have an idea of) her place in God; she’s cherished, loved, protected by her Maker.
That she knows being a good wife includes calling out sin and unhealthy dynamics in their spouse.
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I am not so much worried about the person who stomps away because they feel I blame wives for marriage problems.
I am more concerned for the early-wed or older wife who comes here regularly but is yet to understand the context in which I write.
So just to be clear again; wives are not always to blame for marriage issues. Husbands make a mess too (hello being human). God does not hold you responsible for your man’s behavior; we are all accountable for our responses.
If he’s refused to get a job and you are trying so hard to provide and encourage him, and he’s completely unresponsive, and you talk to his good friend or pastor, and he’s thoroughly embarrassed, it’s not your fault.
If he’s mistreating you or disrespecting you, I never said you have to be quiet about it.
Here’s the thing we need to understand about God: He loves man and woman equally
Our roles in marriage, husband setting the tone, wife partnering, are about function, not value. There are no ranks in His love.
Submission is a choice. It’s something you offer your husband, out of revelation and free will. It’s not something that can be demanded or forced out of you.
Let us look at the Ephesians 5, which talks about the husband and wife roles.
Before Paul spoke about submission for the wife and leadership for the man, he talked about submission to one another.
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Verse 21
Submission is not something required from the wife only; hubby submits too.
Paul proceeds to describe how this submission looks like for both. For the woman, it means honoring and supporting and giving of herself to her husband, as unto Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For the husband, it means preferring and cherishing his wife the same way Christ loved the Church.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.
As you look at the Scriptures, you’ll notice that both husband and wife submit and love unto Christ.
As you think about what submission means or how leadership looks like, you must look at them from the boundaries of what is pleasing to Christ.
Biblical marriage is about following a certain code, a blueprint: the Bible. The rules of the Bible apply in marriage!
When the Word says “Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32) or “you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant” (Galatians 6:7) or “you shall love no other god before me” (Exodus 20:3) that applies to our lives as spouses.
Marriage is not a bubble where we get to do anything and everything we want. There is no special interpretation, no escape hatch or loophole for couples. It’s the same Word of God applying to everyone.
Helpmate does not mean doormat.
It does not mean he’s a rank above you, and you only exist to serve every whim and want.
You and I exist to serve, worship and pursue Jesus with our husbands. If he’s not seeking Jesus and wants you to follow him on it, you draw the line right there.
If feels he can get away with things like this, if he’s demeaning, disrespectful, won’t work, is making a mess of your marriage and his life, you are supposed to do something about it. (he should do the same thing for you)
This helpmate thing we signed up for comes with responsibility. Unfortunately, that’s where we struggle, trying to define what that responsibility is and how far is too far.
Should I leave him alone or should I say something? Should I talk to my pastor? Should I push back or just keep quiet? Should I say no to sex because he’s addicted to porn and won’t seek help? Should I stop paying some bills and let him take responsibility and risk a fallout?
These are hard questions. We have to wrestle in prayer and seek God for ourselves because there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Being a helpmate means we do heavy lifting alongside our husbands. We help each other grow; we fan each others’ faith; we correct in love; we help each other become better followers of Jesus.
The goal of my post today is to affirm you, as you go about building a strong healthy marriage.
I try to cover most angles in my posts, but it’s not always possible.
So whenever you read something that does not fit your exact situation, use the Bible and the counsel of the Holy Spirit as your guide (as you always should.)
Understand context. For example, someone who visits my blog for the first time and reads this post will think I am pretty harsh with husbands, even unBiblical.
But if you read my other posts, you’ll know that’s not the case at all.
So I hope this post clarifies any doubts, encourages you and blesses your marriage.
Marriage challenges are complex and there are no one size fits all. In fact, some marriages would be at a better place if the spouses stopped trying to fit their relationship into a human mold!
If we sat down, you and me or couple-to-couple, my husband and I would have very specific things to say to you and your guy. In fact, we do just that when we meet with couples.
Blessings to you and yours!
If you are going through a very difficult season of marriage, please read this post. For more insights on how to deal with difficult marriage situations, please pick up my book Blues to Bliss and learn how to approach challenges with grace, respect and firmness. You can learn more about my book and find the purchase links here.
Sharing with Wedded Wednesday