Friday, September 27, 2013

My Calling: The Wife

"Respect is an attitude of the heart that will be displayed by our actions." Women Living Well, Courtney Joseph

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” C.S. Lewis

She brings him Good not Harm all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:21 

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. Rita Rudner

This area was a struggle for me. I went into the book with, unfortunately, an attitude of what I thought Courtney would say: women should stay home and raise their children. I assume there would be a lot of "submitting," and, well, there is. But not in the ways I expected. One of the first sentences in this part of the book that jumped out at me was "The biblical principles we apply to our marriages should be the same, but how this is carried out in our homes will look different. There are no cookie-cutter marriages." pg 57

From Ephesians 5 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Courtney writes more about Respecting our husbands, which can include submitting if there is a disagreement. But it's less about whose in charge and more about following Christ and the words Paul wrote 2000+ years ago about marriage. And it really comes down to respecting your husband. Interesting that we aren't commanded to love them!

I kind of like this. Today's world hasn't changed respect into something you "feel." Respect is something  you choose to give. Now some have taken this into something you earn. I disagree. You choose whether or not to give another person respect. Sometimes it is something earned, but more by the nature of your title. Like President of the United States -- love him (or her!) or hate him, you should still show some respect for the office and the leadership role in our country. Your boss. Your co-workers. Your pastor or choir director. Your teacher. Why are these titles easy (most of the time) to show respect to, or have people defend that you SHOULD respect them, yet your husband, not so much? The TV sitcoms that I love so much? The husband is usually the butt of the joke. TV and movies are definitely NOT the place to get marital advice!

I'd like to think I have always respected Rocky, but I know that's not the case. I have made poor decisions and not taken the issue to him, which shows a lack of trust & respect. He has always forgiven me and here we are, almost 10 years of marriage, 12 years together. Every day, I make the decision to love him and every day, I must make the decision to respect him. And every day, I pray for the wisdom and ability to do so.

Courtney has some ways to show respect to our husband:
  1. Respect his knowledge, opinions and decisions -- ask for his opinion! Value this above other's opinions.
  2. Don't nag, criticize or assume the worst of his actions.
  3. Watch for sarcastic and disrespectful teasing, eye rolling or bitter attitude.
  4. Respect his desire to work, protect, provide & lead (so when he wants to come along on a 2 hour drive, it's not because he doesn't think I can handle it. Not that this has come up recently.)
  5. Respect his need for physically intimacy (so hard right now, living in someone else's house!)
  6. Know his likes and dislikes -- when tempted to try something new in the kitchen, I will usually show Rocky the recipe to see if he thinks he will like it.
  7. Do not wait for your husband to deserve respect. We are all sinners and fall short.
Respecting and submitting to our husbands does not mean that we are not equally important members of the household! If your husband is following his Biblical command to love you, he will value your opinion, your thoughts, your whole self.

I consider myself a feminist and believe that men and women are equal and deserving of the same treatment. Some feel that this is in conflict and I've thought that in the past as well. I'm learning -- and who would have thought that a stay-at-home-mom's book would help me!?! -- that God doesn't see this as a conflict. He loves my husband and I equally, but has different parts for us to play in our home. And now that I have truly said Yes to God, and to my husband, I know how amazing our marriage can be. And Is.

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