"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."
[1 Peter 3:1-2]
[1 Peter 3:1-2]
Anyone who truly knows me, understands that because of my background of being primarily raised by my father, coupled with being the oldest child, I've had a real challenge with submission, servitude, and sensitivity in my 13 years of marriage. I've always believed in the mentality that one needs to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" when life gets hard and keep it moving. I grew up having to be very independent and strong-willed in order to get what I wanted and where I have wanted. Therefore, "meshing" well into a life-long union with a sensitive, southern man has been no easy task. Throw in the fact that we're at two completely different ends of the spectrum, spiritually, and there's a myriad of difficult situations that arise when a couple is not on "one accord".
We as Christian women must realize that our amazing heavenly Father knows exactly what we need! Whether you're like me or not, God uses our spouses to COMPLEMENT US and to bring upon development in OUR CHARACTER in areas where we are lacking. This is so important for us to realize because this realization assists us when we are having a hard time within our marriages. Some of us are even called to partner with and love "difficult" men with emotional hang-ups, anger problems, addictions, adulturous ways, insecurities and the like. These men are OUR MINISTRY. Some of us have been called to serve God in different roles within the church, but what better way to demonstrate to the world where a whopping 70% of marriages end in divorce that "nothing is impossible with God"[Luke 1:37]? What better way to demonstrate to our husbands that "love never fails...." [1 Corinthians 13:8] than to continue to perservere in love in our hurts and disappointments even when we're ready to "throw in the towel"? We can only accomplish this remarkable feat with the help of the Holy Spirit. When we begin to understand the depth of the unconditional love that God shows us daily, along with our daily quest to become more Christ-like, then and only then can we make the INTENTIONAL CHOICE to demonstrate "agape" love to our spouses. "Agape" is defined in the Greek language as a love that is divine; this type of love originates with God and is better described in 1Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres."
Furthermore, in my case, I've had to change the way I've related to my spouse instead of expecting him to change. The power of the Holy Spirit has taught me that I have to make changes before I can expect God to work on my husband. I've learned to not put unrealistic expectations on my spouse based on what I think or feel a spouse should do. Accepting him for who he is now and allowing God to continue to work with him to his full potential is my job; NOT whining and complaining about what he doesn't do. I'm called to give my expectations to God and to encourage him in his areas of development. I've also learned to take my disappointments to God before voicing them to my husband. I've learned to pray that God will show me a good time to discuss things when my husband's heart will be open to receive what I have to say, as opposed to forcing my opinions or feelings on the situation. This change has made a huge difference in our communication! Moreover, I have had to realize that we serve each other out of reverence for Christ as opposed to viewing my husband as a grown man who can do things for himself. Now that I have instituted more of a servant attitude within my marriage, my husband is more appreciative and has "given" more of himself and is more willing to assist me when I need him. Finally, I've learned to be more affectionate with my husband knowing that it is a major need of mine instead of waiting in frustration for him to display the affection that I need. I am still working on my sensitivity issues and to learn to appreciate the sensitivity in my husband. IN ESSENCE, the changes that I've made have imparted a tremendous change in our relationship after 13 years of marriage!
So ladies, take some time to pray and ask God to show you the areas that you need help in to make YOU a better spouse and pray for our husbands.
BOTTOM LINE: We must allow God to do a work in us in order for us to become a ministry to our spouses and watch God work!
Love, Laugh, & Live~Sheree