I have recently made the discovery that I am not a very nice person. I’m not trying to be self-depreciating, I really am not as nice as I had hoped I was. Just ask my husband.
This past weekend Phil and I were teasing each other (as we often do) and he said, “You are so mean to me!” He was joking at the time, but I took the liberty of telling him how fortunate he was to have me and that I knew for a fact that I was VERY nice to him. If anyone was mean it had to be him. I proceeded to remind him of a good example (the first red flag was already waving in my head… I ignored it). As if he didn’t know the details already, I recounted them for him. I won’t do that here, but it had to do with my birthday, me being sick and dog puke. You can put the pieces together yourself. Other great examples flooded my brain, but that one seemed adequate enough to prove my point (red flag number two…ignored).
So after this discussion (which he took quite graciously and quietly) I decided to further demonstrate my incredible niceness throughout the rest of the evening. We were headed to Dubuque as a family and I figured this would be the perfect setting for the boys to see how nice I am to their father. What a great example I would prove to be and then Phil would have to eat his words – ha! (Red flag number three… ignored.)
Phil drove. Oh my. After biting my tongue several times I realized this was going to be harder than I thought. If only I had driven instead, it may not have proven such a challenge. We had been in Dubuque for less than an hour; my tongue was sore and I was tired of being silent. The reality finally hit me and I said, “I give up! You are right, I AM mean! I can’t hold it in any longer!” Phil, gracious again, just smiled and shook his head.
We laughed at the time, but it has been very humbling for me. I really didn’t realize how biting I was and how often! I was trying so hard to not be mean, I couldn’t speak. Unkind words so quickly came to my mouth that all I could do was try to block their exit. It was almost painful not to let them fly. Talk about an eye opener, the words from James 3:8 about the tongue come to mind, “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” I had a taste of my own poison and it was awful.
The hard truth is that holding my tongue is important, but that isn’t the full discipline of taming the tongue. We don’t tame something (such as an animal) just to have it stay still and do nothing. We tame it to behave in a specific manner. One way our tongue needs to behave is given to us in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Stopping the hurtful words from coming out is not enough, the command is not to be silent. We are instructed to speak words of grace that build a person up. This is not something we can conjure up on our own. What was coming out of my mouth that night (and all too often everyday) demonstrates what is in my heart…and I am not pleased with myself. “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:18.
My heart needs work…and I’m guessing yours does too. I may not know you, but I have talked to enough women to know that we often travel the same roads and experience the same struggles. How is your heart looking? Is your tongue burning and staining those around you (James 3:6)? I challenge you to examine your words for a single day. You may be quickly shocked like I was. I don’t say this to shame you, just the opposite. These written words of mine are meant to build you up and turn you to Christ; he is the only one who can do the work needed in your heart and mine. It is a process, but one we should be intentionally active in.
Ladies, our mouths should be fountains of life to those around us (Proverbs 10:11). Imagine what talking to each other would be like then! Imagine the growth of our relationships (including our marriages)! The results would be heavenly. I for one am in. Here is my simple prayer today and maybe it can be yours too: “Have your way in my heart, O Lord. Fill me with your Word so that I may overflow with your grace. Amen.”
I was at a summer party at friend’s home several years ago and a group of us were sitting out on their screened in deck. One of the ladies tripped on the threshold as she walked through the doorway to join us. She looked at the host and told him that he really needed to get that fixed. His response? With a big smile on his face he said loudly, “I LOVE my wife!!” There were looks of confusion so he continued, “She has walked through that same doorway hundreds of times and has never once complained. She is so low maintenance, I love her!”
The comment has obviously stuck with me and has caused me to stop and think several times in my life… am I low maintenance? Uhh…sometimes? I have to say, I am waaaay lower maintenance than I started out 14 years ago and that has to count for something, right?
Are you low maintenance? Now, I’m not talking about how long it takes to do your hair and make-up or if you have high fashion standards. That is not my concern today. Are you easy to live with? Is life with you a pleasure or a pain?
These questions may help: Do you fly off the handle if a negative comment is made? Do you wait for compliments and then feel hurt if they do not come? Are you constantly feeling as if your expectations are not met? Do you find yourself unhappy more often than happy? Are home improvements too often your topic of conversation? Does your husband accuse you of nagging? Do you have a “to do list” for your husband that is never done?
Now don’t think that you should never make a list for your husband, talk about home improvements or ask him to pick up his laundry (my goodness, what would we talk about?). But if you are always needy or have a constant stream of demands coming from your mouth, there is an issue (and a weary husband). If your husband thinks you are never satisfied with him, he will feel like a failure. How will he tend to react when your mouth begins to open? Cringe, avoidance and defensiveness.
The Bible does not ignore this topic. Solomon speaks to it in Proverbs, and Solomon should know. He had hundreds of wives (this was terrible disobedience on his part and led in part to the deterioration of Israel through idol worship and the splitting of the kingdom. Not cool, Solomon). However check out what he gleaned from his many years of experience:
“…a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.” – Proverbs 19:13
“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.” – Proverbs 27:15
Ouch. If those hurt check out this one:
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” – Proverbs 21:9
A never-satisfied wife who is eager to argue makes life miserable. It would be better for a man to live on the roof and be exposed to the elements rather than be exposed to his wife’s tongue in a comfortable home. I do not want to be the woman described in those verses!
Aside from how it makes our husbands feel, this type of behavior dishonors God and is unbecoming of his daughters. We cannot serve our husbands and encourage them to be godly men by beating them with our tongues.
So, if you were like me when I first got married and keeping your mouth shut at the littlest infraction does not come easy, you need to do some intentional work towards becoming low maintenance (i.e. a gracious and kind wife that is a joy to live with).
Pray and ask God to work in your heart. Realize if you are being too demanding and ask God to change your attitude and perceptions. Talk to your husband and ask for forgiveness if you need to. Tell him you will be trying your best to not pelt him with demands and requests. Kindly make your desires known (men are still not mind readers) but refuse to nag or be pushy.
The key word to remember here is GRACE! Be like Jesus and give it freely. “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16. Give your husband loads of it and kindly ask for it in return when you know you have messed up. Jesus is your source, so be in the Word daily.
For all you newbies out there, take comfort - it does get easier! As time passes, you begin to realize what is worth bringing up and what just really doesn’t matter in the eternal scheme of things. Always take the long view of life, gaze into eternity. Dirty clothes on the floor will not matter one iota when we meet Jesus - I certainly don’t plan to bring it up to him that day.
Ladies, let’s refuse to be drips any longer and instead be a pipeline of God’s awesome grace. Cause your husband to praise God for you!
Ladies, the world we live in has sold us a bundle of lies about our gender and what constitutes strength. I for one am sick of it.
In my younger years I bought into all of it so quickly I am embarrassed. Not even thinking to check it against what God has to say. I was a smart woman; I thought I knew what it meant to be strong.
I really had no clue.
When a woman was cheated on by her husband I would side with the throng shouting, “Leave that unfaithful jerk! You don’t deserve that. Move on and make him sorry. The children will get over it, they are better off without him.”
That is how I felt until meeting a woman who became like a mentor to me about 12 years ago. I admired her so much; she sang the praises of Jesus Christ and of her husband too. I longed to be that in love with my husband. After knowing her for about a year, she told me their story. A story of shocking infidelity and even more shocking reconciliation. A story of staying and not leaving, a story of a couple renewed and redeemed by the power of Christ alone. A victory story ordained by God.
Since that time I have walked with others who have gone through that same type of pain and have chosen to stay. I watched as God turned their anger into a passion to not allow Satan the win; watched their drive to serve God over serving their flesh and their desire to just run. I saw peace restored, husbands repenting, marriages now not just restored but soaring all for the glory of God.
Now I know I have witnessed the true strength of a woman.
Not so many years ago, my mental picture of a strong woman was one with ambition, who had a successful career and took care of her family. Someone who had it all together and worked hard to accomplish her dreams.
Now having walked with women who struggle with anxiety, wrestle with depression, and deal with chronic pain, I see real strength. These same women call on God for help, trusting in him to carry them on. They pick themselves up and walk out their doors to face a harsh world that they don’t seem to fit into. Despite the Enemy’s attacks, they keep getting back up and loving on others. They worship with passion and praise with joy. Doing battle bravely with the sword of God’s Word.
I used to think being a submissive wife was a joke. Offensive oppression and disturbing old church ways. Until I read how the Savior was crushed and hung on wood because he was submitting to his Father’s will…in order to save me…un-submissive and selfish me. Until I saw submission modeled out for me in relationships with such beauty that I can no longer argue against its purpose, command or its effectiveness. I now see how brilliantly marriages dance and thrive when strong women allow their partner to lead. She is his equal yet has different steps to tread with a beauty all her own. A beauty modeled after Christ and the Holy Spirit. Glorious and strong submission.
The career woman can be a strong woman in Christ, but she is also the woman who gives up her worldly status to stay home and raise her children. She is the one who stands up and says “No!” to the teaching of the world when everyone else is saying, “Okay, I guess, whatever.” She is the one who picks up her Bible to read instead of the latest trend novel. She is the one loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable. She cherishes her God-given gender and the beauty of its purpose. She is the one who chooses life instead of convenient murder. She is the one who works hard at pleasing her Lord even if that displeases the world around her.
The strong woman trusts in her God who tells her, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
Ladies, don’t eat up the lies the world is trying to push down your throat. You know deep in your heart that God’s way always has been and always will be the best way. His opinion is the only one that matters. Show true strength in this world; admire true strength in this world.
Be determined to walk that narrow path of truth while others carouse down easy street. If you have been living with a misunderstanding of strength, time to take a stand and get it right. Hear God’s word today and let this be your prayer right now:
“For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:10-12.
Here is a confession: for years I had a love/hate relationship with the Proverbs 31 woman. Can you relate? The women I have talked to lately can. Have you read about her? If not, read it now before you read the rest of this. You can find her in Proverbs 31:10-31. She is the “Excellent Wife” that king Solomon (King Lemuel) wrote about.
She has long been taught and preached as the ideal woman. I never really had a problem with this when I was a young. I had no doubts that I would be just like her; I planned on being the perfect wife and mother. Then I grew up…and life with a husband and kids was harder than I thought it would be. “Perfect” went out the window and was replaced with words like “adequate” and “survival”.
I admit that I was beginning to feel some resentment towards this lady. I didn’t want to read that chapter anymore. Here are a few of her qualities:
“The heart of her husband trusts in her.” (11) Sometimes when I share ideas with Phil, he gives me a look like I am crazy. I’m not sure I instill much confidence.
“She seeks wool and flax.” (13) I know what wool is, but flax? It certainly doesn’t sound very comfortable.
“She brings her food from afar.” (14) Brother’s Market is less than a mile away from my house, but much of the produce is from out of the country. Maybe that counts? But it’s probably covered in pesticides and wax. Don’t get me started on the preservatives I feed my family.
“She rises while it is still night” (15) “her lamp does not go out at night.” (18) This lady never sleeps, how do you compete with that?
“She considers a field and buys it.” (16) I have never bought real estate…on my own…ever.
“She makes bed coverings for herself” (22) “She makes linen garments.” (24) I don’t sew very well and I don’t think my family would appreciate having to wear whatever it is I would make them.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed.” (28) I have to remind my kids to say, “please” and “thank you”. This certainly won’t happen if I make them wear garments I’ve sewn myself out of flax after not sleeping.
I always wished there was a Proverbs 32 woman; an addendum written for those who couldn’t quite live up to the lady in chapter 31. It would include phrases like, “She tries hard” and “She makes great brownies” and “She even plays Monopoly with her kids when she doesn’t feel like it.” Those I could handle.
Obviously, I jest. Yet crazy things like this would run through my mind when reading the chapter. I thought this woman was just another glossy magazine model I could never dream of being.
So why is the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible? Would God, who loves me, put something in the Bible just to make me feel bad? Part of the answer lies in that question - God loves me! He included these verses in the Bible for a reason and (as everything in the Bible) it is for my good. I believe that about the rest of Scripture so I can’t exclude these verses from that same reasoning.
When I got my perspective corrected I began to see things a little more clearly. The Bible is full of statements such as is found in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” and Matthew 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” God expects perfection and will never lessen his standards to accommodate us. This should not surprise us or discourage us, quite the opposite really. What kind of God would hold to low standards and accept anything less than perfection? No God I would want to serve. I want a perfect God in every way; otherwise he would not be fit to govern this universe.
We don’t take up issue when we are told to be like Jesus, yet it is one and the same calling as the Proverbs 31 woman. This woman never existed in real life; Jesus is the only perfect human who has ever walked the earth. Yet she is the epitome of perfection in godly womanhood. Proverbs 31 is a masterfully written prose from a loving Father who is graciously setting out standards for his beloved daughters. This ideal of a godly woman is a gift to us, letting us know what to aspire to and a tool for prioritizing our lives appropriately.
So how are we to be perfect? The simple answer is we can’t be. But, praise God for Jesus! His perfect sacrifice was sufficient to cover all of our failings. Because of him, we can stand in the presence of God someday, with his righteousness in place of our own. We become more like this ideal woman when the Holy Spirit inside of us enables us to be more like Christ. This does not happen under our own power or by us striving for perfection in our own power, only through dependence on him.
I no longer have issues with this woman in Proverbs 31. Reading about her now reminds me of God’s extravagant love for me. I get a glimpse of what I can be when empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is through Christ that I can be found to be worth “far more than jewels.”
I enCOURAGE you to read Proverbs 31 with this new perspective today. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Do I really need to say more? It seems quite self-explanatory to me. In our constant pursuit for perfection (or at least as close as we can get) how often do we stop and think what we are really striving for?
We think it would be awesome to be perfect; preferably in as many areas as possible. We want to be Wonder Woman, or Super Mom if you prefer the name, same thing.
We want to have a well decorated home, that is well kept and always clean. Same with the kids, hubby and certainly ourselves - well decorated and clean. Physically beautiful and fit? You bet. Wonder Woman so obviously is. And haven’t you ever envied her ability to fly? Wow, I sure have! That has to make life easier.
But if I had to guess, being Wonder Woman is probably pretty lonely. Who could measure up to all that? What would you talk about? You probably wouldn’t want to invite her to your home to meet your husband.
So why do we find ourselves wishing to be like her? Wanting to be found fantastic and amazing in every way? Oh, how our hearts deceive us so easily. Sinful desires creep in and lead us to into discontent with the blessings God has lovingly assigned to us.
It is truly a heart issue. We begin to worry more about what others think of us or even what we think of ourselves over and above what God thinks of us. We forget we are playing for an audience of one and we begin to act out dramatically for an imagined audience in our heads who have no sway over our value or identity.
The Bible tells us that we are vessels for him. “For we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 1 Corinthians 4:7. This treasure is disclosed in the verse prior, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
We are called to let the light of the treasure of Christ shine through our weaknesses, the thin spots in the clay. Often the parts we don’t like on display.
How could we show that the treasure (what is truly valuable) belongs to God and not to us if we were Wonder Woman or Super Mom? We would get the credit when the hurting and dying world looks our way, trying to figure out just how we do it all. We would be thieves, stealing glory due to God.
The beauty and display of Jesus comes from weak vessels displaying greatness that could only come from someone greater. This is why God tells Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul says, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Amen to that. We should actually boast in our weakness, ladies, not our strengths.
As I think about my closest friends and imagine them next to Wonder Woman, I have to laugh. They don’t compare either, and I love it that way! Praise God, he has been lovingly creative with us. Our lives of imperfection can speak volumes of the grace of Jesus Christ and how he alone makes us wonderful and super.
We were not created to be like Wonder Woman or the fictitious Super Mom, we were created to have a need for a savior. Our lives and even our bodies were created exactly the way they are in order to produce the most glory for God possible in our lives. This is what true beauty is all about, reflecting the beauty of Christ. I enCOURAGE you to look for it in those around you, your sisters in Christ. Look for it in yourself.
I was recently talking with the group from our church that will soon be in Guatemala for a mission trip. I was discussing proper dress code while there. I informed them that we could not wear any inappropriate clothing: nothing too short, too low, too thin or too tight. I also asked them not to wear excessive jewelry or make-up.
After this meeting, I started thinking how strange it was that this issue of modesty needed to be addressed at all. As committed Christians, shouldn’t this be the norm for us every day? We will be representing Christ to others in Guatemala, yet aren’t we always representing Christ? What an eye opener for me in how I dress for Christ in my day to day life.
As Christian women do we need to be so concerned about how we dress? Is it really that important? Let’s check the Word:
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10
The answer is yes, we need to dress ourselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control. Why? We need to remember our purpose here on Earth, why God continues to allow us to breathe. We were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16) and all we do needs to be done for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This includes how we dress. We should dress in a way that pleases God and reflects his goodness.
Here are the hard questions to ask yourself: Do you dress for your own glory or for the glory of God? Does what you wear distract from the gospel purposes in your life? Does it distract others from the gospel purposes in their life (causing lust, envy, confusion, etc.)? If you dress to illicit attention or approval from others, you are what Carolyn Mahaney calls a “glory thief” in her book, True Beauty. We are stealing glory from God; we are desiring it more for ourselves than for him. These are strong words, but they hit the mark - I certainly do not want to be a glory thief!
So, what are the limits, just where is that line that we should not cross in how we dress? Ladies, don’t give me this. The rule is not to play with the line, but to stay away from it. I believe we women are very aware of what is acceptable and what is not. We know when we are wearing something that accentuates and draws attention to certain areas. I’m telling you (and me) to knock it off. If you stand in a mirror before leaving the house and feel sexy, time to change. Sexy stays home with your husband.
Listen carefully, the opposite of “modesty” is not “beautiful” or even “stylish”. The opposite of modesty is immodesty which is direct sin. If you don’t like modesty it means you prefer sin and that is living in opposition to God. Whoa, more tough stuff! Yep, sure is. God takes what we do with our bodies very seriously:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Our bodies are not our own, they were bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. Our bodies are to be used to glorify God and not ourselves.
Beautiful modesty is in no way an oxymoron. You cannot be beautiful unless you are modest. You must possess a godly modesty that flows from your love of pleasing God through obedience to him in your outward appearance. Beauty is a radiance from the inside to the outside.
This begs the questions: how then should we adorn ourselves? How are we to be beautiful? Is it even okay to be beautiful? So glad you asked! Our gracious God does not leave us without help in this important area. One week from today, I will answer these very questions.
I enCOURAGE you to take this seriously. Train yourself and teach your daughters to be beautifully modest for the glory of God.
Yep, I called that “s” word beautiful. That’s how I see it. Well…now anyway. I’m finally starting to get it. There were many years when that word would come up in a sermon like in Ephesians 5:24, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands,” I could feel my eyes rolling back in my head and the curtain would fall. No need to listen to rest of what the minister was going to say, I wasn’t interested.
It took a few years of growing in faith until I accepted that it was scripture from God and therefore true and valuable. However, even after a few years into our marriage, I didn’t put it into practice. It just didn’t seem practical, especially when my husband could be a total dope at times. Seems fair, right? I will submit to him when he shapes up and loves me like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25), otherwise the deal is off.
Oh my…thank you God for being so patient with me. So how did I come to see beauty in submission instead of feeling it was an insult? I finally got my sight fixed. Instead of seeing these verses as a service to my husband alone, I realized it was my service to Christ. Phil was not calling me to submit, Jesus was. Why? Because he loves me like crazy and has plans to use our marriage in awesome ways if it is built up correctly. The more I get to know my Savior, the more I want to please and serve him. And, yes, I have discovered through trial and error (lots of error) that His way is ALWAYS best, no exceptions.
We need to get things straight, Ladies. If you think submission = weakness, inferiority, or conformity against better judgment you are sorely ignorant just like I was. Would you use these same qualities to describe Jesus? I don’t think so, probably just the opposite. In fact, Jesus is our perfect example of submission.
Jesus is God and therefore equal to God yet he was called to submission to fulfill his role in God’s plan. John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Jesus submitted to his Father God, even unto death. Matthew 26: 39, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’”
You can see that we as wives have been called to a very noble role indeed. One that Jesus powerfully undertook willingly. Yes, our husbands also model a role of Jesus through authority and leadership. That is the role they have been called to in service. We have separate but equal roles, Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” So get that sense of inferiority out of your head right now (haven’t you read about the Proverbs 31 woman?).
As wives we have the authority and responsibility to share our wisdom, and provide discernment and input to our husbands as they make decisions, but they have the task of making the final call. They will not always choose right, but this does not relieve us of our calling from Christ. No, we should never follow our husbands into sin; God is still our absolute authority. However, we will not always agree on decisions made. This is a great time to use the dynamic power of submission to influence our husbands toward Christ. Pray for them, love them and serve them in a Christ-like fashion. You will be amazed at the changes these alone can bring about.
Take back what the Enemy is trying to steal from you in your marriage relationship. Don’t let the world twist the beauty that God has ordained. Submission holds incredible power and has life changing abilities when put into proper practice. It is a powerful position that God has placed his daughters in. Claim it as yours and wield it with style and passion.
Ladies, do you ever wonder what your husband would be like without you? Yes, he would probably survive but would he thrive like he does with you by his side? Do you make him better with how you treat him? Do the words you say to him cause him to want to lead better, to be more like Jesus for his family? These are some tough questions but good measures for how we are performing our role. They also show the potency of our gifts as helpers in marriage. Are you a help to your husband, do you add honor to his life… or take it away?
God created man in such a way that he is better when woman is there by his side helping him as no one else can. I encourage you to be that wife that proudly comes up beside your man and uses your God given gifts together to glorify your Creator.
Have you ever had to work in a group where there was no leader? No one took the reins to guide the group in a clear direction and so the members simply flounder along with no good guidance. Or maybe you have been in a group where there are too many leaders. Two different people feel they know what is right for the entire group and but want to lead in different directions. In either situation the result is confusion and frustration for all involved.
Both of the above scenarios are common in families today. There are times when neither the husband nor the wife takes a clear lead and decisions are left up to chance or each takes a turn being in charge at different times. This sounds like a fair way to run things, but when put into practice this causes a mess.
In the reverse, both the husband and the wife claim leadership and then often try to lead in different directions. Each spouse may feel they know the best way to discipline the kids, make family decisions, or handle the money. This causes great confusion for the children and keeps families going in circles instead of making progress toward any priorities.
So what is the answer? You must name a chief of your tribe. There must be a clear leader whose decision is final. According to the Bible, this must be the husband. Now Ladies, stay with me and just keep on reading. In 1 Corinthians 11:3 it says, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”
We can see in this verse that the husband is to be the head of the wife, so this is Biblical. The husband is assigned the role of being the leader in this marital relationship. This is no easy task, just ask Adam. We know that it was his wife, Eve, that first ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but who takes the blame? Read Romans 5:12, “…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men…” Adam takes the blame of allowing sin to enter the world and therefore spreading to all men. Eve was our first example of how our actions can dishonor our husbands.
If the husband is to lead his wife, who is leading the husband? The verse in 1 Corinthians 11 clearly tells us it is Christ himself. The husband takes his cues on how to lead from Jesus. That right there should be enough to completely satisfy us… but if not, check out what Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. There is no greater love than the love of Christ towards his bride of the church. Husbands are called to have this type of sacrificial love towards their wife. Don’t miss the enormity and intensity of this. Jesus poured everything he had, including his blood, out for his bride of the church. Husbands are called to no less than this.
I know the question that is coming… what happens when you have a husband who is not serving the Lord? Does this give you the permission you have been hoping for to chuck this marriage and check out eHarmony? No way. You are still called to submit leadership to your non-believing husband. You will be the model of Christ to him in how you serve him. Pray for his salvation and love him toward Jesus with all you have. Read 1 Peter 3:1-2, these verses speak directly to this.
Ladies, allowing your husband to be the Chief of your household is very freeing. God’s way of doing things is always best, including how he has set up leadership in marriage. I’m proud to call Phil Chief of our little tribe and I will gladly support him as he keeps his eyes on Christ. I admit I have failed at this so many times; I have tried to step in front of him thinking I know what is best. When I do this I feel the shift of unrest and unbalance it causes. This discernment has come not through years of marriage, but from maturing in my walk with Christ.
My Pastor recently used the metaphor of dancing to describe this marital balance. There can only be one leader for a dance to be beautiful, if both try to lead (or neither) it is an uncoordinated mess. In our home I relate easier to the tribe mentality (could be because Phil and I are lousy dancers). I like thinking of our household as a small band of warriors with a mutual mission and the bond of relationship. We stand together, armed with the Word of God as we battle a real Enemy that desires to keep our family from being effective and fruitful.
This leads me to the gift that God has granted all wives… encouragement. Once we name our husband as the Chief of our home it does not release us of responsibility or leave us without a say in how the family is run. God has given us a super-power in the form of how we use our words and actions to build up our man. Watch for ways to praise his efforts and respect his decisions. Demonstrate a Biblical marriage for your children so they will know how to care for their own tribe someday.
Watch for my upcoming blog on the beauty of submission.