It is fitting this chapter is about marriage, since our small church has been in prayer about marriage and hosting a marriage weekend. So, back into prayer I go! Thank you, Lord, for continuing to reveal Your truth about marriage, about us, about YOU! May I continue to seek to glorify you, and to submit prayerfully to my husband. Thank you for the man my husband is, that he desires to love and honor you! Because of his desire to love and honor you, I know it is easier for me to love and honor him. I pray for those women who do not have a man like Brandon in their lives, and that You would be at work in their hearts and the hearts of their husbands. Thank you, again, Lord, for your provision and presence. Amen.
Now, to dive into the lies we receive about marriage. I think it will be difficult to find songs to supplement each truth that follows, but I know there are some good songs about marriage! :)
Lie #21: I have to have a husband to be happy.
Truth #21: My Joy is made complete through and in Christ alone!
John 15:1-11 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Lie #22: It is my responsibility to change my mate.
Truth #22: I love this quote from Nancy Leigh DeMoss on page 140: “I wonder how many husbands God would change if their wives were willing to let God take over the process.” We are such meddlers sometimes! I know I have been guilty of this, especially in my first marriage. Yes, that’s right, I am divorced and now married for the second time. I have fallen into the snares of the enemy on numerous occasions. 1 Peter 3:1-6 reminds me of the truth of my role in any changing my husband experiences: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
And so, wives, we must learn patience. Change does not happen in a day. It does not happen in a month. So, as we wait upon the Lord, let us me mindful to PRAY for our husbands. Truly, the Holy Spirit is in the business of CHANGE! Let us step back and cast our cares before the Lord, living to honor Him in how we relate to our husbands.
Lie #23: My husband is supposed to serve me.
Truth #23: Why would I expect my husband to serve me? There are times he has; for example, after the C-Section birth of our now almost-15-month-old, my husband did serve me while I healed. But on a regular basis? Not necessary. Jesus himself teaches us about servant leadership and the gift it is to serve instead of to be served. That is especially at the forefront of my mind as we enter into Holy Week here, and I reflect on the Last Supper where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. John 13:1-20 shows us much about serving:
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Lord Jesus, give me a servant’s heart! I know that being a servant does not belittle me, but gives glory to You! Give me a heart to serve my husband so that he may be able to complete the work You have given him.
I write this prayer to serve my husband for many reasons. There is no way I can even fathom requiring my husband to serve me, because he really is overworked. Not only does he have a full-time job that provides medical benefits for our family, but he is also shepherding our church, doing online coursework for Seminary to get his Masters of Divinity so that he can be an ordained pastor, edits manuscripts to bring in extra income, and is a very loving father and husband. I can’t add anything to his plate, and seek to take off his plate as much as I can so that he can accomplish his 4 major roles. Yes, FOUR. Well, FIVE if you separate husband and father. My husband is a busy man!
Lie #24: If I submit to my husband, I will be miserable.
Truth #25: This was a very difficult truth for me to accept, because accepting it meant accepting responsibility for the failure of my first marriage. I was far from submissive with my first husband. I did not understand the importance of it. For three years post-divorce, the Lord worked on this truth in my heart. It was not until fully understanding the submissive role of a wife that the Lord brought Brandon into my life. Being submissive does not mean being weak. In fact, there are times it takes a lot of strength to BE submissive! You know those situations: where you completely disagree with your husband, but you muster the strength and pray to the Lord to give you the ability to say, “Ok, _____, as you wish.” And yes, I did just quote The Princess Bride there! It is Princess Buttercup who should be saying “As you wish.” :)
I have learned the hard way that submission becomes “easier” (it is always challenging for us strong-headed, stubborn women!) when we are in a relationship with a man who submits to God’s authority. So, when I found myself post-divorce and post-psycho-Kara (I had about a year of extreme “rebound” from the oppression I was released from), God showed me the importance of painting a picture of the ideal relationship. And, being that I paint best with words and NOT with a paint brush, I made a list. Well, more of a rubric than anything else. The “Must-Have” qualities in a man, the “Would-to-Have” qualities, the “I-Can-Tolerate,” and the “Heck-No’s.” In my “Must-Haves” I wrote “a man who loves the Lord.” Brandon definitely loves the Lord! I have found it is so much easier for me to submit to his authority because I know he is seeking the Lord daily! For those of you who are married to a non-believer or to a man who is not where you are in your faith, I appeal to you: Pray about the words in 1 Peter 3! How can you, by submitting to your husband’s authority, help pave the way for his heart to come to the Lord? It is possible! Don’t give up. God can heal ANY marriage, and bring His Truth into any heart. Pray for your husband! Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to him the Truth and Grace we have through Jesus Christ! And serve your husband from the heart, willingly, with your mind on the Lord as you do so.
I am going to link several scripture references here for you all to read and dwell upon regarding submission. Read the whole passage of each chapter! There is more than just us submitting to our husbands. God calls them to love us as Christ loves the church! That’s right. It is not a one-sided relationship. We submit and respect, they love and cherish us. If they don’t yet, they will. Keep him lifted up in prayer!
1 Peter 3 I have quoted above. Take the time to re-read that passage!
And, Proverbs 31:10-31
Lie #25: If my husband is passive, I’ve got to take the initiative or nothing will get done.
Truth #25: The truth here is that there is a huge difference between equipping and enabling. If we continue to step into the leadership role in the marriage, our men will never learn to be the leaders God created them to be. This ties in with the act of submitting to our husbands’ authority. When we fight this truth, we end up with resentment and frustration even more so than if we continue in submission to our husbands’ authority. Truly, by continuing in prayer, the Lord will be at work in the hearts of our husbands and eventually they will pick up the role God has given them: the leaders of the households.
Genesis 16 through Genesis 21 shows us how Sarai took action, and then ended up hating the result of that action. It is so hard to trust in the Lord’s timing, but it does bring so much more peace in the long run!
Psalm 27:14 encourages this truth: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Lie #26: Sometimes divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage.
Truth #26: This is a lie I fell to. Granted, I was a broken, depressed, grieving woman at the time and thus extremely vulnerable. I know I was wrong to leave, and yet God has given me grace and taught me much. Nancy DeMoss does write that there are some situations where it is not safe to remain where you are (in cases of abuse for sure!), and that God gives wisdom. When we choose instead of letting God choose our spouse for us, we will face many challenges. Even when we let God choose for us, there will always be challenges. No marriage is easy. Since the fall of man (and woman) in the Garden of Eden, there has been strife and role-reversal in marriage and thus all these lies we are addressing.
Another issue here is the Happiness Factor. This is the society and culture-driven lie that “we have the right to be happy.” When I searched for “happiness” in scripture, every verse I found talked about delighting in the Lord, being joyful, or rejoicing. Other words include peace, blessed, content, comfort, etc. These words are VERY different from what our society views as “happiness.” This leads me to believe that true HAPPINESS is found in complete submission to God’s authority in our lives, letting His Spirit bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control into our hearts. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So how do we “fight through” the hard times in marriage? I found a lot of great examples from Love and Respect, The Art of Marriage, The Five Love Languages, and similar books by Christian authors and psychologists. Remember, scripture never tells us life will be easy. In fact, numerous times, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and other writers speak frequently of challenges we will face. Through each challenge, hardship, trial, persecution, etc., the Holy Spirit is surrounding us. Jesus walks with us. God’s strength becomes evident in the midst of our weakness. As tempting as it is to throw in the towel, I pray more and more of us will stand firm, and trust in the Lord. In the years ahead, I hope to see the divorce statistics for Christian couple DROP. The Bible clearly defines marriage and the call God has for us in marriage. Be in prayer for your spouse. Be in prayer for yourself! Pray against the schemes of the enemy, and daily put on God’s Armor (on you, and on your marriage!). Read Ephesians 6, starting at verse 10, to learn more about God’s Armor.
God Gave Me You:
Grow Old Along With Me: