Before anyone leaves a comment asking me why I’m directing this at wives, or why I “always assume it’s the woman’s job to work at the marriage.” I want to clarify a few thing.
You see we get these comments at least weekly, almost daily. And here’s the answer. A good marriage is the union of two people working together with a Christ-centered focus. Both sides need that encouragement, but here’s where I fit in: I’m a woman, writing to women, from a woman’s perspective.
The other question I often read is, “Why aren’t there any blogs like this for men?”
The answer is that there are plenty of them. Many strong men of faith have a passion for encouraging other men. Some have written books, others are blogging. They’re out there.
That’s not my mission or my calling.
This is what I’m called to do:
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. – Titus 2:3-5
With that in mind I got to thinking about ways I might encourage you this week. Perhaps a story to spur you along in your faith… Then I remembered the sermon last Sunday, and how I dug through my purse looking for a pen. I don’t remember the specifics of the sermon, but the message of grace made its way through my ears to my soul.
“There’s a story,” he said, “about a young boy in school. His name was Timmy. Every afternoon, Timmy would raise his hand several times asking to be excused for a tinkle. Perhaps this particular day his teacher was tired or he overused his bathroom privilege. Whatever the case was, he had to stay put.
A short while later, Timmy lost it. His pants were wet, the floor was wet and he was frozen with fear. What could he do? Surely everyone would see it. He would never live it down?
Just then Suzie walked by his desk carrying the goldfish bowl from the back of the class.
Sploosh! She ‘stumbled’ and spilled most of the water on Timmy.
Turning to look, the class laughed at how clumsy she was, while the teacher helped to clean up the mess and rescue the fish.
After class, Timmy walked up to Suzie. “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” he asked.
Suzie smiled and whispered in his ear, “That’s happened to me before too.””
Hearing that story I’m warmly reminded of grace. Not only has it been given to me by God, it’s also been offered to me by loving people who understand that we all make mistakes. Sometimes they are downright annoying.
I remember making a lunch date with a friend once who drove 45 minutes across town to meet me and I didn’t show up. She had to drive all the way home–with her newborn baby–to call me because she didn’t have my number with her. Where was I? I was in bed sleeping. I had completely forgot about our lunch date and decided to take a nap. That’s just one of the many times I’ve needed some grace in my life, but let me tell you–the list is long.
This week I want to encourage you in this area by reminding you of four things that go hand in hand:
1. Offer grace to your husband. He just might do something to set you off. Maybe he deserves your anger. Maybe he’s in the wrong. And maybe you have the right to start casting stones. You also have the opportunity to offer him grace. It wouldn’t be called grace if it wasn’t free and undeserved. Grace is a gift of love. It doesn’t mean that what he did is okay, it simply means that you are choosing love over condemnation.
Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. – John 8:11 (to the woman caught in adultery).
Please note that I’m talking about everyday issues here, not the serious issue of marital abuse. If you are in an abusive relationship, I encourage you to speak to someone about it. Get help.
2. Restore one another gently. This should go hand in hand with number one. If there’s a problem in your marriage, it’s important to communicate your thoughts to each other in love. Being gentle isn’t always easy when you disagree with someone, but it goes a lot further than nagging or losing our temper ever will. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you condone their sin, and sometimes it must be communicated.
These words for the early church are also applicable to marriage:
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted . – Galatians 6:1
3. Speak the truth in love. One of the most powerful ways that a husband and wife can affect each other is through ongoing spiritual encouragement. Michael and I will often call each other just to chat about what we’re reading in the Bible.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: – Ephesians 4:15
When it comes to our husbands let’s remember that we’re not their mothers, pastors, or teachers, we’re their partners. We were created to help them, to love them and to encourage them.
4. Keep his bad habits between you. Some women love to rag on and on about their husband’s bad habits. I get it–girlfriends love to talk about their families, but tearing him down can become a bad habit that should be nipped in the bud.
Some situations, like abuse, should be discussed of course. But what I’m talking about here are the everyday bad habits that get under our skin like the way he relates to his mother, leaves dirty dishes around, or snores too loud at night. Rule of thumb: if it would make him uncomfortable, keep it between you.
You are loved by an almighty God,