Ruth Bell Graham once said, “It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision.”
If you’ve ever put those kinds of expectations on your husband, put your hand up.
Okay, I’m putting my hand down now, and if your hand is up, you can put it down too.
The one thing that wives need to stop doing is expecting their husbands to fulfil the role that only Christ Himself can fill.
I love my husband dearly, but he comes second in my life. First and foremost I have a Saviour who is perfect in every way. His grace is unfailing and His patience unending. Michael could never live up to that ideal and I shouldn’t expect him to.
What I do see is a man who’s growing in grace, and I love what I see.
But I haven’t always seen him this way. In fact I remember the first time we ever had a real argument. I was crushed. It was a few years after we were married. Yes–it took three years for us to blow up at each other. And when we did have that fight, I was left feeling confused.
How could he possibly treat me with such impatience if he really loved me? Why wasn’t he coming in to apologize? And why did his words sting so much in the first place?
I probably should have been asking myself why I was so impatient and harsh myself, but I didn’t. I probably should have been asking myself why I wasn’t standing in the other room apologizing to him that very minute, but I didn’t do that either.
Why? Because I expected him to be stronger than I was myself. I expected to be served rather than to step out and serve.
Have you ever expected your husband to be stronger than you? And have you ever wondered why he didn’t measure up to the man that you hoped he would be?
Here’s the thing… we don’t have the power to change another person, in fact people can barely change themselves. How can we possibly hope to reshape them? We can’t, but as a wife, we have the opportunity to influence our husbands in a powerful way.
There’s a difference between expectations and influence. Expectations are powerless, while influence is a powerful force.
“Influence” comes from the Latin word, “influere” which means “to flow into.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)
When we influence someone we speak life to them. We pour out encouragement. We give of ourselves tirelessly. We pray for them daily. We fill up their love tanks.
It’s like gently pressing your hands into Play-Doh and leaving your fingerprints there.
Influence is the opposite of self-centred love which expects to be satisfied in every way. Self-centred love wants to be served, while perfect love desires to serve.
So where do we go when we need to be filled? Where should we run when we need encouragement?
We should be running into the arms of our Saviour day in and day out, spending time in the Word and enjoying some time in prayer.
That’s where we find our fulness of joy. That’s where we discover His perfect and unfailing love.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. – Jeremiah 17:8
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You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
P.S. Today is the last day of the marriage challenge. If you’re following along with us, don’t forget to give your husband a back massage today. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it!
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