This is a bit of a continuation of yesterday's post. I hadn't finished typing that one when I knew I would have to do this one. It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep... I know I have to get these thoughts out now. Somebody needs to hear this. I can feel it.
I know there are women who read that post yesterday and you are thinking a lot of things. I know you are angry, not with me, but with your husband, with yourself, with God. You are frustrated with your marriage. You had a dream and your reality sucks. I know how you feel. I was there. I remember the day I stood at that alter and gave myself to that man and I was so happy. I knew that we were made for each other. I would never have been able to envision the mess that we would become.
On that day, I knew two things about men: 1. They like sex (and I naively thought a happy sex life would conquer all) and 2. "The way to a man's heart is his stomach". I was an idiot! I was a stupid kid who had neglected to learn anything about what it took to make a marriage work. Two years later, two babies later, we were both unhappy. I remember the night that changed everything for me. Me being a very strongly, opinionated woman, who never shuts-up hadn't heard much from my husband about his side of things, but that night he opened up and what he said hurt so deep, because in his words I saw myself and it was not pretty. He didn't say anything about me, as much as he told me what he felt. I saw from those words that I had only ever been concerned with my needs, my wants, and had thought very little about what he needed from me. I was naturally a runner when things got bad, so I wanted to run home to my momma. I wanted to pack up those kids and get out of there, but I didn't believe in divorce and I loved him, I wanted our marriage to work. That was the night I ran and threw myself on the floor in my closet and begged and screamed and cried and finally said "God I don't know anything about being married". The Bible says that God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud. He had just been waiting for me to see that I needed Him to teach me.
Like a lot of you I had no healthy marriage role model. My parents had both been divorced and remarried 3 times. I had no one to show me what it looked like, because the people I knew were not happily married... they were just existing until one of them died. I could not see myself enduring that. I wanted a happy, vibrant marriage. I will not lie to you and say ours is now perfect. Marriage is hard. In fact, when I typed the word alter earlier I thought how ironic that you stand at an alter and proclaim vows to someone... An alter is where you sacrifice something. An alter is where something has to die. Marriage is where you have to lay your life down for another person. Your new life with them should be about putting them above yourself and meeting their needs. If we are both trying to meet the other person's need, then and only then, can we be truly happy.
After praying that night, God began to pour his wisdom into my life and my marriage has not been the same. He began to show me what my husband's greatest need was and how I had been basically starving him to death by not supplying that need. The Lord began to show me that if I would focus on meeting my husband's needs then He would take care of mine and He would take care of showing Bobby what I need. I put my trust in His ways. I was all in, because more than anything on this earth I wanted to know how to be happily married. It's been 11 years now and I can say I love him more today than I did at the alter. I can honestly say that we are happy. I can honestly say that God has kept his promises. It is possible to be happily married.
Now comes the hard part. Your spouse will not change until you do. Your spouse can not even begin to give you what you need until you decide to give him what he needs. Men are made in the image of God... They have a driving, innate NEED to be respected and honored. I know what you are thinking right now... You're thinking I don't know your husband. You're thinking there is nothing for you to honor and respect, but I would be willing to bet you don't see anything because you don't value what makes a man a man. You don't understand the divinely created differences between men and women. You don't understand why he does what he does and why he doesn't think like you do. If you are like me you think everyone including him should think like you think. If you are like me you don't give him room to be a man. I totally understand. You and I grew up in a feminist culture and they have fed us the lie that men are less than. They have forced down our throats that men have nothing to bring to the table. What's our slogan? "We can do anything you can do better." We are a society of men haters...
So, when someone tells you to honor and respect your husband, you roll your eyes and huff and puff and say things like "you don't know my husband"... I don't know yours, but I do know mine. I do know that it takes work to see past yourself and your opinions. It takes laying your life down at that alter daily and saying I'm in this for you my husband. I'm going to do what you need me to do. It takes looking at them with fresh eyes and placing value on what makes him a man. It takes shutting out the lies that say he is your enemy or that he is stupid or that he, he, he.
Look, God formed man first and made him the head of woman. I don't care what your opinion is. I don't care why you think that was the wrong way to do things... I'm telling you that God knows what he is doing because His ways are higher than ours. I know He is not sitting in heaven thinking "man what did I do wrong here." He made those men the head of our homes for a reason and then he made them with an intense need to be respected. When we do not respect and honor them friction begins and from that a raging, out of control fire spreads.
Is God a woman hater because he made it that way???? Does he not care about women???? No, I think it's the total opposite. He loves women and He knows we have a lot to offer to our men. The Bible does say He made Eve as a help-mate. She was to be Adam's total opposite and offer to him what He did not have. She was to be cherished, loved, protected. The Bible talks about how they would walk and talk with God in the cool of the garden each day, before the serpent came in to deceive them and make them turn on each other and God. There was beautiful communion and harmony between the man and his woman. I'm sure he valued and respected everything she had to say and all the ways that she thought differently than he did, until sin entered in.
If our husbands lead and we follow, If we honor and respect them, do we get to have an opinion? In this environment where we let go of the reins do we get a say? OR do they just take over and put us in the backseat. It's funny because when my husband feels safe to share with me, when he knows that I'm not going to disrespect him, when he knows I honor his leadership, he opens up to me and we share the leadership of our family. When he knows that I am in this with him and not against him, he opens up to me and we have sweet communion and I know he would never do anything that wasn't for our good. I know I can trust him to lead us and he knows he can trust me to honor him.
Ladies, I know the key to having the relationship you want is Honor. It's conveying to your man that you value him as a man and a leader. His love language is respect. Does that mean your every thought has to be the same as his? No. Bobby and I hardly ever agree on anything at first. We are always coming at an issue from different angles. When that issue is one we can't agree on I take it to the Lord in prayer and God will change one of our hearts and make us one about it. What I find truly remarkable now is that he asks me what I think. He wants to know. He wants me to be happy. He just doesn't want me to shove it down his throat and be disrespectful about it.
I titled this "When it's time to leave" because a lot of women I talk to say "I can't follow my husband, because he's not following God." So many women have objections because they don't see their husbands seeking the Lord and they are fearful of where these husbands will lead them. I understand. I want to share a few verses with you that give me peace when I find it difficult to trust Bobby's leadership.
In Gen 12:1 it says "Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Get out of your country and from your father's house, unto a land I will show you." Do you see Abram seeking the Lord in this verse? No, God comes to Abram and tells him what to do. Do you see Sarah? No. She just had to trust what Abram said.
In Gen 31:1-3 Jacob hears his brother in laws talking about how he (Jacob) has done their father wrong and what they should do about it. Jacob begins to get nervous and he can see that his father in law is angry with him... vs 3 says, "And the Lord said unto Jacob, return unto the land of your fathers, and your family, AND I WILL BE WITH YOU." In these verses you don't see Jacob seeking God and asking him what to do... You see God again coming to man. The cool thing is Jacob went to his wives and told them what was up and they said "...whatever God has said unto you, do." WOW!!!!
In Matthew 2:13 it says "...Behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph IN A DREAM, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and be there UNTIL I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." Joseph was sleeping when God came to him and told him what to do. He wasn't up praying. He wasn't seeking the Lord.
When it was time to go back to Israel in vs 19 he was sleeping again when God came to him in a dream and told him it was safe to go back. Mary just had to trust that Joseph had heard from the Lord. God didn't wake her up. He didn't ask her opinion, but He protected her life and her sons life by speaking to her husband in a dream.
I could go on. I know you have figured that out, but I will spare you for now. I have seen some pretty cool things in 12 years though. I have seen God change Bobby's heart when I knew he was dead wrong about stuff and I have seen God change my heart when I was dead wrong. I spend a lot of time in prayer, instead of fighting with him and God has been faithful to keep us from causing damage to each other. We don't agree on very much, but somehow God helps us become one on whatever we disagree on. The secret to being asked my opinion is honoring my husband and being respectful of who he is as the head of our home. None of this is easy. It goes completely against my nature so I know if I can do this for the sake of a happy marriage YOU CAN TO.
Casting all your cares upon HIM, for He cares for you... I Peter 5:7. Learn to fight in prayer!!!