Regarding The Wife

I feel compelled to share a little bit about Rob’s sermon this week on wives since his sermon the week before on husbands prompted this post. And may I be honest and say that wouldn’t you know it, the whole week before his sermon I fell behind in just about all my chores and tasks around the house 🙂 Ridiculous sounding I know but I wonder if any other ministers’ wives have experienced the same thing?

Knowing it was coming (so thinking about it) and after hearing his sermon on wives and submission I have a few thoughts that I wanted to share here. It has been my experience that no matter how sweet the place your relationship may be in at the moment we must be ever mindful of the sin that lurks seeking to destroy us and our relationships. Submission, and the lack thereof, is not a dragon that is simply defeated once and all is well. He attacks in subtle and not so subtle ways and we would be wise as wives to know and understand this besetting sin. 
And that’s really where I want to start. I think for most of us church going God loving believing wives we don’t really know what it looks like to be unsubmissive. Probably because we don’t really understand what submission itself is but I’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s work backwards and talk about what unsubmissiveness is and is not. 
It’s possible that we view an unsubmissive wife as one that argues with her husband on every issue and belittles him in public and has a general lack of respect and disregard for him. I won’t argue that this is less than submissive, obviously it is. But it also doesn’t go far enough. Because, again as church going God loving believing wives, we probably don’t do that. So we tend to think that submission probably really isn’t something we struggle with. But Scripture tells us that as a consequence of sin a curse was pronounced on all of womankind and that our desire would be for our husbands. I was a grown woman, married with children before I realized that this didn’t mean I would have some kind of frustrated affection for my beloved. It literally means that the desire to master or control the husband is now woven into the fabric of our feminine DNA and is the same phrase that is used in Genesis chapter four when God told Cain that sin was waiting for him at the door and that he must rule over it. So it is my sin. And it is your sin. And we must keep watch so that we can do well and rule over that urge.
So what is submission then? Submission is joyfully placing your husband’s decisions, desires, and will above your own. It is preferring him over yourself. It’s doing things the way he wants them done even when he isn’t around. It’s honoring him with your actions, your words, and your thoughts.

It’s not enough to do as he asks and wants but speak poorly of those decisions and desires. It’s not enough to refrain from speaking against his wishes or wants but to entertain unloving and unlovely thoughts in your mind. Because we’re told that what is in us is what comes out of us and what comes out of us is what defiles us. If these three things: actions, words, and thoughts are not kept in harmony than a discordant song will be sung.

Not completely comfortable with my definition of submission? My words are not perfect by any stretch and you may have a better way of saying it. But here is the litmus test for any definition of submission. We are exhorted in Scripture to submit to our husbands as the Church submits to Christ who is her head.

What is the role of the Church? She is to glorify Christ in all that she does. She is to proclaim His way, not her own. She is to abide in His commands, not rebel against them. She is to carry out His work and make His name known among the nations.

This idea will surely upset and enrage some women but a wife, if she is to imitate the relationship of the Church to Christ, is called to glorify her husband. She is to accept her husband’s way and make it her own. She is to accept his commands and carry them out and see to it that those around her and in her care sees her faithfully fulfilling his wishes. Everything she does is to ensure his success.

But we don’t want to be told that. And heaven forbid that we train up our daughters with that expectation because we’re just brainwashing them into accepting a life of abuse.

I can hear some of you now with the buts and what ifs. But what if he abuses that submission and just takes her for granted? What if he just uses it as an excuse to get things the way he likes them with little or no thought to her well being?

It’s true. That may happen. It does happen. Some men will neanderthal their way through their marriage. Some men will take their wife for granted. Some men won’t lay their lives down for their wife. All men will do this and not do that at some point because all men are sinners. But all women are sinners too and that means sometimes we will seek our own good rather than our husband’s.

How many times do you forgive? How many times do you joyfully submit even when he won’t hear your counsel? Over and over and over again. And it’s not foolish or being a doormat.

It’s being Christ like.

*This post and my position on submission in no way advocates or condones abuse by husbands. I believe that Scripture holds women in high regard. I believe that a truly Biblical Christ centered view and application of submission bestows great honor and value upon women. A beautiful and functional pitcher isn’t squelched when it is used to offer refreshment instead of being used to dig a hole in the yard.


Hospitable Grace

Romance is not my beloved’s strong suit. This is not me speaking out of turn either…he’d tell you the same thing. But yesterday he was preaching on husbands and he wore the same tie that he wore on the day we got married almost fourteen years ago. Pretty sweet, huh?

During his sermon he talked about the two Adams we find in Scripture. The first Adam, so happy in Genesis chapter two over the helpmeet God had created for him that he sang, abandoning her in chapter three. We see how he failed to protect her, how he stood by as she was deceived by the serpent. We then read his words as he shifts the blame to her when confronted by God.

The second Adam however, speaks of a different groomsman. This Adam resisted the sin of His bride but laid His life down to pay for those sins. This Adam died to redeem her.

I heard every word of my husband’s challenge to the men of our church to evaluate what sort of husband they are. I listened to him tell them all the things they needed to pursue in order to be like the second Adam.

And here is a simple truth. I know all the ways he falls short of being that husband. Better than anyone else sitting in that room, other than himself,  I know when he acts more like the first Adam than the last. I know his sin just as well as I know my own.

Just like you know all the times and ways your husband has failed you.

But my husband doesn’t need me to tell him when he fails. Neither does yours. They know just as surely as we know when we’ve sinned. What they need is Grace.

Not cheap grace either. Not the kind of grace that we may be willing to extend someone because we know we’re bound to screw it up and this way no one can hold anyone accountable kind of grace. Not the kind of grace that is self righteous in it’s long suffering; that lords it over his head forever that he sinned against you and fails to be all that God has called him to be. Not the pseudo grace that looks like you’re willing to forgive only you’re not…the one all wrapped up and disguised by bitterness.

It’s the kind of Grace that accepts the wound of his sin. The kind of Grace that will cause you to let your guard down and risk being hurt again. It’s the Grace that washes white as snow and gives him his eleventy hundredth second chance.

It’s the kind of Grace that is hospitable. Think about that moment. Grace that is hospitable? Yes, this Grace that our husbands need is hospitable, welcoming and generous. It’s open and full of promise. It’s the Grace that leaves you trembling and vulnerable. It’s Grace that is tender and fierce, offering forgiveness and sanctuary when all you want to do is run and hide.

It’s the same kind of Grace that hung on a tree. It’s the kind of Grace that was rejected and despised and spit upon. The kind of Grace that has it’s roots in death but yields life.

Why should we extend this Grace to them? Because it is the Grace that was given to us…because there was death that we might have life. Because we walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called no matter what kind of husband he is.

We are the wives we are called to be not because he deserves that kind of wife but because He is the Bridegroom that we don’t deserve.

Because it’s the kind of Grace that we need our husbands to extend toward us. See, last week Rob preached on husbands. This coming Sunday he’ll be preaching on wives.

I know I need that kind of Grace.

What Love Looks Like

Odd isn’t it, that love looks like a soap dish full of q-tips? It also looks a lot like clean socks and t-shirts.
These are simple and very basic things that make my husband feel loved. Having what he needs, where he needs it, when he needs it. Now he isn’t an oger, demanding these things. But in the life of our marriage I’ve learned that those little things make a big difference to him.

I’ve been pondering this lately…what it means to love each other. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and depend on the grand gesture (flowers, dinner, or special date, etc.) of love a few weeks ago to be enough to communicate our affection. But it’s these day to day simple things like checking to make sure that there are plenty of q-tips handy that build up the strength of our relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, the dinner dates and special things are nice and necessary as well, just in a different way. But finding the beauty in the every day mundane tasks that give us opportunity to love (in a verb sense) is like the day to day sunshine of life. We need far more of it to flourish than the occasional rainbow.

Linking up with Heart + Home and Titus 2 Tuesday.