Developing Godly Marriages

A Suitable Helper

Genesis 2 18The Bible opens up with the story of how God created the world. Each time he created something God said it was good. His ultimate work of art was when he made man in his own image. In other words, our bodies take on the image or likeness of God. He created us to have fellowship with Him. He created us to bring Him honor and glory. However, in Genesis 2:18 we see where God indicated that something was not good.

After creating man, he brought every living creature to Adam and what ever Adam chose to name it that was its name. God didn’t need help naming the animals. He had a purpose for bringing them Adam. Adam needed to understand that among everything God had created, there was not another creature like him. All the animals God had made had both a male and a female. Adam was only a male. He had no female. This is was God deemed as “not good.” His solution was to make a helper for Adam that would complement him in every way.

Ladies, that’s we are: a helper that is a complement to our husbands. God made us suitable for our husbands. We are the proper fit for him. We complete him. The idea is that we are compatible with him. In the movie, “The Holiday,” Kate Winslet plays Iris who is “in love” with a man that is not in love with her. He merely uses her. At one point in the movie she reminds him that he had described them as “a square peg in a round hole.” That is not how God created men and women. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, we were made to be the perfect fit to man. We are different than men, but different in a way that makes us well-suited to man. We are not less than man, nor are we better than man. We are suitable to man.

Another concept of being his suited helper is that we are to bring harmony, not discord, to the relationship. If we have a backbiting, nagging, or wagging tongue, we are not being a helper in any way. Our words should build him up, encourage him, and be respectful. We also should not undermine his authority in our homes. In other words, if he tells your teenage daughter she’s grounded, then you don’t go behind his back and allow your daughter to do that which she has been grounded from, even if you disagree with him. If do not agree with the consequences he established, then a calm and respectful conversation between the two of you (not in front of your child) can take place. However, if he does not change his mind, then your responsibility is to back him and help enforce the consequences. In previous posts we discussed that the husband’s role is to be a spiritual leader. If you undermine his authority you rob him of doing what God has called him to be in your marriage. Sweet wife, if we not take too many times of you stepping in and undermining him before he no longer even tries to be the spiritual leader in your home.

Overall, a helper’s job is to make someone else’s job easier. Let me challenge you to make a list of the ways you can be a helper to your husband. Let also challenge you to spend some time in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of ways that you may make your husband’s life complicated or even hindering him from being the Spiritual leader he was called to be. If the Holy Spirit reveals any ways you have not been a suitable helper, confess those now and then make a game plan to change those ways so that you are your husband’s suitable helper.

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Developing Godly Marriages

A Wife of Noble Character…who can find?

Proverbs 31 10-12If God designed the husband to be a spiritual leader in the home, then what is the God-designed role for the wife? In Proverbs 31 we find the passage of scripture that is generally referred to as “The Virtuous Woman.” Verse 10 begins the passage with a question. “Who can find a capable wife?” Take just a moment and think about how you define a capable wife. I’m reminded of an old 70s/80s commercial for Enjoli perfume where they lyrics in the jingle shows a classy, business dressed woman who can work all day, come home and fix dinner, read a story book and still be a passionate woman with her man.  Does this make her a capable wife?

When you read the verses that follow, you’ll see that this woman who is commonly referred to as the ideal, Godly woman and praised for her virtues is not the stereotypically image of a woman that is “barefoot and pregnant” at home. However, she is also not the career-driven woman. This woman that is the model for us is strong. She is multitalented. She is dignified and caring. She is not a woman that has her identity in her husband’s identity. Instead, she is her own person. In the verses we find that she has money and she makes investments. She looks after her servants and manages real estate. She is a partner with her husband who completely trusts her to see to the lands they own. She takes care of the property and the goods. She goes to the market and uses her business skills to buy and sell.

Certainly as wives and mothers today, we have responsibilities. For some it might mean working all day at home cleaning the house, doing the laundry, being the unpaid taxi driver for the kids, cooking and all the daily responsibilities of running a home. For others it might mean going to a job and putting in the hours there and still having to come home to do all the chores around the house. However, I think that keeping a clean home is only part of what makes a capable wife. So what else would make us women a capable wife?

The capable wife understands that her ability to be capable comes from God alone. If we depend on ourselves to be capable, we will fail every time. She understands that her reputation as a Christian is on line in how she behaves, the attitudes she demonstrates (even when no one is looking), and the words she speaks. Instead of behaving and speaking like the world, she demonstrates Christ-likeness with a servant’s heart, feeling blessed to be able to serve the people that God’s has entrusted to her care. The only way to accomplish this is having a daily, intimate fellowship with Christ. If she is ignoring and not having a daily time where she gets alone with God and studies His Word and talks with Him, then she is not going to have the strength to see to all her responsibilities in a way that will honor and please God.

One translation of the Bible rewords the questions to read, “A wife of noble character, who can find?” The Hebrew word is chayil and can be translated as either “noble,” or “virtuous.” In other words, she is a wife of valor. Femininity is not weak or passive. Instead, noble character has strong traits such as loyal, dependable, honest, trustworthy, dignity, compassion, wisdom. She has high moral principles. In other words, she is the opposite of the woman that strives for power and success. She doesn’t need wealth to feel accomplished. Her joy and happiness comes from leaving a Godly legacy for generations to come. Can you think of other noble character traits? Which of these traits do you have? Which ones do you need to work on? Can you identify a woman of noble character that has left a Godly legacy for you to follow? Are working to leave that kind of legacy for your daughter and granddaughters?

The capable wife is also sensitive and compassionate. In these verses the virtuous woman sees to the needs to others who are less fortunate. She is kind and generous toward them. Other ways wives can be sensitive and compassionate are recognizing when your husband is having a stressful day and be an encourager. Listen … really listen… to what is going on in his life. Then demonstrate empathy and understanding. Take his hand and pray for him. What are other ways you can show sensitivity and compassion to your husband?

The capable wife also sets to her tasks and responsibilities cheerfully and energetically. She doesn’t see these things and “have tos” that she meets with dread. She isn’t lazy and procrastinates to get the tasks done. Instead, she tackles every challenge head on. She sees her responsibilities and tasks as “get tos.” It is her ministry to her family and she understands that by serving them, she is serving God.

God placed as much responsibility on wives as he did husbands and our roles are no less important than our husbands. Many times marriages suffer when husbands and wives get hung up on what the other spouse isn’t doing in the role God have him or her. Let me challenge you, dear wife, to focus on your own “get tos.” Make a commitment to your marriage and to God that you will cheerfully serve your family regardless of what your husband does or does not do. If your husband is not fulfilling what God has called him to be in your marriage, then pray about it…but keep being the wife that God has called you to be. Keep your servant’s heart and joyfully and energetically do what God has designed for you as a wife, fully depending upon Him to accomplish his purpose through you.

 

Developing Godly Marriages

A Tale of Two Brains

This Youtube video is two hours and it is hilarious and worth your time. If you want to understand the differences of how men and women think and operate this is a great video. It comes from the “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” by Mark Gungor. While it’s presented in a humorous way, it is very much the way the male brain and the female brain works.

Developing Godly Marriages

Who’s in Charge?

by Julie Bruce

Abbott and CostelloIn 1938 Abbott and Costello performed on a radio show a comedy skit entitled, “Who’s on First?” Most of us have seen or at least heard the skit and chuckled along with it. However, in our homes, it isn’t quite so funny when we don’t know our roles and where we belong. God ordained order within the home to ensure healthy functioning of the family unit. Rather than asking “Who’s on First,” in our homes the question might be more like, “Who’s in Charge?”

kid in chargeWe’ve all seen those homes where the kids rule the nest. They are loud, defiant, rude, stubborn and disobedient. They talk back, stick their tongue out, cross their arms and dig in their heels and refuse to budge. The parents have no control whatsoever.

husband wont leadThen there are homes where mom is in control. Dad works all day then comes home to pick up the paper or watch television or play a video game leaving mom to deal with the kids, clean the house, cook, do the laundry and whatever else might be going on. She makes all the major decisions for the family and dad just goes along with the plan. The kids might be more in line (sometimes), but it still is not a home that honors and glorifies God.

Another type of home finds the husband in control, but the wrong kind of control. He’s the one the wife and kids are scared of. He rules with an iron fist and you go along his way or pay the consequences. He’s controlling, manipulating, abusive physically, emotionally and maybe even sexually.

However, not every husband who takes the lead role in his family is abusive. He may be morally good and protective of his family. He provides for them and helps parent the children. He’s a good husband and father. Yet even this home is not honoring God.

Who then should be in charge in the home? I’m glad you asked. 1 Corinthians 11:3 has the answer. Paul writes to the church at Corinth these words:

“I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

The principle behind Paul’s words is submission. Everyone submits to someone, except God. God ordained submission so that the homes would run smoothly. Otherwise, we’d have nothing but chaos, anger, bitterness, competiveness, and arguing. If you notice the chain in Paul’s writing, the woman seems to be at the bottom of the chain of command so let me say that submission is NOT surrender, withdrawal, or apathy. It does not mean that we girls are inferior. When God created men and women, he made us in his image and that makes males and females on equal ground. One is not better than the other. Both have equal value in God’s eyes. Instead, submission is more about a mutual commitment and cooperation. There is no need for women to compete with men or men to compete with women. God expects men and women to submit as equals. We submit by choice as we willingly serve God in the roles he designed for us. However, for a home to function, someone has to be in charge and when the man does not fulfill his God-given responsibility, many times wives must step in and serve her role and his. So then, what is the husband’s role?

spiritual leaderHusbands are to lead their families through sacrificial love. Ephesians 5:33 says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. How did Christ demonstrate His love? He gave his life. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.(Romans 5:8) Even when we were still covered in sin, at our absolute worst, vile, repulsive, Christ loved us enough to die for us. (Ladies, you should not love your husbands any less…just saying!) If you are to love your wives as Christ loved the church, then you need to make sure you have experienced that love for yourself. You can’t give away what you have not yet received.

Husbands should also lead their families to Christ. Guys, you have the responsibility to be a spiritual leader in your home. After all, God’s purpose for marriage is to make us more like Christ. Christ often referred to the Church as is bride. So as Christians, our marriage should be a picture of Christ and the Church. As such, the head of the husband is Christ and he should be your #1 priority. Your 2nd priority should be your wife and your marriage. Your third priority should be your children. Then your job and providing for your family.  There is no way you can lead you family the way God has called you to if you do not have an intimate, thriving, growing relationship with Christ. Do a self-examination right now. Where are your priorities? What do you give them most time and attention to? What do you nurture, develop, and look forward to everyday? If your priorities are out of order, what do you need to do to get them where they belong? What commitments do you need to make? Do you have any idols that you need to get rid of? You can’t lead your family to Christ if you’re still trying to get there yourself.

Take a moment to imagine what a home would look like if it operated in the way God designed it. How does that look different than what your family looks like now? What changes need to happen? What would it take for your wife to trust you enough that she could willingly step back and trust you to lead your family?

Here is what she needs:

  • She needs to know that you are daily seeking wisdom from God in every decision you make.
  • She needs to know that you are opening discussing decision with her, listening to her input and genuinely considering her opinions.
  • She needs to know that the decisions you make are for the good of the family and not for your own good.
  • She needs to know that she can rely on you, depend on you and that you would not do anything that would knowingly bring harm to the family.
  • She needs to know that God is the first priority in your life and she is second.
  • She needs to know that you are loyal and committed to her.

But gals…you are not off the hook either. In order for men to stand up and lead they need something from us:

  • Your guy needs to know that your first priority is Christ and he is your second.
  • He needs to know you trust him in the decisions he makes
  • He needs your encouragement
  • He needs you to pray for him
  • If he does make a mistake, remember he’s human and we all make mistakes. Don’t bring him down or wag your finger with all the “I told you so” comments. Instead, hug him and tell him you love him then dig in and fix it together.
  • He needs your support
  • He needs your respect

Take some time ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the ways you are living outside your God-given roles. Ladies, do you need to willingly and cooperatively submit as an equal to your husband? Men, do you need to submit to Christ? What can you do right now that will help you submit to who’s in charge?

Developing Godly Marriages

A Man of Honor

by Julie Bruce

1 peter 3 7

 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV)

 

Peter gives husbands some instructions on how to live with their wives. He tells them to

  • Live with them with understanding
  • Give honor to her
  • Recognize that she is the weaker vessel
  • Like him, she is an heir of eternal life

But then he ends the verse with “that your prayers may not be hindered.” Do you ever feel like your prayers are getting nowhere? If so, go back and look at these four instructions and allow the Holy Spirit to identify any way that you may not be honoring your wife in these ways.

What does it mean to be a man of honor? King David wrote in Psalms 101:

“I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.
I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar
I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil
I will not tolerate people who sander their neighbors.
I will not endure conceit and pride.

I will search for faithful people to be my companions
Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked”

In today’s world, we have become so desensitized to sin and don’t see sin as God sees it. But husbands, there is no room for compromise! God is calling you to courageously stand up and be men of honor, which begins at home and with your relationship with your wife. If you have no honor in your own home, you will not have honor anywhere. You demonstrate honor to your wife when you speak well of her, when you treat her with respect in both word and actions. You honor her by providing for her, loving her intimately, being faithful to her and leading her ever closer to God as you grow together in a thriving relationship with Him.

It is not just with your wife that you need to be a man of honor. You also need to be a father of honor. Just imagine how things would different in your home if you lived according to Psalm 101 and I Peter 3:7. Is there a little boy in your home looking up to and learning from you how to one day treat his wife? Is there a little girl who is learning from you how a man should treat her when she is a wife? Are your children learning about integrity from you?

How would our world be different if husbands and fathers were courageous men of honor? How would crime rates be affected? What about drug use? What about the statistics for physical and sexual abuse? What about the rate of divorce or children in foster care?

You, dear husband, have been initiated, called out by God to be the one He identified to care for, protect, provide, and honor your wife and children. You are to be their spiritual leader to guide them toward Christ. 1 Peter is very clear that if you do not live this way, your prayers will be hindered.

Are there ways that you are not honoring your wife? Are you compromising your honor in any way? Is there any way your eyes are not honoring your wife? Is there any way your ears do not honor her? Is there any way your hands do not honor her? Is there any way your lips do not honor her? Is there anywhere our feet take you that does not honor her? If so, will you confess those to God right now and then live courageously, standing up as a man of honor?

What a different world we would live in if husbands and fathers were spiritual leaders and men of honor! Rise Up, O men of God. Stand firm. Be courageous and say, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)