I know there are some who will be offended by this post. So I want to caveat this by saying I am writing simply what we are called to do as wives. I am not perfect in this by any means (more on that in a minute) but I am trying to grow in this direction and I think we all should try to. Applying Biblical principals and callings to our lives is never meant to condemn or oppress us.
I’ve been sitting on the idea of this blog for a while. Honestly the idea came to me on a night when I was seething with bitterness. I actually don’t remember now what I was upset about. But as I stomped around the house loudly finishing chores while my husband laid (probably with headphones in) in bed, something inside of me began to call me away from my selfishness. As I walked into the kitchen to make something for myself, I instead started making his lunch and coffee for the next day. I decided to give him the best. To give him the part I wanted for myself.
It began as a very self righteous act. But it became very humbling. By the time I was finished and ready for bed I was actually praising him in my head. He works hard. He gives his best to us. I can give my best to him… And that’s when this idea hit me. Do I tend to my husband’s needs because I love and appreciate him? Do I do it because I am expected to? What is my heart behind those actions? And do I tend to the very heart of my husband?
Equal in Value, Different in Role
Over the past few years we have heard a lot of new phrases and terms like “Toxic Masculinity” and “Mansplaining”. While there are valid examples in the culture of both of those, we have begun to apply that mindset to every man. I have watched men wrestle internally with whether or not to open the door for me or to offer to help me as I wrangle four kids in and out of the parking lot. That used to be common practice. Men used to tip their hats to women. They used to open the door.
They say chivalry is dead now. Yes, and feminism killed it.
Prior to having a husband and a couple of little boys, I didn’t think much of this stuff. It didn’t really matter to me how men were treated in the culture. Not because I didn’t care but because I didn’t really know. The truth is we have created a culture that sees women as superior, smarter, victims of the very existence of men. This isn’t about pay gaps or bodily autonomy. It is as though the very existence of men lessens the value of women. It is about a culture that treats women as inherently good and men as inherently evil. A good man is considered an exception to the rule..
The sad thing is we as wives and mamas who have to live in this culture have adopted this mindset without even realizing it.
What is a Man?
I’m not talking about Biology here, I mean what makes someone transform from a young boy to a man. What are his characteristics? What takes a little boy from running around the backyard with a slingshot and trains him up into a strong, courageous, and productive man? The kind of man who steps in front of a bullet. The kind of man who sacrifices everything for his family, community, or country..
The Bible says:
A man is strong, stands firm in faith, and let’s all that he does be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). A man provides for his family. (1 Timothy 5:8) A man pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11).
I know there are men who do not live up to that description. On the other hand if I wrote out what a woman is called to be, most of us would feel that we do not live up to that standard either. But calling women out for it is mysogynistic, calling men out for it is just somehow acknowledging truth.
The One You Can Feel Safe With
Before I jump into how this is showing up in our marriages, I think it is important to note the effect it has on our sons also. I always see this post going around Facebook where Mamas say “I’m raising the son your daughter can feel safe with.”
Well I would hope so. I don’t think anyone is purposefully raising their son to mistreat women. But I never hear anyone say “I am raising my daughter so your son can feel safe with her.” or “I am raising girls who will speak in kindness to your sons.”
I want my boys to grow to be strong men. I want them surrounded by people who see value in that role. A society with strong men should not be an oppressed society. A society with strong men should be a society with strong, confident, safe women and children!
Mamas, we are called to raise our boys to be men, regardless of what culture says.
This cultural mindset very much has an effect on our marriages as well…
Have you ever noticed husbands need help with all kinds of things? They can never find the ketchup in the refrigerator even though it is directly in front of them. They can never remember plans you told them about the night before. And they always mess up disciplining the kids.. As with all the best lies, there is some truth in there. My husband can never find things in the fridge and he always needs reminders of our planned outings. But somewhere in the midst of those silly things, we seem to have deemed them incompetent and start to treat them like children. (Maybe even worse..)
This is not to be rude, but I see this all the time, from myself also. We seem to forget that our husbands are in fact men and fathers. And they most likely became fathers at the same time we became mothers. They don’t need our direction in parenting or disciplining. In fact our undermining them in front of our children is teaching our kids that they don’t have to respect their own father!
This is a hard pill to swallow, but I promise it is like honey once you get it down- Our husbands do not need our corrections. Now don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for that- it is in private between the two of you- in case you were wondering. They don’t need reprimanded in front of company. They don’t need you to approve or disapprove of their parenting. We are helpers not instructors. Isn’t it better news to have a helper in parenting than a grown child running around waiting for your help?
The Struggles of Strength
I have grown up surrounded by strong women. There are so many benefits in that, but there are also a lot of drawbacks. Our first year that we were married I would open my mouth to speak and I almost couldn’t believe the voices that would come out. But I always thought that I was in the right, so my tone didn’t really matter. The thing is it matters to God, to our husbands, and how it affects the hearts of our husbands should matter to us.
We would be seeing red if someone spoke so harshly and so negatively about our husbands. So why is it okay for us to do it?
We would never sit idly and let someone tear our husband, his masculinity, or role in our family apart. So why do we demean, correct, and scold him?
If anyone called our husbands lazy, uncaring, or dumb we would take great offense to that and probably cut ties with that person. So why do we use words like that when addressing or describing them?
Would we be happy if our husbands spoke to us the way we spoke to them? If they spoke about us to their friends the way we talk about them to ours?
The Calling of a Wife
“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.” Proverbs 31:11
We are called to tend to our husband’s hearts. Someday we will stand before God. And it will matter how kind we were to the stranger. It will matter how we raised our kids. It will matter how we handled our ministries, our gifts, and our callings. Why would we ever think it wouldn’t matter how we treated our husbands?
The one God made us one with.
The one we bear an image of Christ and His church with.
And the one we made vows to God to love, to care for, and to walk beside in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.
It is no small feat to be a wife. It is a calling on our lives. We are called to serve God first and then our husband before any others..
Serving Him Well
In marriage, we often think the other person should be serving us more. We start to withhold love and affection because we feel that we aren’t receiving it which starts a vicious cycle. How can we love someone so much one day that we pledge “until death do us part” and then gripe, complain, and withhold so much of ourselves a couple of months later?
Men desire respect. It is simply the way God made them and our first line of defense when we are hurt tends to be to disrespect them.
You are not married to Bill Cosby or any other loser you see on TV who has somehow shifted an entire culture to hating all men. If your husband treats you with kindness, works hard, tries hard, and gives the best he can- he deserves your love and recognition. You don’t have to wait on him to be a ‘perfect’ husband in order for you to be a ‘good’ wife. Serve him well because you are called to. Serving him well is serving HIM well.
Model the job of a wife for your daughters. Show your sons the kind of woman you hope they will find someday. And tend to the heart of your husband- in return he may tend to yours.
Lastly to Those Who Go It Alone,
I realize there are mamas who read my blog who don’t have a husband or whose husband is absent despite his presence.
So to the mama who is alone whether through widowhood, divorce, or whatever the case may be, God’s grace is sufficient for you. Whether he sends you a husband or not, you still have a calling and a ministry. God will care for His own. We see over and over in the Bible God caring for those who don’t have a husband or someone else to care for them. You are not forgotten. You are part of the bride of Christ. And you can teach your children to be godly men even without a father in the house. His grace is sufficient.
To the one with a present husband who does not carry his role in the family, do not give up. Don’t grow weary in well doing. I cannot imagine the burden that is on your shoulders. A burden you were never intended to carry. God’s grace is sufficient for you as well. Love your husband well even if he doesn’t deserve it. You will someday answer for your part. If he doesn’t reciprocate- that is not your fault. You will not be held responsible for his actions, only for your own.
If you need someone to pray with you or encourage you- message me!
A Challenge for the Week Ahead
This week serve your husband. Give him the last brownie you were saving for yourself. When you have worked hard all day and feel unnoticed- praise him instead of asking him to praise you. Leave a note on the counter for him, lay out his work clothes, or simply hug him for no reason. Don’t get angry if he doesn’t respond to your efforts simply be glad you chose to do them anyways. I hope you all have a wonderful week!
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