"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Monday, March 11, 2013

No. I Will NOT Read Your Blog.

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.  They all have different styles of leadership.  Some are dictators, some are more democratic in their approach. Still others lead by serving.

I have always thought of myself as a cross between democratic and servant-leader.  I'm not the type who takes a "my way or the highway" stance on issues.  Instead, I learned my role by watching my father who was a gentle servant to his family.  As a result of his servant-leadership, we all had the utmost respect for him. 

That is why I was shocked recently when a good friend explained that he wouldn't read my blog because he didn't feel I was a good leader in my marriage and family.  It wasn't the fact that he didn't read it that saddened me, but the reason behind it.  He was telling me that, in his eyes, I was in some way unfit to be a husband and father, and therefore nothing I had to say on the subject of marriage was worth reading.

Ouch.

Could that be true?  Am I a bad husband?  Do I fail to take the lead in my marriage?

Or ...

Is my leadership style radically different from his, and therefore disagreeable to him?

Let's take a look.

As a husband I am charged with loving my wife as Christ loved the church.  What is that supposed to look like in my daily life? What did Jesus do on a daily basis to show His love for the church?

Sacrifice
Jesus sacrificed His very life for me.  I am instructed to love my wife likewise, giving up everything I have for her.  What does that look like for real?  It means I give up my life for her.  It means I meet her needs and put mine aside.  It means I defer to her on stuff.  LOTS of stuff. It also means many times my needs will not be met.  I won't always get my own way. 
    
Instruction
When the Holy Spirit is prodding me to lead my wife and family in a certain direction that my bride doesn't understand, I have to explain why I feel it is necessary to proceed.  Sometimes it's a matter of practicality or necessity, sometimes it's a spiritual matter, and sometimes it's a matter of growing in oneness and intimacy as a couple.  In any case, it's my job to explain what God is asking me (us) to do.  

Forgiveness
When my wife does something to hurt me, shows disrespect, is unloving in some way, I must forgive her.  After all, I have treated Jesus far worse than my wife could possibly treat me.  yet in spite of what I've done to Him, He forgives me every time.  The least I can do is to forgive my wife.

Servanthood
Jesus spent His entire ministry serving people.  If I am to be Christ in my marriage, then my job is to serve my wife.  I have to put her needs and desires ahead of mine and make sure she feels comfortable and loved. 

Submission
Jesus lived His life in complete submission to His Father.  To show Christ's love in my marriage, I must be in submission to my Heavenly Father as well.  I have to listen to Him in my everyday life and understand what He wants from me.  Then I have to do it.

All of the things listed here are for husbands who want to have godly, Christian marriages that strive toward the one-flesh relationship God intended.  However, we can still do all these things and have rebellious wives who will not submit to our God-given authority in the home.  In that case, what should a husband do? Should he plod ahead with his plans, running rough shot over his wife?  Or should he do as Peter suggests and be understanding and considerate, showing respect to her as a joint heir of the Kingdom? (1 Peter 3:7)

In plain language, if I feel strongly that our marriage would benefit from changing this or that, or doing "X" or "Y" instead of "Z," but my wife will not agree to it, then I have 2 choices,

1. Go ahead with my plan anyway, or
2. Sacrifice what I want to make her happy and comfortable.

Now, there are some who will say, "Yes, but Jesus wasn't always a nice guy.  He overturned tables and used a whip in the temple."

True, but when Jesus cleansed the temple it was an extreme situation, AND his Dad told Him to do it.  He was being obedient.  Other times He instructed the church and left it to them whether they would obey or sin. 

There has never been a time when God told me to use harsh words or violent actions to make my wife submit.  I can't make her do it.  She must choose to submit. 

Are there areas where God has urged me to improve and grow my marriage?  Of course. 

Did my bride go along with every one of them?  No. 

Was I able to make her submit?  Of course not. 


Am I going to go ahead with my plans anyway?  No. 

In the meantime I wait and lead patiently and considerately, calling out sin when I see it, and asking for forgiveness when I need it.





5 comments:

  1. Awesome post! There are a few blogs that I don't agree with either, but I usually learn something. I think it's kind of revealing of a certain type of pride to say, "I have nothing to learn from you." But still, I remember when I was new in the faith and needed the protection so there was certain things I didn't read; it was more of a maturity thing. Once I matured somewhat I was able to discern what was for me and what wasn't. Keep up the good work and go where God has lead you, no matter the naysayers!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the encouragement. Almost 18 years into our marriage and I'm still developing my leadership "style." As long as a husband keeps his mind in the Word and his heart in prayer, God will provide the skills he needs to lead.

      Delete
  2. Last week I spent an hour in teleconference talking about the same issue: submission in marriage. We all agreed that you cannot make someone submit. Even God doesn't do that. Submission is a choice.

    Good post. Your friend is missing out. If we only read things that were from perfectly individuals, well, we'd have the Bible (which is great, don't get me wrong)...and a lot of empty bookshelves, and we'd miss out from learning from so many other people's mistakes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, submission is a choice. We can't beat our wives into submission. Even if they would submit that way, it would likely be outward submission only.

      I lead my wife and family according to the direction the Lord wants me to go. My method for leading will never be your style and vice versa. We each must lead in the marriage God has given us, regardless of the situations of other marriages around us.

      Delete
  3. Submission is a choice.
    Opression is forced.

    ReplyDelete