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

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Mr. Steady" vs. the Doormat

I'm a peacemaker. At least I try to be. I'm not a wave maker. I'm a "don't rock the boat" kind of guy.  I like a steady ride. I don't like conflict, never did.  I don't like to go into a situation where I know there will be a debate for which I will have to produce an argument.  I'm unable to think that fast, and most times I walk away undignified and damaged.

I don't think I'm a-typical in my behavior. I defer to my bride's preferences in load of things, even when I would prefer something else. It's why we have a flower garden.  It's also why we have a yellow kitchen.  It's part of my job as her husband.  I deny myself for her.

Like many husbands, I do my best to avoid conflict in my house and my marriage. I don't argue very much.  I'm what Debi Pearl would call "Mr. Steady."  The guy who goes with the flow.

But what does being "Mr. Steady" really do for our marriage?   What happens when a husband always goes with what his wife wants without ever asserting his own preferences into the relationship?  I struggle with this question because I have been a go-with-the-flow kind of person for most of my 48 years.  I haven't expressed opinions that needed expressing because (a) I wish to avoid conflict and (b) I don't have facts to back up my opinion.

So, here's the dilemma:

Can I be "Mr. Steady" without becoming "Mr. Doormat?"

Here's what I know ...

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3)

I am the head of my wife.  Some husbands would interpret this verse to mean that husbands should get whatever they want.  What I say goes.  She has to do what I say because I'm the husband.

Well, yes.  BUT ...  That doesn't mean that I can steamroll over my wife and make her do whatever I want.  The point of this verse is to give a hierarchy in the family.  Jesus --> husband --> wife.  I am not really the head, but rather the middle man.  Christ gives me guidance and I guide my wife, not to do everything I want, but to do what is best for our marriage.

Will she always be agreeable to this?   No, she won't.  She might rebel.  She might throw a tantrum and argue and yell.  She might give you the silent treatment for days and days and days.  Yep.  She might.

On the other hand, she might understand your authority and comply, trusting that your decisions are made with the best interest of both of you in mind.

Many husbands will not ask for things they desire or make a decision in areas that would bring dramatic growth and improve to the marriage because they have tried it and been refused so many times they've given up.  I admit there are topics that I will not bring up again because they have not been received well.  I don't believe I'm unique in this as a husband. 

Are they important things?  Yes, some of them are very important, however the Bible says ...

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
(1 Peter 3:7)

I must live with her in an understanding way.  I must take her feelings into consideration above my own.  Does this mean God's plan for my marriage will never come to fruition?  Perhaps.  Bottom line is that no husband can for his wife to submit, no matter who is guiding him .  I can only lead.  She must decide to follow.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25)

I'm supposed to give myself up, putting off my desires for her ... for her what?  For her whims?  for her temper tantrums?  For her desires?

Or for her good and the good of our marriage?  I think this is the intention of the verse, and the role of a husband.   The decisions I make as a husband are supposed to be for the good of my bride.  She might not always like it.  She might not always submit.

Likewise, I might not always submit.  I might clearly understand the instructions of God, and dismiss them because I do not wish to have conflict in my marriage relationship, whether it's for our good or not.

Does that make me a doormat?  Or "Mr. Steady?"

Is there a difference?

I think maybe I have some work to do.

1 comment:

  1. It's a tough balance to strike, Thomas. But I think you've pointed out when your easy-going "Mr Steady" becomes a doormat--when you let the fear of conflict control your choices. I think that means you can feel the fear but be the courageous, loving husband anyway. Great thoughts here, my friend! I like the angle you've come from and I'm so glad you linked this up with Wedded Wed too. :)