Building a Godly Marriage

building houseI was reading this morning in Proverbs about the wise woman. I desire for my life to exude wisdom, no doubt every Christian woman does, so when I came across this verse it immediately caught my attention. “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands,” Proverbs 14:1. Often in scripture parallels are drawn between the family and a house. Psalm 127 is a great example. The first verse says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” Reading the chapter in context we easily see that the passage is speaking of the family. The following Psalm gives another example of the blessed man and his house. “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table,” Psalm 128:3. So, a wise woman builds her house, or we could say that she builds her family. But a foolish woman plucks it down.

A person does not have to know a lot about buildings, or even understand all the concepts behind construction, to know the most important aspect. If you want to build a structure that will last, it has to be built on a solid foundation. The only foundation solid enough to build a lasting marriage is Christ. As the old hymn goes, “all other ground is sinking sand”. Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian home. My husband and I have counseled with many Christian families who are falling apart. They might appear to be healthy and striving as a family, but it is just a façade. They have the foundation of Christ in their home, but they are building a weak, unsecured structure upon that foundation. Our enemy, the great deceiver, is seeking to destroy Christian families. If Christ is truly the foundation of the home, we rest in the peace that the foundation cannot be destroyed. The enemy knows this, but it does not keep him from seeking to destroy the framework of the home.

The framework of the Christian home is the marriage. Think about what happens when Christian marriages are destroyed. The home is shattered, churches are weakened, testimonies are lost, and the enemy is victorious when this happens. This is because the biblical marriage on earth is a picture to the world of the perfect heavenly marriage. We find this truth in Ephesians 5:22-32.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

When Christian marriages operate in an unbiblical fashion, they portray to the world a distorted and false view of Christ and His bride. I recognize that most couples do not think about their marriage in this light. Too many times they are so busy focusing on themselves for their testimony to the world to even be considered. But bearing in mind the current state of marriage within the Christian community, it’s high time that Christian people start thinking about these things. What is your marriage saying to those around you? As children of God, does your marriage reflect the power of God in your life? When the unsaved world looks at your marriage are they drawn to God and His glorious truths?

A wise woman will build her house. She starts with the correct foundation and builds a godly marriage from there. But a wife cannot do it alone. It will take work and commitment from both husband and wife. This is why God commands His children to “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” 2 Corinthians 6:14a. It is imperative for a godly marriage. The picture is that through marriage my husband and I are yoked together or as Christ stated we are no longer two but one flesh. “(Jesus) said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” Matthew 19:5-6.

To pluck down or destroy my house would be to destroy myself, and that certainly would not be wise!

Advertisements

The Fallacy and Reality of Submission

“We are leaving the church.”  The comment was made to my husband who is also the pastor of our church.  The reason given for this couple leaving was that his preaching and teaching regarding women was chauvinistic.  When my husband asked them if they would like to see in Scripture where his teaching came from the wife’s reply was, “You can show me, but that will not change my mind.”  After showing her and her husband several passages, their response was that these verses were written thousands of years ago and do not apply to modern society.

Unfortunately, our culture confuses and undermines womanhood and submission with damaging preconceived ideas.  From the moment a young lady is thrust into society she becomes indoctrinated with feministic teachings contrary to Scripture.  Screaming equality, their feminist philosophy holds to the view that “Anything a man can do, I can do better!”  Once more subtle, it has now become blatant. Too often we hear narcissistic phrases such as:  “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” and “I like to think of ‘men’ as the diminutive of ‘women’”.  Perhaps the worse one of all is, “God is just an abbreviation for goddess.”   These catch phrases and slogans slowly and surely eat away at the foundation of biblical womanhood and seek to destroy society as a whole.

Consider these quotes.

Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences. – Isadora Duncan

Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors. – Evelyn Cunningham

I ask no favors for my sex…. All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks.-  Sarah Moore Grimké

As the radical feminist movement spreads throughout our country, the marks of distinction are no longer clear.  Once stood the ungodly, man-hating, ferocious feminist on one side and the Bible believing, meek, and quiet woman on the other.  But regrettably over the last couple of generations, as professing Christians continue to embrace the world; these two groups are slowly evolving together into what we see today.   You see, the thought that teaching on submission is chauvinistic and that Paul’s writings are not relevant did not come from the world and those outside the church.  These thoughts were voiced by professing Christians within the church.

These are just a few of the modern fallacies of submission being spouted.  Another misconception is that if a woman submits to her husband she becomes a doormat to be abused and walked all over.  The worldly belief is that submission lowers a woman’s worth and that it makes a woman subordinate to man.  All of these ideals are false.  However, we cannot ignore this philosophy and the agenda that is being pushed upon Christians today.  Because there is no such thing as amoral education, we must address the fact that the majority of children are being educated on the foundation of humanistic and secular teaching.  Even children that are being educated on Christian principles are exposed to secular beliefs about manhood, womanhood, and marriage via music, television, books, and society.  If not correctly taught, these children will grow into adults who continue to pass along their misconceptions.

How do we expose the fallacies?  It begins and ends with truth.  So let’s take a look at the realities of submission.  The first thing to recognize is that submission is for Christians.  We falsely assume that the non-believer should follow the dictates of Scripture.  While perhaps they should follow scripture, in truth they cannot.  “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them…,”1 Corinthians 2:14.  God designed marriage.  We see where He ordained it and the structure of it in Genesis chapter two.  Adam is created and is given a job to do and a law to keep.  God then looks out and for the first time says that something is not good.  “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him,” Genesis 2:18.  Eve is made from the rib of Adam and brought to him by God.   Here is the institution of marriage.  Then in Ephesians 5 we are given the directives for the Christian marriage.   “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” Ephesians 5:22-26. Submission is “as unto the Lord”.  An unbelieving wife cannot properly submit to her husband because she has not submitted her life to the Lord, just as an unbelieving husband cannot properly love his wife because he has not submitted to the Lord.

Now that the foundation has been laid that submission is only possible for the saved, let’s look at it through the eyes of a believer.  Submission is a beautiful term that we should hold dear.  It is through submission to Christ and as Lord of our life that we are saved.  James 4:7 declares “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”  As we saw in Ephesians 5, a wife’s submission to her husband is “unto the Lord”.  In the same way, a child’s submission to the parent’s is in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-3).  Likewise, believers are told to submit to those in biblical authority (Hebrews 13:17) and those in authority over us such as our government (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13).  In general, we are to submit to and prefer one another in a spirit of humility (Romans 12:10, 1 Peter 5:5, Ephesians 5:21).  Submission is a part of the believer’s life.

In addition, submission in the biblical marriage portrays to the world a picture of Christ and His bride. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing,” Ephesians 5:24.  Just as the church is subject unto Christ, so is the wife to her own husband.  When the Christian wife is not submissive, she is showing the world a distorted depiction of Christ and the church.

 Submission in no way lowers a woman’s worth and makes her subordinate to man.  Christianity, in fact, raises women to a level of honor.  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered,”  1Peter 3:7.  The “weaker vessel” implies a more delicate or precious vessel, as in a priceless crystal vase.  She is not common but something rare to be held in high regard.   It is made clear that the husband and wife are “heirs together of the grace of life”.  Man and woman are equal in God’s eyes (Galatians 3:28).  But that does not mean they have the same roles.  Society understands this in every instance until it comes to biblical marriage.  For example, the Governor of your state and his assistant are both created equal as human beings.  However, it would be foolish to assume that because of their equality they should have the same role in government.  As a person, the owner of a corporation and a day laborer are both equal.  But it is easy to see and accept the structure of authority when it comes to the workplace.  Likewise, there is a structure of authority in the home, but the enemy seeks to distort it.

What about the ideal that Paul was a chauvinist?  What about the statement that these verses were written thousands of years ago and not relevant to modern society?  First, as believers we must accept that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16.  It is an error to pick and choose which verses we want to apply.  If we are going to throw out scripture based on when it was written we would have to disregard the entire Bible.  That would include cherished verses like John 3:16.  So the age of Paul’s writings is an invalid point.  Secondly, Paul’s teaching is not based on cultural customs but on God’s design.  The example Paul gives in I Timothy for women’s role is not a cultural one.  He goes all the way back to creation and the structure of authority in the marriage (I Timothy 2:13-14).  In Ephesians we see the mystery of marriage revealed.  “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church,” Ephesians 5:32.  Again, it is all by God’s design.

Now that the fallacies have been exposed and the realities declared, where will you stand?  Will you stand on God’s Word and the beauty of His plan for marriage or will you stand on the emotions and opinions of the world?  Here is the amazing reality of absolute truth.  You can accept the truth or reject the truth, but you cannot change the truth.  As a Christian woman, you have an awesome opportunity to illustrate the truths of biblical womanhood and submission.  It is a beautiful thing.  It is God ordained.  And it makes for a great, God-honoring marriage.

Nurturing Your Marriage – Part Four

 The third key to nurturing your marriage is practical application of these truths previously mentioned.  Knowledge (knowing truth) is not enough; we need wisdom (applying truth) in our marriages.

Homeschooling mother, I know you are busy.  Life is demanding.  You are home all day teaching the children.  There is work to do, places to go, errands to run, a home to manage, lessons to be taught, projects to complete, and schedules to make and keep.  Some days bring many challenges and there are probably times when your husband walks in the door only to be greeted with chaos.  While these days are a reality, I have found that a conscience effort to manage my “office” well is very beneficial to our marriage.  I have always said that my career is my family.  It is my job, given to me by God.  Therefore, if my career is my family then my office is my home.  I’m going to take the liberty to speak for all the husbands out there.  They do not want to come home to a messy house with loud children running around.  They do not want to see dishes in the sink and laundry piled up in the living room.  The kitchen table does not need to be overrun with school books, paper, and computers.  There does not need to be a science project hanging in his bathroom either.  He doesn’t want to see the children dirty and unkempt. And he certainly does not want to see his wife in sweats and a t-shirt with a chili stain left over from lunch on the front of her shirt.  You husband wants to walk in the door and greeted by a smiling wife and children who are happy to see him.  The home needs to be orderly.  I am not saying it has to be immaculate, but it should be managed well.  A little care goes a long way in a home.  If your husband comes home every day at 6 p.m. make sure by 5 p.m. you have a plan for dinner, the house is somewhat picked up, the children are happy and quiet, and the schoolbooks are put away.  If you are not finished with schoolwork by 5 p.m. then you need to start your day sooner.  I am speaking from experience.  Trust me; I have had a few of these chaotic days.  But let me say that when my home is managed well things go much smoother.  It’s certainly worth the extra effort.

Another must for marriage is Date Night!  It is imperative that you spend at least one day a month out on a date with your husband.  Just to clarify, this means without the children.  You are old enough now that you do not need chaperones.  The dates do not have to be elaborate.  While that is nice every now and then, it is not necessary.  Date nights can be as simple as a hamburger from McDonalds and holding each other’s hand while walking through a store together.  The important thing is that you spend time together, talk, and enjoy each other’s company.  Date nights can also be at home.  Put the children to bed early or rent them a video, fix a late dinner, and light some candles.  Your children will appreciate the fact that their parents make time for each other.  And your husband will appreciate the fact that he has a wife that desires to spend time with him.

Communication is also essential to a thriving marriage.  Homeschooling is a big part of your life.  Make sure you and your husband communicate often about the children.  Typically the dad does not spend as much time with them as the mother does so he needs to be involved.  Let him know how they are doing academically.  Share their successes and their failures with him.  Let the dad oversee the direction of their schooling.  Do not make him feel bad for always being at work. Thank him for working hard so that you have the privilege to be able to stay home and homeschool the children.  It is common mistake to have the attitude of “Mother knows best” when it comes to the education of the children.  But, when it comes down to it, the father as head of the family will be held accountable by God for the direction of his family and the education of the children.

Finally, do not over commit.  It is easy to go through life doing good things and completely miss out on the best things.  Sports are good.  Ministry is good.  Homeschool groups and activities are good.  Hobbies and recreations are good.  But marriage is best.  Children are best.  Relationships are best.  Warm memories are best.  Don’t become so busy that you are exhausted all the time.  Don’t become too B.U.S.Y. (Bound Under Satan’s Yoke).  Don’t run around doing things and forget about people.  Make time for your husband and make it a priority.  Make plans to eat together as a family.  And make sure every now and then that it is at home at the kitchen table and not in the car running to your next activity.

Nurturing Your Marriage – Part Three

Clear Priorities

A thriving biblical marriage can be characterized by having three priorities in place.  The first priority is to have a growing
relationship with God.  As I said in the previous post, God ordained marriage for His children.  Those outside of the faith cannot have a true biblical marriage.  Our relationship with
God should be preeminent.  C.S. Lewis said, “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall
love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”  My husband and I have an understanding that God comes first in our life.  We’ll gladly settle for second place.  When we are each putting God first we are both moving in the same direction and our marriage is strengthened.

The second priority is a growing marriage.  Other than God, nothing should come before your marriage.  That includes your children, family, friends, or career.  The Christian marriage is like a triangle.  God is on top and the husband and wife at
each bottom corner.  The closer they get to God, the closer they get to each other.  The Scriptures declare, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken,” Ecclesiastes 4:12b. Wife, your husband should know that he is a priority in your life.  He should know that you understand and embrace your calling from God as help meet to him.  He should know that, next to God, nothing is more important to you on this earth than your relationship with him.  I like what Martin Luther said about marriage.  “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” This is a God-honoring marriage that points other’s to Him.

The third priority is a growing relationship with the children.  Notice the order.  As precious as children are, they should not come before the marriage.  The home is
not to be “child-centered.”  If the children are the focus, what happens when they leave?  God’s design is for the children to eventually leave, cleave, and weave their own family together. Therefore, mother should not devote all of her time and energy to them.  She should save some for her husband.  Of course, this is not always easy to do.  It takes a lot of time and energy to raise children.  Homeschooling takes even more.  But the most wonderful gift you can give your children is a deep love for their father.  A strong marriage brings security to the home and an environment that children thrive in.

Tomorrow we will look at the third key to nurturing your marriage – practical application of these truths.

Nurturing Your Marriage – Part Two

Recognizing Your Role

The first key to nurturing your marriage is recognizing your role as wife.  Modern society and the feminist agenda whisper lies into the ears of many Christian women.  One very subtle lie is that marriage is a corporate merger.  The idea is that you will bring in your career, assets, goals, and hobbies into the marriage and I’ll bring in my career, assets, goals, and hobbies and we’ll merge the two together.  What it looks like played out is the husband goes one way and the wife another.  They have two separate visions with two separate goals.  This idea is secular and worldly
and it destroys many marriages.

The biblical role of the wife is to be the help meet to her husband.  We are shown God’s perfect plan for marriage in Genesis chapter two.  When Adam is created God places him in the garden and gives him a job to do and a law to keep.  Adam was to work and tend to the garden.   But he needed help. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him,” Genesis 2:18.  God did not created Adam and Eve together.  He created Adam, set him on his path, and then created Eve to come along side him to help accomplish all that he had set out to do.

Today, we see a different take on marriage.  It seems oppressive to say a wife’s job is to help her husband with his career, plans, goals, and dreams.  She should be seeking her own heart’s desire.  He should respect her need to be independent and they should both give and take in the marriage vision.  While that might sound good and noble, it is a distorted view of biblical marriage.  (Remember, marriage is for the saved.  God ordained marriage and the unregenerate cannot achieve marriage as He intended.  They do not know true love and they certainly cannot follow the mandates of Scripture.)  Here is what often happens in today’s society.  A husband has a vision and goes to work.  But, due to materialistically enslaving ourselves with homes, cars, and consumer debt, we are told that both husband and wife must bring in an income in order to survive.
So the wife becomes career focused and goes out into the world and works for another man or woman.  She spends her life building up the empire of another person.  She has taken on man’s curse to work by “the sweat of thy face.” She comes home over worked and exhausted, having no energy for her husband and her family.  She is no longer “husband focused”.  Because she is sharing in his role of providing, he now has
to step in and partner with his wife in tending to the children, managing the home, cleaning house, doing chores, etc.  While some Christian women willingly choose this way of life, I believe that deep down most women resent it.  I lay this problem mostly at the husband’s feet.  He should recognize his role as provider.  Unfortunately for them, most men have never been taught this.

Biblical marriage looks a little different.  The husband takes the responsibility to provide for his family. The wife comes along side to help him fulfill his goals.  Now, it might be that for a season she works for another in order to help her husband do this.  I am not implying this is wrong.  In no way am I saying that it is a sin for a Christian woman to work outside the home. (I will, however, say in confidence that it is God’s plan for mothers to be at home with their babies and young children and for her life to be centered on the home. Read Titus 2 and Proverbs 31.)  Her priority in life should be to help her husband achieve his goals.

Why would I as a Christian wife go out into this world and spend all my talents, time, and energy building up the kingdom of another man by working for him?   I would much rather spend my talents, time, and energy building up my husband’s kingdom.  When his kingdom is built, so is mine!   If we would step back and honestly look, we would see that most of society at best does not understand biblical marriage and at worse views biblical marriage in disdain.  Let me give you an example.  The other day my husband was talking to man at our church and turned to me and said, “We are going to have dinner up here Friday night at 7 p.m.  Please take care of that.”  I said, “Sure, no problem.”  Later the comment was made that this man felt sorry for me because my husband told me what to do and I had to do it.   Let me ask this.  If I worked as a secretary for another man and he turned to me one day and said, “We need a meal catered in for a board meeting, take care of it” would people feel sorry for me?  I don’t think so.  The thought would be that it is my job to do as I’m told.  But for some reason when a wife takes her role as “help meet” seriously it is perplexing to people.  Sadly, I believe it is partly due to the fact that biblical marriage is just not taught to Christians anymore.

Now, I realize that this article is addressing homeschooling mothers.  Most of them do have lives that are centered on the home.  However, it should be noted that just because you are not out in the world building up another’s kingdom, does not automatically mean that you are building up your husband’s kingdom.  Are you the help meet God intended?  Do you use your time and talents to help your husband achieve his goals?
Do you use your energy to further his kingdom?  Are you investing in the things that your husband wants you to invest in?  Are his plans for life your plans?  Or, are you both trying to achieve two separate goals in life?  Are you moving in two separate directions?  These are important questions to ask.

One of my favorite scriptures in Proverbs is, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands,” Proverbs
14:1. 
In order to build my house I must recognize my husband’s needs.  Automatically society will say, “No, no, no, you need to worry about
your own needs.”  But, a true understanding of “two becoming one” (Genesis 2:24) is that when I meet my husband’s needs, I am meeting mine.  Husbands have three basic needs – respect, sex, and food.  All of them are scriptural.  Ephesians 5:33 says, “see that she reverence her husband.”  This is the number one need of a husband.  Whether or not a man deserves respect is not the issue.  It is the position of husband that deserves respect. It is no different than respecting those in authority, like the president, because of their position.  The second need is sex.  Sex is only for marriage and by God’s design the wife is the only one that fulfills this need in her husband.  I Corinthians 7:3-5 explains this and the importance of it.  My husband will encourage husbands to give their wives 5 to 6 “non-sexual” hugs a day.  Women are built to need that.  But let me encourage women.  Your husband needs 1 sexual hug a day.  It truly makes for a great marriage.  The third basic need husbands have is
food.  They need it to survive.  I Corinthians 7:34 says, “she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”  A husband that has respect, sex, and good food will be a blessed man indeed.  It will be easy to love and provide for a wife who joyfully meets all of these needs.

Part three in nurturing your marriage will address the second key– Having Clear Priorities.

Just What Kind of Wife Am I?

Last Sunday we began a new small group study from the book of Job.  I am sure most of you are familiar with the tests, trials, and temptations Job faced.  As you read in the first chapter you see the dialogue between God and Satan that initiates his afflictions. 

 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Job 1:8.  

 Satan accuses God of creating a hedge of protection around Job.  In response, God allows Satan to take all he has (except Job’s life, Job 2:6).  Satan takes the lives of his 10 sons and daughters, takes all of his wealth, and eventually his health.  Job is left with nothing but accusatory friends and his wife.

 I have always found it interesting that Satan did not take the life of Job’s wife.  It would seem to me that would be the quickest way to destroy a man.  But as the story unfolds we see one potential reason for leaving her behind. In the midst of affliction, the advice Job’s wife gives her husband is rather dreadful.  “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die, But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips,” Job 2:9-10.

 However, before we are too hard on Job’s wife, we should remember that these troubles came to her as well.  Imagine losing all your children, in addition to your wealth and security.  Job’s tragedy was her tragedy.  So I do not want to be too judgmental.  But what I do want to look at is how she was used as an instrument of Satan.  Satan’s intent was to destroy Job, his life, and his faith.  In his attempt, he took all Job had.  Satan had the authority to take the life of Job’s wife, yet he left her behind.  Could it be that Satan knew she would be more of a hindrance to him alive than dead?

The influence of a wife is great.  A wife can make a good man greater or bring a good man down. The Bible explains it this way. “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands,” Proverbs 14:1.  One of the easiest ways to destroy your husband, your marriage, or your home is with your words.  Proverbs 18:21 says that, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  What power the words of Job’s wife must have held.  There is much we can learn from the example of Job’s wife.  I must ask myself, if Satan were to set out to destroy my husband, am I the kind of wife that could be used in his devilish plot? In the midst of tests, trials, and temptations am I a wife that is a help or a hindrance to my husband.  Am I building him up or tearing him down? 

 Job was under spiritual attack, just as all Christian men are under attack.  As spiritual leaders, Satan wishes to destroy their life, testimony, and family.  It is during these spiritual attacks in a man’s life that he needs the loving support from his wife the most.  Often times, Satan will use the troubles of this world to divide husband and wife.  Our eyes become fixed on our problems; words get spoken in haste and fighting begins.  Sometimes it may even seem that our husband is the enemy.  But it is important to remember that believers do not fight against flesh and blood but against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Ephesians 6:12.  Recognizing this, when we face those hard times husbands and wives need to come together in unity and not fight each other but together fight the Evil One.  

 So, just what kind of wife am I?  Well, you would probably have to ask my husband to get the truest answer.  But I can tell you what kind of wife I desire to be.  My greatest desire is to be a true help meet (Genesis 2:18) that is as a fruitful vine by the sides of his house (Psalms 128:3) and a virtuous woman (Proverbs 31:10) that is a crown to her husband (Proverbs 12:4) whose words are edifying and only minister grace (Ephesians 4:29).

RAZORBACKS

It is a lot easier being a Razorback fan living in NW Arkansas.  Truth be told, I’m not really a fan.  There are too many other things that occupy my time like my family, teaching, church ministry, and writing.  You can see that there is not a lot of time left for team devotion.  However, on occasions I make the time.  Why?  You may ask.  It is because it is important to my husband.  He enjoys watching football games, especially the Razorbacks.  Therefore, what is important to him becomes important to me.

I know what the feminist would say.  She is losing her identity within her husband.  If “losing my identity” is equivalent to being one flesh, I am okay with that.  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” Genesis 2:24.  A wise wife will delight in the things her husband delights in.  It sure makes for a joyful marriage!  So the next time he wants to watch a Razorback game with friends, I’ll encourage it.  I can guarantee that I will not understand the game myself, but I can be hospitable, fix some fine food, and serve it in love.

 

(The boys enjoyed attending their first Razorback scrimmage this year.)

18 and 14

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 18th Anniversary and I celebrated my 14th Mother’s Day!    My husband came home Friday with flowers and informed me that he was taking me out. We had a wonderful evening together.  We spent Saturday together as a family and then spent yesterday with our church family.  We had a blessed service.  Yesterday afternoon we spent the day with some friends -another pastor and his family.  They, too, live far away from their family.  We enjoyed a good meal, visited, and let the children swim.  (The only downfall was that I could not spend the day with my mother and family in Arkansas.  But she was in my thoughts and prayers all day long.)

It seems only appropriate to celebrate our Anniversary and Mother’s day together.  Without 18 wonderful years of marriage, I couldn’t enjoy the 14 blessed years of motherhood.  The high calling of being a wife and mother surpasses all others.  There is no nobler task than to strive to be a godly wife and helpmeet to my husband.  And there is no higher commission than that of bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.   My husband is my champion and he makes being a wife and mother a complete joy.  He only expects from me what my Lord expects from me.  “…to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed,” Titus 2:4-5.   

 Thank you, my love, for 18 years.  We have experienced many mountain tops and have grown closer to the Lord and each other through many valleys.  I love you more today than ever before.

 To my three blessings, you each bring joy to my life.  I love you all dearly!

5 Ways to say “I Love You!”

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the card, chocolate, and flower industries are prospering.  Everyone wants to show their loved ones just how much they truly love them.  But let me ask.  Is this the best way to show our love?  Sure, it is nice to get a card, some chocolate, or a vase of flowers on Valentine’s Day.   But is it really necessary? 

Do not get me wrong.  I love getting flowers and such from my husband.  But I love getting them much more “just because”.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is that the “just because” are not expected.  They are just because he is thinking of me and wants to show his love.  The second reason is that these industries usually increase their prices this time of year.  And I hate having money wasted.

So, what is one to do?  After all, it would be incredibly disheartening to just ignore an extra opportunity to show some love.  We could buy things for our family and they could buy things for us.  But, I’ve put together a list of five ways that we can show our husband or children just how much we love them without spending a dime.

Writing – It stands to reason that a writer would list writing first.  It just makes so much sense.  First of all, when you take the time to write something down it means more.  It is longer lasting.  I’ve written many poems for my husband and family.  One year I made an acrostic poem of my children’s names.  I simply listed attributes about them beginning with the letters of their names.  Maybe poetry is not your expertise.  Don’t despair.   A simple letter that they could hold on to would speak volumes.  I have learned that very few men care about poetry.  They do, however, want to be respected.  So, make a list for your husband of all the reason’s you respect him.  Tell him he’s doing a good job.  Let him know he’s a good father.  Thank him for providing for you every day.  My husband has told other men to go to Wal-mart and copy down a Halmark card word for word.  I won’t comment on that! But I will say that there is nothing sweeter than a hand written note.

Baking – Sure you can go to the store and buy cupcakes or cookies.  But there is always one ingredient the stores leave out – love.  Sure you can go out, wait in line for two hours, and share a fancy meal at an expensive restaurant with dozens of other couples but where is the romance in that?  One sure way to let your loved ones know you care is to bake them something.  Pancakes for breakfast with chocolate chips are one way to give my children something special.  One year I took some chocolate and melted it down.  I then took wooden skewers and made chocolate heart suckers for my children.  A little time and $3 later I was their hero!  A frozen pizza is particularly special for my husband!  No, not for him to eat but for the children.  You see, I can fix us a special romantic meal and send the children to another room with a frozen pizza and a movie.  They are happy to get a special treat.  We are happy to have some special time.  Everyone wins!  Does your husband have a favorite meal or dessert?  Make it for him.  He’ll love you for it! 

  Investing – Nothing articulates love like time!  Invest some time into your children.  Play a game with them.  Color with them.  Read a book together.  Help them make a tent in the living room.  Just spend time with them.  And, after spending time with them put them to bed early and spend time with your husband.  My husband and I like to take walks together.  We stay close to the house, hold hands, and walk.  It’s wonderful.  If you have a busy day scheduled make the effort to get up 15 minutes early and linger over a cup of coffee together.  It will set the tone for the rest of the day.  Keep some white space on your calendar for your family.  It shows them you love them!

 Organizing – One day my children and I spent an afternoon cleaning out and organizing their daddy’s closet.  We even categorized his dress shirts by color.  He was so thrilled!  Sometimes I surprise him and we clean out and vacuum his car.  Doing little things for others is a big way to show love.  Does your husband have a desk, a work area, or a shed that needs some attention?  Surprise him and organize it.  What about your children’s bedrooms?  We expect our children to be responsible for their own rooms.  It is their job to clean them.  And maybe you have extremely neat and organized children who keep their rooms perfectly clutter free.  I don’t.  My children for some reason think that the trash can is under the bed.  So every now and then (for no other reason than because I love them) I help them organize their rooms.  A little help goes a long way.

Praying – So far I have listed ways to show our family we love them with our hands – writing, baking, investing, and organizing.  But this next one is not something we do with our hands.  We do it on our knees.  One of the greatest ways to show you love your family is to pray earnestly for them.  Pray for your husband, that God would lead him as he leads his family.  Pray that God gives him wisdom.  Pray that God would bless him.  Pray for your children. Pray for their salvation, pray for their protection, pray for their health, and pray for their future.  Pray that God will work mightily in your family.    Prayer is a great gift that shows great love.  Your family may not ever know about it but the effects are eternal.

This list is not exclusive.  There are many ways to show love to your family.  Be creative.  And have a blessed Valentine’s Day!

We love him, because he first loved us. (1John 4:19)

 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10)

 

Higher Grounds

“What are you preaching this morning?” I asked my husband.  We were sitting alone at the breakfast table.  We had just finished our breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast and were now sipping our coffee and talking.  I held my coffee and listened to him share with me what he was going to preach to a group of young pastors in a few hours.  As I held my coffee I whiffed the fragment aroma.  I cherish mornings like these.  The children were still asleep, the phone had not starting ringing, no one needed our attention, and laundry could wait.  This was our time.  We both seemed deliberate in taking our time this morning.  We sipped slowly not wanting the moment to end.  We talked about life, our children, and the precious things of God. It is not that these moments are few.  You see, we make a point every morning to have this time alone.  We grow closer.  Our marriage becomes stronger.  Life becomes sweeter. 

As I sat there this morning thanking the Lord for my husband and our blessed life together I wondered how many people experience the joy of marriage.  How many people take time each day to cultivate their relationship with their spouse?  How many husbands talk, share, and communicate with their wives?  How many wives purposefully make time for their husbands each morning?  How many couples spend time each day talking about the Word of God?  I hope many do.  I pray those reading this do.  In the end very few things will matter.  How busy we were, our homes, our cars, our careers, and our stuff will all be in vain someday.  However, our marriage is well worth nurturing.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with the according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  I Peter 3:7