We are beginning a new study: Falling In Love Again With Your Husband.
I need this study.
I am married. I love my husband. But I did not tell him the name of the study until the day we started. Why not? I was afraid. I was afraid my husband would hold me to a higher standard of being a “good” wife. On most days, I’d give myself a B- or C as a wife, which is shameful! I know I need to make changes — all of which involve dying to self, which is neither easy nor painless.
This week during our lecture, Laurie shared that when she was in elementary school, she would fantasize about what it would be like to be married to various boys and even practice writing out her “married” name! I laughed, not just because it was a sweet story, but because the thought was so foreign to me. I never thought like that as an elementary school student! I may have wondered what it would be like to be married during high school, but it took time for me to see myself as a wife.
I was not raised with Christian values. My parents were married, but the marriage was not happy. My father was absent and my mother was often overwhelmed. My parents separated for the first time when I was 13 and then for good when I was 16. Both times were due to infidelity. My mother was very hurt and bitter. So I didn’t have a great view of marriage.
As a non-Christian, I adopted our culture’s view of marriage. I believed it was fine to live together before marriage. I planned to — and did have — a successful career. I didn’t want to be financially dependent on anyone. And finally, I never heard the word “submission” in regards to the marital relationship. If I had, I would have been offended. My opinion was at least as important as anybody else’s.
So what did I do? I got married in my early 20’s, to another unbeliever. Our marriage was doomed from the start. I learned, though, unbeliever that I was, how sad and painful divorce could be.
Life took many turns for me, and in my late 20’s, I became a Christian. I got re-married in my early 30’s to a man that I didn’t (and still don’t) deserve, and God began to really work on my heart.
I knew the statistics: 50% of marriages end in divorce. What I didn’t know was that Christians divorce almost as often as non-Christians. That was baffling to me! Maybe part of this is because we are bombarded with worldly messages. We don’t even know what biblical marriage is.
Our culture says: No problem if it doesn’t work out. Get a divorce.
The Bible says: God hates divorce, so honor your commitment. Fight for it.
Our culture says: Women and men have interchangeable roles.
The Bible says: God created woman to be man’s “helper.” Help him be the leader of your home.
Our culture says: Giving in to your husband makes a woman weak.
The Bible says: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Eph. 5:22-24).
This passage angers women. But if we read the verses that come immediately after this passage, we see that husbands are exhorted to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ DIED for the church. Husbands are instructed to be willing to lay down their lives for their wives.
God’s instructions are impossible to fulfill in our own strength. I fight my sinful nature daily when it comes to submitting to my husband and treating him respectfully. He often bears the brunt of my exhaustion and irritability instead of receiving my love and gratitude. Only God can help me place my husband’s needs before my own.
Whether I want to admit it or not, my upbringing, young adulthood, and culture have deeply influenced my views on marriage. It is so hard to turn from what I feel is right. But God tells me in His Word that He wants the best for me. As we begin this study, I am grateful that “the instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul” (Psa. 19:7 NLT). May the Lord’s Word revive my soul as I seek to be a better helper to the greatest earthly gift God has given me: my husband.
Growing in Grace