I recently heard a comment that literally made me sick! I heard about a wife who told her husband to do his own laundry because she does enough for herself and their three kids. I, honestly, was stunned and heart- broken for that dear husband and truly could not believe that a wife would do such a thing. I would say that I am sorry if I am stepping on your toes – but I’m not. And – if I’m stepping on your toes, then GOOD! Listen up!
You know, I grew up in a Christian home. I also grew up in a broken home. I didn’t know what a godly marriage should look like. Neither did Chad. I shared with the ladies out in Virginia last weekend that I actually think that was a blessing. Because neither of us knew what it should look like, we set out to be purposeful about figuring it out. We worked VERY hard to learn about what God wanted for our marriage and what it should look like from His perspective.
I certainly had no idea what God’s purpose for marriage is. Guess what I thought it was? To have sex! Yep! There you have it! I thought that the purpose of marriage was to have sex! Fortunately, I was set straight along the way!
There is a book that literally changed my life. It changed who I was as a Christian woman, who I was as a wife, and in turn – it transformed our marriage. The book is called, “The Excellent Wife,” by Martha Peace. In this book I learned that God’s ultimate goal for marriage is that we operate in such oneness as a couple (unity) that we become a magnet for unbelievers. Let me put it simply . . . .by loving one another with Christ-like love we make God look awesome to the ‘world’ and they want what we have! It sounds simple . . . but we all know if it was, there would be no divorce.
What sickened me about this wife’s comment was the brazen selfishness behind it. Any marriage being driven by that type of attitude is destined to fail, and indeed, that one did. When we love one another as Christ loves us it must be a completely selfless love.
We must train ourselves not to ask the questions “what can I get out of this?” or “what is my spouse doing for me?” And begin to ask questions like “how can I serve my spouse today?” and “what can I do to fill him/her up today?” Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are bombarded with selfishness! Becoming selfless is NOT easy! Everywhere we turn there are messages “Have it your way,” “your way right away,” “If it feels good, do it.” EVERYWHERE we turn we are taught to be selfish. That is why in 1 Timothy 4:7 the word teaches us to, “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” The New Testament Greek word for discipline is gymnazo which means “to exercise or to train.” Martha Peace writes that, “how godly we become depends on how hard we work at it. Old habits of sinful thoughts and RESPNONSES do not just disappear. They have to be replaced with new, godly ways of thinking and responding.”
My friends, some day – when I have finished the book, “The Long October Road,” I will write a book about marriage. Chad and I studied, IN DEPTH, a concept that Martha Peace introduces in the book. This concept is that the Trinity is the perfect model of marriage. You see, the Trinity is three separate entities working in perfect unity. A marriage should have God the Father as the head of the marriage, the Husband as Christ – who SERVES the church and therefore glorifies God, and the wife as the Holy Spirit who SERVES Christ and the Father and therefore glorifies God.
Our world has completely lied to us about the roles within marriage. We emasculate men. Men are commanded in the Bible to be the head of the home as Christ is the head of the church. If you cut an animal’s head off . . . what will happen? The body will die! My friends – if we don’t let men be men – let them be the head . . . the body (family) will die! Men! You are to be the cornerstone and foundation of your home by keeping your relationship with Christ in line! In that same breath – men are commanded to be a head as Christ is a head . . . Christ did not lead by power . . . he led by being a servant! The biggest servant in EVERY home should be the husband/father. Serve God, serve your wife, serve your kids . . . everything else will fall in line. There is no place for ‘self’ in a godly husband.
One of the most beautiful things about a godly husband – and one of the things that I missed most after Chad died – is that in Ephesians 5:28, husbands are commanded to “Nourish, protect, and cherish her as Christ does the Church.” Nourish means to bring your wife up to maturity – literally, the husband is to help his wife grow in Christ. Cherish means to keep warm, cherish with tender love and to foster with tender care. A biblical example is that husbands are commanded to cherish their wives as a piece of ‘fine china.’ Wow! What if every husband REALLY cherished their wives like that? A husband is to be a ‘covering’ over his wife – spiritually and physically – and THAT, my friends, is what I found to be so hard after Chad died was to not have his spiritual and physical covering!
Not only do we emasculate men, but we teach women to be LIKE men and to take the power and that submission is a bad thing – a sign of weakness! BULL! Let me set you straight, sisters! Submission, in a godly marriage, is actually a position of strength and respect! In Genesis 2:18 God says that Adam’s “aloneness” is not good – so He makes for Him a “helper suitable.” The Hebrew word “helper” there literally means “help, helper, STAFF, STRENGTH.” It is the same meaning as in Exodus 18:4 “my father’s God was my helper.” And Deuteronomy 33:29, “He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.” See, as young women we have somehow been fed the lie – that it is in some way a bad thing – a sign of weakness – to be our husband’s “helper.” When, in reality – it is a sign of strength. We need to take that back - to claim our Godly inheritance as our husband‘s staff and strength!!!!
Now, let me caution you, ladies, that this is a big responsibility and NOT to be taken lightly! It does NOT mean that we manipulate our husbands to do what WE want. It means that just as the Holy Spirit is a ‘counselor’ and ‘guide’ AND ‘intercedes on our behalf,’ so we have a responsibility to give wise and godly counsel to our husbands AND to be the absolute best wife we can be and serve him by praying for him! Truly – praying for your husband is the greatest calling and honor of a wife! Some of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit in Scripture are ~ encourager, He warns (husbands – listen to your wives!), He speaks the truth, He is a counselor, and He is a teacher. This is a beautiful description of a wife!
So, my friends, now go back to the beginning of this lecture (sorry!) . . . . a wife who tells her husband to do his own laundry because she does enough with her and the kids! Self, self, and MORE SELF!!!!!! It should be an honor for a wife to do her husband’s laundry – even if she HATES doing laundry.
Guess what? I bet Jesus hated dying on the cross for my sins but He did it willingly! That, my friends is the perfect example of how we should serve one another in marriage!