FROM A WIFE:
I would be interested in learning more about what men go through when they are in that process of dying to self, and what it means for them.
From JAY DEE, a Christian husband and marriage blogger:
Alright, what do men go through:
1) We don’t get to make the decisions we want to make, we get to make the decisions that are correct. I control the finances, but that doesn’t mean I go out and buy every new gadget I want. It means I need to make sure there is enough food, enough money for clothes, enough for the mortgage, kids education, activities, babysitters, utilities, tithing, offering, medications, gas, car repairs, and on and on and on. About 50 line items in our household budget. More often than not, I spend less on myself so that we have more for other things that are more important.
2) We are ultimately responsible. For every decision we make, we have the responsibility to live with it for the rest of our lives. If our children leave the faith, it is our responsibility, because are the spiritual heads of the family. If they don’t get into school, it’s our responsibility, because we didn’t educate them well, or teach them about work ethics.
3) We have to be strong. Even when we don’t feel like it. Because we are the protectors, the one that holds up the family. When we’re scared, afraid, don’t know what to do, guess what? We don’t get to be. We give ourselves a shake, dust ourselves off and get to work, because that’s our job.
Our family used to be run by my wife, it’s now run by me. She has often said, she never wants the job back, it’s too much stress.
And it is a lot of stress, it’s the weight of, in my case 5 dependents, looking to me for guidance, for protection, for education, for spiritual leading. On top of that, I need to make sure I am growing fast enough to be ahead of them so that I can lead, because you can’t lead where you haven’t been.
So, does a part of the wife die when she sets aside her needs and submits? Yes, but often the husband will give it back to her, in the form of asking advice, considering her needs, loving her, etc.. When the husband sets aside his needs in regards for his family, there is no one to give them back. We must find contentment in that fact that we have done our job and hope that our family loves and respects us for it, because sometimes, they can get pretty upset that you’ve stood up for a greater good instead of doing what would be more fun and made a decision that is better for the long term goals than the short term comfort or entertainment.
And you know what? I love it. Not because of the power, or the control, or the perks, whatever those are, because they aren’t worth it. I love it, because I was designed to bear this, and I feel I am meeting God’s calling by being the leader. It’s not fun, it’s not a power trip, it’s so much more than that, it’s being in God’s will.
It’s a hard topic. I think the problem is our own pride gets in the way of us understanding the other role.
Wives COULD sit there and think, “He gets to make all the decisions, why does he get he wants all the time, and I always have to sacrifice and do as he says?!”
Husbands COULD sit there and think, “Lucky her, she gets to sit at home and do nothing while I go out every day and work to put food on the table. I’m the one who has to make the hard decisions, I’m the one who has to protect, when do I get a break? She gets to stay home and ‘play house’ all day long with the kids, while I have to carry all the responsibility.”
Or they could both realize they each have separate, IMPORTANT, roles to play and that neither would be as effective without the other.
But, that “dying to self” part is one of the three “impossible” tasks we are given as Christians (along with ‘Be content in all circumstances’, and ‘Let go and let God’). If we follow them, it’s heaven on earth, but it will take us more than a lifetime to master them.
Luckily, it’s not something that needs to be mastered in order to gain the benefit. Each step along way yields benefits to your life.
For those who are interested, I have a couple of posts on the topic that flesh out a few of my ideas on the subject: