My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

Reminder – I have a conference in Eaton, Ohio February 25th and a conference in Columbia, South Carolina March 24th-25th. You are most welcome to come!

Marriage meets many needs and fulfills a number of purposes in our lives, in our families, the church, and in society. A healthy marriage:

  • Brings stability to society.
  • Teaches the next generation how to have healthy relationships.
  • Is to be a safe place to raise children and for them to learn what love is.
  • Can meet both spouse’s needs for companionship.
  • Can be a place of wonderful friendship.
  • Is the only place where God condones and celebrates sex.
  • Can be a place of romance and fun.
  • Can provide financial stability and resources.

But there is an even greater purpose for marriage that I can’t ever forget.

God’s greatest purpose in marriage is that marriage is supposed to display the gospel of Christ and it is to bring great glory and honor to Him.

My marriage is about so much more than just me. It is about much more than just my husband or just our children. It is ultimately about something infinitely higher.

  • Marriage is to be a living parable demonstrating the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to portray the love, humility, selflessness, and sacrificial leadership of Christ. The wife is to portray the honor, respect, and submission of the church for Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • When we as wives focus on our role and what God calls us to do – the gospel is exalted – and the same is true when husbands focus on the role God gives to them and walking in submission to Christ as Lord.
  • If we choose to disrespect our husbands and dishonor God’s design for us as wives and for marriage, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

This is a very lofty goal, my precious sisters. Marriage is no longer about me being happy,  me having my way all the time, or me having control. It is not about my husband being the most important thing or about me seeking to please him at any cost. It is about me completely yielding my heart, my mind, my life, all that I am, all that I desire, all of my fears, all of my purposes, my marriage, and my family to God to accomplish His purposes. Whatever He sees fit. My eyes have to be on eternity and God’s kingdom now – not just today or this lifetime.

Now my heart’s cry is:

Not my will, but Yours be done! Luke 22:42

As an individual believer in Christ, my purpose in life is similar.

  • I am to bring glory to God far above anything else. (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • I am to seek His will far above my own. (Luke 22:42)
  • I am to count myself dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ. (Romans 6:11)
  • I am to take up my cross daily. (Luke 9:23)
  • I am to be completely at God’s disposal, His trusted, faithful servant, willing to do anything He may ask of me. (John 14:22-24)
  • I am to view suffering as God’s tool to refine me and to grow my faith. (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-8, 1 Peter 4:12-19)

This changes everything about how I relate to my husband (and everyone else, but we will focus on marriage in this post).

Now I don’t need to ask questions like:

The funny thing is, when I asked questions like this and my heart was not wholeheartedly yielded to God’s, I actually sabotaged my marriage. I kept God out because I didn’t trust Him. Then I was upset because my marriage was a mess. What a confused girl I was!

The scariest place in the world to me now is to trust self and to not trust God. When I yield everything to God and I am in fellowship with Him and His Spirit fills me, He also pours His healing and the spiritual treasures of heaven into my life and through me into my family and those around me. He withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Note  – the only way my walk can be blameless is when I allow God’s Spirit to live in and through me to empower me to obey Him.

Now I ask questions like:

Real peace comes as I know and love Christ wholeheartedly and as I trust Him completely with everything.

God’s Spirit can give us the power to stay when we may not feel like staying because we can look with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one when we are abiding in Christ. He can give us the ability to love when maybe our husbands don’t deserve it. He can give us the power to treat our men with honor, dignity, and genuine respect – not because our husbands deserve it – but because Jesus deserves our utmost reverence and we want to submit to His Lordship completely.

When I am willing to obey God and I am filled to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, and His power – there is no stopping God! He loves to do miracles and move mountains for those who fully trust Him. But I don’t love Him so that He will do what I want Him to do. I love Him and trust Him to do what He knows is best. I can ask Him to change my desires to match His.

His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. I can rest in Him and His love and sovereignty no matter what my situation. I can trust His promises to me and anticipate how He is going to bring great good from even the most awful situations because He promised to do just that for those who love Him in Romans 8:28-29.

RELATED:

Verses on Suffering

Verses on the Lordship of Christ

Verses on Taking Up Our Cross

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Spiritual Authority

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

 

What about wives who truly are in danger?

For those who are in very dangerous situations, the goal is still God’s greatest glory. His Word still applies. You still have His love. You are not beyond God’s reach! I pray that you will seek godly counsel and wisdom one-on-one from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor. Pray, seek to hear and obey God’s prompting for you.

I don’t know exactly what God desires every wife to do in every situation. But God has the wisdom each one needs. I don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed. I hate abuse and God sure hates abuse. There should not be hatred, rage, or violence in our relationships as believers.

God’s Word does provide for separation when something very serious is going on that can’t be resolved – in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 – but it is not to be entered into flippantly or without significant reason. This is not God’s primary plan and design for marriage. If we take such a step, as believing wives, we want to be SURE that we are doing so because it is necessary not just that we are unhappy, feeling unloved, or that things are just really hard. Marriage is a covenant between God, my husband, and myself. I want to keep my end of it until death do us part – may God help me to do so!

 

 

Wow! The Best Explanation of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood I Have Ever Seen!

Wayne Grudem from his site www.waynegrudem.com
Wayne Grudem from his site www.waynegrudem.com

Greg introduced me to the podcasts of Wayne Grudem recently. I am so excited to hear this godly man teach! He was the general editor of the ESV version of the Bible. He knows Greek. He is the Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix seminary. He has written many books about theology. He is part of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I had heard David Platt mention that council in his sermons at times. Greg told me that David Platt referenced Wayne Grudem in some of his teaching. I am thrilled to see this statement that I am about to share – it explains things much more clearly and concisely than I ever could! This is a summary of all that I have been teaching and exactly what I believe the Bible teaches! Who knew!?!? What an excellent resource Wayne Grudem is and the site about Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is, too. I just had to let you in on these resources – can’t keep them to myself! (Please keep in mind that we must always carefully weigh what any human says against Scripture and prayerfully test what is said.)

Here is the Danvers Statement from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s webpage:

RELATED:

They also have a Statement on Abuse which is extremely important! I agree with it wholeheartedly, as well.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood also has a page with 3 free books – one of which is Wayne Grudem’s and John Piper’s Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

How Disrespectful Was I?

April as a pharmacist in 1998 (25 years old)
April as a pharmacist in 1998 (25 years old)

I had a talk with Greg this past week and, out of curiosity, asked him if he would rank my level of disrespect earlier in our marriage on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the MOST DISRESPECTFUL wife he had ever seen. He said, “You were probably about a 4 or a 5.” I knew that many women were much more disrespectful to their husbands than I was. I didn’t have eyes to see it if there were women who were more respectful than I was to their husbands. So, I thought I was respecting Greg just fine. He never complained or told me I was not doing a good job. I didn’t know I was disrespectful at all for those first 14+ years of our marriage. I thought I was the best Christian wife, ever! I mean, I didn’t:

  • scream
  • cuss
  • throw things – except for that ONE time that I threw a pair of clean panties at Greg the first summer we were married. They didn’t come anywhere near hitting him. So, that surely doesn’t count, right?
  • threaten divorce
  • call him names
  • purposely disrespect him
  • hit him – although, I really wanted to sometimes
  • cheat on him – but, I did become infatuated with another man early in our marriage, and allowed myself to daydream about what it would be like to be married to him instead of Greg. So dangerous!
  • humiliate him on Facebook – of course, it hadn’t been invented yet!
  • act like the women on Jerry Springer
  • refuse to cooperate with him if he led in a direction I didn’t like. But, I would argue for hours about how right I was and how wrong he was and then when he still insisted on doing something a certain way, I eventually conceded to him. But I made sure he knew I was not happy about it and I held on to bitterness and resentment. I did not joyfully honor his leadership. Most of the time Greg didn’t tell me what he thought if he disagreed with me, because (I found out later) he felt it wasn’t worth trying to fight me on things.
Greg and April, Easter 1998
Greg and April, Easter 1998 – almost married 4 years

Our marriage was not awful. There were some happy times. I remember Greg often saying, “Our marriage is a lot better than most.” He said that especially when I was trying to “improve” things. There were times when I often felt lonely, stressed, worried, afraid and unloved. I wanted our marriage to be the BEST it could be, not just “above average.” Unfortunately, I didn’t see my pride, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, critical spirit, people pleasing, perfectionism, idolatry, lack of faith in God… I thought I barely sinned at all and that I hardly owed God anything. Wow. Was I wrong! How thankful I am that God opened my blind eyes to my sin.

We both always loved each other.  Divorce was never an option for us. We were committed to each other and to God. I didn’t think Greg loved me at times because he was so unplugged and passive. But looking back, I know now that he did always love me. He just shut down because of my attitude and behavior toward him. I knew I didn’t know what Greg needed, and I knew that he wouldn’t/couldn’t tell me what those things were when I would ask him. I also had very little idea what respect actually meant to a husband and what biblical submission should look like.

Even small to moderate amounts of disrespect on a wife’s part can cause damage to the marriage. That is what sin does, it hurts people, hurts relationships and separates us from God. Any sin is destructive.

MY THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS TOWARD MY HUSBAND ARE  BAROMETERS OF MY LOVE FOR GOD:

Until I am willing to reverence and fully submit to Jesus Christ as my Master and Lord,  I am incapable of being a godly wife. My level of respect and biblical submission for my imperfect husband are just a tangible indicator of my level of reverence for and submission to Jesus. He is the Perfect Bridegroom. Until I am able to relate to Him properly and understand who I really am (a wretched sinner with no good in me) and what I really deserved (hell), and until I understand what Jesus has done for me, the phenomenal price He paid for my sins on the cross and who He truly is and how much He loves me because of who He is – I cannot be a godly wife to my imperfect earthly husband.

If I can’t or won’t respect and trust Jesus, I cannot respect or trust my husband. It is only as I am right with Christ that He empowers me to be able to walk in obedience to His commands for me as a wife. Then, I am able to respect my husband and trust his leadership because my trust is ultimately not in my husband, my trust is ultimately in Christ and His goodness, love, faithfulness and sovereignty to lead me through my imperfect husband. From that position of strength, I can learn to genuinely respect, honor, trust and bless my husband.

Jesus must be the source of my life, power and motives. He must be my greatest desire. Then He enables me to be right with my husband and other people, too. My prayer is that God might show us His beautiful design for us as women and for marriages so that we might learn how to greatly bless our husbands and honor Christ, our Lord.    I pray we will do our husbands good, not evil, all the days of our lives and that the hearts of our husbands might safely trust us. (Prov. 31)

RELATED:

My Story – how God woke me up to my sin and what I had been doing that was disrespectful

Husbands Share What is Disrespectful to Them

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Biblical Submission

Spiritual Authority

Some Things are Unconditional, Some Are Not (Love, Respect, Forgiveness, Trust)

Greg in 1998
Greg in 1998