Walking the straight and narrow path as a Christian is rarely an easy task. We are often called into situations where we have to make a choice between doing things our, or the world’s, way and doing things God’s way. Often, God’s way will also look scarier and more risky for our personal well-being.
There are a myriad of situations where this truth is applicable, but I have observed in our cultural climate that it is many times even found in the throws of marriage. It appears that very often two people come together in marriage who tend to grow at different rates in their Christian walk.
This causes seasons when one member of the couple essentially sets out alone in obedience to the Lord, whether or not their spouse is in agreement with the newest growth, or conviction. One member begins a time when they will “walk alone”.
Be Willing to Walk Alone (even in your marriage)
Ideally, when a couple marries, they will both be matured in their faith, at least to the point of truly internalizing and walking decidedly in that faith, but the most recent marriages are coming out of a generation where Christianity has been grossly misunderstood by the youth.
Many of us, myself included, were Christian by name only and then after marrying began to grow more significantly as a Christian, both in understanding of what it really means to be a Christian, and what it really means to be a wife.
For decades now, women have been taught to live independently of men, to control them or at least be controlling of them, and to belittle and emasculate them regularly to make sure that our power as women is not overlooked.
Like it or not this line of thinking has infiltrated the church and its youth. I personally had no idea what it meant to be a Godly woman in the most complete sense.
Life Has a Tendency to Provide Ample Lessons
My first years of marriage are wrought with disrespectful speech, condescending attitudes, belittling words directed at my husband, jokes at his expense in front of others, etc. I hate to watch certain home videos of ours from that season in our marriage, because of how rudely I speak to my husband. And sadly, I know I am not alone in this learning curve.
We women are not alone. Our men have also suffered greatly in the throws of so-called feminism. They have lost some of their greatest and most significant attributes, having been told to sit down and shut up by many women for so long.
Men, especially our young, newlywed men, very often no longer stand up to lead and make decisions as head of the family. Often, if they do, they confuse being the head with being a dictator, and lead with an iron fist, instead of a Christ-like leadership. Both men and women have been greatly affected by the wake of man-bashing and promoted female supremacy.
But, in my experience, we Christian women see a vision for the man God created our husbands to become. We see their possibilities and desire so desperately to see them step into the roles of manhood that they are called to be: husbands, fathers, hard-workers, etc.
Hold Healthy Boundaries in Marriage
It is a wonderful thing for us to see our husbands as God intended them to be. The problem is, we don’t stop there. Remember that whole fall in the garden of Eden thing, and the curse of Eve (i.e. Genesis 3:16)?
Your desire shall be for your husband…”
This verse signifies the fact that we women will covet the power, control, and influence that the Lord specifically placed on the heads of men. Because of this, we try to push and prod our husbands into becoming the men we think the Lord has made them to be.
You know what this often does? Pushes them the complete opposite direction. We attempt to control them, to tell them “over and over and over” not to leave their shoes on the ground, or ask again and again and again for them to help out more with changing the diapers, etc. It’s exhausting work trying to “help” our husbands to grow.
But, this is not what the Lord has commanded us to do, nor to be for our husbands. He has not replaced His Holy Spirit in their lives with a wife, despite what many of our actions show to be our beliefs.
Helpmeet Does Not Equal Holy Spirit in Wife Form
Wives, we are called to be our husbands helpmeet, their helper, not their overseer, Holy Spirit, or controlling master. Learning to be a helpmeet is no easy task, but the Lord does provide guidance one step at a time. I wish I could easily articulate the beauty that is “helpmeet”, but I find any attempt to provide sufficient synonyms leave it wanting.
Suffice it to say, though, that we cannot be our husband’s helpmeet if we are not personally growing and walking in our relationship with the Lord. Outside of Him, any attempt to “help” will really just be a vain attempt to control. Only the Lord can really teach us to become a helpmeet, since He provides us with an example of how to be just that: His Son.
We, dear sisters, are learning what it means to have a relationship with our husbands as Christ does with the church, or learning to respond to our husbands as unto the Lord.
I remember several years ago listening to a wise woman teach a marriage class, when she was asked a question about “who should apologize first?” (or act right first, or be the bigger person first, etc…fill in the blank with your situation) The response she gave has always stuck with me: “Whoever between the two of you is the most mature in their faith ought to humble themselves first.”
Ok, if that statement does not stab into the throat of pride, I do not know what does!
It is not uncommon in my observation to see that men are not quite as aware of their spiritual relationship to the Lord as we women tend to be. Of course this is not an absolute statement, but my observations.
That idea, though, turns away from the worldly prideful attitude and forces us to face our own fallen nature. “If you think you’re so much more advanced in your walk, humble yourself before your husband and prove it.”
The Lord Leads Us One Step At a Time
If you are anything like me, the idea of “caving” first was, ummmm, foreign and scary. What if he does not respond? What if he just thinks that he was right in what he did? What if I become some doormat?
The truth is, though, that nothing of the Lord’s commands promises these things will not happen, and yet, they are not a factor. He simply says, “Follow me.”
It is so easy to get caught up in worries about being stepped all over if we show a softer side, if we let our guard down, if we walk in humility, but focusing on these things does not leave room for focusing on the Lord’s power and Sovereignty.
We must never forget who we are following!
No matter what foolishness we are called to walk through, if we are responding in obedience through that time the Lord will bless us. I’m not talking about with material goods, or any other such concrete possession, but He will bless us with peace, joy, love, and the many other fruits of the Holy Spirit.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Col. 3: 23-24)
Grow in YOUR Walk with the Lord
So, what does this mean for you? What does this mean for the wives whose husbands are not walking according to their faith, or even for those whose husband has not professed any faith?
It means the same thing it would if your husband were the strongest believer ever and doing exactly what he ought to be doing: focus your efforts on YOUR walk with the Lord, and let the Holy Spirit do His refining work within your husband.
[bctt tweet=”…focus your efforts on YOUR walk with the Lord, and let the Holy Spirit do His refining work within your husband.” via=”no”]
You decide that even if your husband won’t join you when you worship our Abba that you do YOUR part to obey as the Lord has led you.
You determine that you are going to spend time in the Word with the Lord every day, even if only for ten minutes, regardless of whether or not your husband notices, cares, or ever picks up his own Bible.
We All Have Our Own Marital Journey
I am not saying this in a vacuum, for it was too the path I had to walk. There was a very long season where I walked alone in my marriage as a Christian. Where we disagreed vehemently about certain movies being okay or not to watch. Where I had to choose to respectfully leave situations that compromised my convictions.
It is no easy time, but the Lord is faithful.
After years and years of my obedience to the Lord I started to see the breakthrough in my husband as the Lord began to work on his heart and his life and his sinful areas. And, you know what, the Lord works COMPLETELY differently on him than he does with me.
Even to this day, the steps that I had to take years ago when walking alone are precisely the same ones I continue to take today while walking beside my husband in faith.
My husband and I still walk with the Lord in different ways (for instance, I am more keen to have a regular sit down bible study and dedicated time with the Lord whereas my husband’s is more haphazard and found through various means and devices…but the Lord has taught me that I don’t get to determine how my husband “ought” to spend time with the Lord. It is now my privilege to just praise the Lord that he DOES spend time with Him).
Trust the Lord and Keep Your Eyes on Him
Wife, I encourage you today, don’t wait for your husband to lead you in your walk with the Lord. The LORD is your head, even over your husband. The truth is, you are never really alone…the Lord is always present and available in times of need.
Begin today to get to know Him more, reading or listening to His Word, and infecting your mind with His truth. If you really want to be a good helpmeet to your husband, and I know you do, focus on your own relationship with the Lord, and pray for his…then leave it to God to answer on His time.
As usual, I cannot promise that things will be rosy and gay after this. I cannot promise that hard times will not come. I cannot promise that your husband will ever change…but that is not the point.
The point is that God is looking to work in YOU to change YOU. What He does and does not choose to do in your husband is not yours to control (see John 21: 20-23). The Lord’s focus is always personal and intimate.
We will each be held accountable for our own decisions and choices. Our husbands are not excused from this. So, do not let any lies from the devil keep you from obedience because you think your husband is going to just “get away with everything.”
Catch those nasty lies from hell and send them back where they belong.
Never forget the names of the Lord. Never forget His devout love for His children. And NEVER underestimate His ability to change even the most ugly of situations. For our God is an awesome God!