“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”
~Proverbs 12:4 (NIV)
When deciding what to write about this week, I decided I would tackle the issue of marriage. It is Valentine’s Day, but even better, the beginning of Lent: a time I take to focus on some aspect of my life I want to bring closer to what God intends. My overall goal this Lent is to work on my reactions to others. I want to respond less with my emotions and more with thoughtfulness. I want to model to my children how to respond to others when faced with a situation that is not to their liking. However, I also want to do this to be a better wife. All too often I fall into the trap of manipulating my husband by my reactions to a situation. This is not how I want my husband to view my abilities to work through a disagreement. I do not want him to think I am using my emotions to get my way.
As I shared before, I am currently participating in an Online Bible Study on the book Let. It. Go by Karen Ehman. In Chapter 4, she shares some practical tips to make your marriage a well-executed dance. No matter what dance you are doing, the common denominator is that the guy leads. The basic steps you should follow are:
- Realize that the act of submitting is always a choice by and an action of the wife. (I know, she used the “S” word, but not in the way some might imagine.)
- Know that backing off and not controlling your husband will feel very foreign.
- Next, recognize the subtle difference between manipulation and influence.
- Find the unique dance steps that work for your marriage.
- Recognize when you need dance lessons from a pro.
When I read through this list, the first three jumped off the page. I decided to share some of what I was reading with my husband this evening. After reading some of it, I laughed and told him submissive was probably not the first word he would use to describe me as a wife. Many of you that know me, can attest to the fact I will unlikely be a doormat to anyone. It is contrary to my nature. However, I do want to be submissive in this sense: I want my husband to feel the joy I get from “serving him”. I love being able to keep the house and children with him. My husband respects me and makes me feel loved and appreciated often, why would I not want to return that sentiment by doing these things?
The second one on the list was the understatement of the year. I am not necessarily what some would describe as controlling, but I very much like things to go my way. I think we all do on some level. However, in our family, my way is not always possible or even prudent. I want my husband, and my children for that matter, to see that I am able to let go of control and have faith in them, but more importantly in the ability of God to bring us through. This is hard for me. I like to think through and analyze things. Just having faith is tough. It is necessary though.
The third one really made me have to do a double take. It smacked me in the face, because I do manipulate my husband at times. As I shared above, too often I use my emotions to get my way. Perhaps that is not my original intention, but I do hate when things are out of my control. My goal is to instead process the emotions and then tackle the problem. Sometimes, the problem goes away because it was an error of perception on my part or something so minor it is not worth another moment of thought. Other times, it allows me to gather my thoughts and approach my husband rationally and calmly, two beneficial things when having a discussion. The truth is, when I do this, my husband hurts my feelings less, because I am less sensitive and we have fewer petty arguments.
While I do not think marriage and parenthood is easy, I do think it can be an overall happy and blessed thing. I pray that my husband will think I am the noble wife like Proverbs 12:4 describes (or at least approximates me). “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” My prayer for each of us as we contemplate Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross this Lenten season, is that we contemplate our own nature and work to bring them more in line with the example of Christ. As for me, I will be focusing on controlling my emotions. It is a tall order, but as Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”