Hmmm, I wondered. She's right. I wish pastors would lay that out to men. So while that's true, here's the problem that I started to find myself falling into: I want the men's behavior to be slaughtered from the pulpit, but I don't want my own to be treated the same way. And you know what? Sure, the message that men should be sacrificially loving and serving their wives should be emphasized. But I cannot get hung up on what my husband should be doing. I should be hung up on what I should be doing. Because, honestly?
The way my husband loves me or doesn't love me should have no bearing on how I treat him.
We are never called to only love and respect someone who treats us the same way. We are called to love everyone in every circumstance. We are called to forgive everyone in every circumstance.
You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:43-45a)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them...Live in harmony with one another...Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:14, 16, 17-18)
If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 Jn 4:20-21)Do I think love means never confronting sin? Never calling our husbands out when they are sinning? Absolutely not. If marriage is partially intended to help us become more Christlike, then as our husband's helper, we are called to aid in this effort, and one of the ways we do that is by gently remonstrating our husbands. But I can't keep my focus on his behavior or I'll be blind to my own. Regardless of how he responds to my gentle calling to godliness, I am called to act respectfully and lovingly. I can get mad about it or I can focus on doing my part in the marriage.
Once I've pointed out an area where my husband needs to grow, I need to remember that I have no power to actually change anything he does. I can point it out once, twice, several times maybe, and then I need to back off and let the Holy Spirit work. Sometimes we may need to enlist the help of another godly person or a counselor to come along side us and advise us about how to deal appropriately with the situation. But even then...what if your husband won't go to counseling? What if you just go alone? Regardless of whether you go to counseling together or alone, you still have absolutely no power to fix your husband and neither does the counselor, so don't expect the counselor to wave some magic wand and "fix" your husband. The power you do have, however, is the power from Christ to have your own life transformed. To have your heart transformed. To have your hope resurrected with the right focus.
And I also need to remember that when my husband is behaving in an ungodly way, I may have played a part in influencing him to act that way. Is it my fault if he sins? No. We're each responsible for our own choices. I am not going to be called to account for my husband's sins. But we all have a responsibility towards each other because of the huge influence we have. How many times have we corrected our kids for yelling at each other only to realize that we have been yelling at them? How many times do you tell your kids to stop being so sarcastic and rude only to look in the mirror and come to the realization that you've been modeling exactly the behavior that you hate? If that's the way you treat your kids, is it any wonder that's how they respond?
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov 15:1)Look at how that verse expresses how our behavior affects the behavior of others. Is it really fair to your husband to be angry at him for withdrawing from you if you've been a total manipulative, controlling nasty witch to him? What in the world do you expect? You clearly have higher expectations for him than you do for yourself.
Well, there you have it. My soapbox for the day. Let me tell you, you will never hear me on a tirade about what I think husbands should be doing. Should they be loving you? Yes. That's a given. I guarantee you my husband has a strong opinion on what husbands should be doing. But I am a woman, I am a wife, and I am writing to you fellow wives to inspire you (and myself) to fight hard to keep our focus where it needs to be. On my own life. On my own behavior. And on Christ. That's it. Fight on, Warrior Wives.
Sharing with: Wifey Wednesday, Deep Roots at Home, We Are THAT Family, NOBH, Women Living Well,Thriving Thursdays, Rediscovering Domesticity, Thought Provoking Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, Hearts for Home Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows