A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands. Proverbs 27:15-16
I don’t really hate my husband. As a matter of fact, after almost 18 years of marriage, I am still madly in love with him. He is my best friend in every sense of the word, and I simply can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else! That being said, I find myself wondering ‘How did he put up with me’???? I shake my head with sadness as I remember the early years of my marriage. I was one who had no idea that I was caught in the throes of an age-old battle between the woman and the God that created her. I was a Christian, and had been since I was 15 years old, but I was also a feminist, and I had no idea that the two were sworn enemies! I was a wife…who loved her husband…but I was a feminist…who… hated men??? Oh my!!!! And I struggled. Horribly within myself. It was so ingrained in me that as a woman I needed to fight for my rights, to demand equality…to have it all. I lost sight of the fact that as a woman, Christ died for my rights so that I wouldn’t have to….and that in Christ is the only place to experience true freedom and equality. I didn’t actually lose sight of this, I never really understood it.
I was born in 1973; the year of the Roe v. Wade Supreme court decision. And to say that growing up in the post Roe v. Wade era had an enormous impact on my view of what it means to be a woman would be an understatement. Although I grew up in church and committed my life to Christ at the age of 15, the very harmful and anti-biblical views that I had been indoctrinated with were never challenged in the church that I grew up in. The next church I attended that had a huge impact on my life, and the lens with which I viewed Gods Word, was very supportive of my being ordained as a pastor alongside my husband. There was not a lot of influence on following the biblical model for womanhood and motherhood. I found myself with four small children, and a load of responsibility, both at home and at church. I won’t even go into the details of my turmoil over homeschooling. After all, I was a woman! I could do it all…right? Looking back, it’s not difficult to understand how I arrived at a place in my heart and mind where I ‘loved’ my husband, but overall, had a negative and disdainful attitude towards men…and I didn’t even know it. I understood the need to submit on the surface and display a humble attitude or demeanor when required. But true submission…true humility…what was that? I couldn’t see that my brain, as well as my heart, had been fed so many images of weak men…incapable men, and my heart had unknowingly believed that they were all like the images or representations seen on television. But as terrible as that was, even more horrifying was the the fact that I was completely unaware that I believed the lie.
I was married to a wonderful man. He was not lazy or weak. He was a God-fearing, gentle, humble man who loved me and our children. He was a hardworking man, who left college when I was pregnant with our second child and on complete bed rest, so that I would not be alone with a toddler who was confined to a play pen for most of the day while daddy worked and tried to fulfill his dreams. He was an unselfish and self-sacrificing man who, when he found himself unemployed went out job hunting in the mornings, and came home and set up yard-sales everyday, rain or shine, for the entire summer because he had a family to provide for. And as my respect and sheer admiration for him grew, I began to realize that I actually had been indoctrinated, and how wrong that indoctrination had been! And then I began to realize that even though I may have said all of the right things and tried to do all of the right things during our marriage, my heart towards him was bad. We all know the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”. My words may have said one thing, but I’m sure my actions communicated something else. How often had I silently communicated the superiority proudly worn by feminists everywhere? How often had I made him feel less than the amazing man that he is because we didn’t see eye to eye? How often had I said ‘thank you’ for some act, but treated him coldly or indifferently due to my frustration for all that he had not done? How often had I said kind words simply to ‘stroke his ego’, but thought him less, or me better because of it? But I loved him…right? But so many times my attitude didn’t convey that. The nasty thing about feminism is that it convinces us that we are communicating love, but really we silently ooze with hate. Do you think that’s too strong of a description? Then let’s look at the word hate shall we?
HATE= TO LOATHE, DETEST, DESPISE, DISLIKE, ABHOR, OR BE REPELLED BY.
TO BE UNABLE TO BEAR/STAND, FIND INTOLERABLE, RECOIL FROM, SHRINK FROM
Let’s disregard the really harsh ones and zoom in on the ones we would consider to be mild. Have any of us ever felt dislike for our husbands, and communicated that dislike through word, deed or attitude? Have we ever thought to ourselves, “I can’t stand him”? Have we ever found him intolerable, or found ourselves recoiling from his touch or shrinking away when he wants to be close? If our answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it pains me to say that we have communicated hate and not love towards them. All of our interactions, whether learned from our families of origin, or developed through other influences, communicate loudly our degree of submission to the Holy Spirit. Ouch! So you mean to tell me that the way I love my husband depends on how much I truly love the Lord and are committed to obeying his word? ABSOLUTELY! While I believed that I loved my husband, I now know that I only loved him the way I knew how to love…and that was the way I had seen other people love…in life and through other influences. I did not love him the way God commanded me, and I didn’t truly know how. After numerous interactions with women of all ages with a wide array of marital experience, I am convinced that I was not alone. I was not the only woman who had been lied to by the feminist rhetoric of this generation. And I wasn’t the only woman who wanted out!
If you are one of these women…one of these wives… and you are realizing that you have treated your husband with anything less than the honor and respect that God’s Word demands, but you desire to love and honor him, begin to pray. And then just do it. I am a witness that as you pray, the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you in ways to submit and serve. As you respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit you will discover more and more of a heart to love him as God has commanded, and those things you used to do or say because they were the ‘good Christian wifely’ things to do or say, will begin to flow out of a genuine heart filled with Gods love for him. The Holy Spirit will begin to impact your perspective of the man you married, and you will begin to see him through God’s eyes. The things that annoyed you, you will begin to appreciate or find humorous or endearing. None of us want to think that we have treated the gifts that we have been given by God with disdain, but simply by becoming aware that it’s a possibility should break our hearts and have us crying out to God to change our hearts. At least that’s what happened to me.
I love my husband! And not only do I love him, but I thank God for him everyday. My life is so much better with him in it, and I have learned and am learning to honor and respect him for the amazing man of God that he is. Won’t you join me? Wherever you are when you read this…wherever he is when you read this..won’t you connect with him and tell him how thankful you are that he’s your man. Tell him that you are sorry for ever displaying anything but love towards him…for ever thinking that you’re better just because you’re a woman…tell him that you thank God that you guys are different (how boring would life be if you married someone exactly like you????)….tell him that you appreciate how hard he works for your family…for you…and tell him that if you had it to do all over again you would still choose him! And then make the commitment to live out that gratitude! Show him love…..not hate…everyday…for the rest of your lives together.