Don’t Let Her Be a Non-Person
By Janel Breitenstein
While my husband-to-be and I dated, I’d been so ready to cheer him on as a leader.
But the way I went about this was admittedly curious. To me, it looked like some equivalent of, “Whatever you want, dear! I just work here!” I was so very adept at pleasing people! I was the perfect vanilla ice cream: will mix with anything.
So when my then-boyfriend would ask me where I wanted to eat out, I would chirp, “I don’t care! You decide!”
And I didn’t. I had become excellent at not desiring or opining.
But he’d pull over. “No problem. We’ll wait here until you know what you want.” (See what I was dealing with here?!)
This was indicative of the path our marriage would take—my husband refusing to take the leash I’d wrapped around my neck.
At times, I have been guilty of suppressing the image and voice of God in me in order to please people and look like the ideal wife. There have been occasions when I have not done the hard work of flourishing under leadership, but rather lapsed into passive personless-ness.
But my husband’s advocacy has shaped me into an ally rather than an underling. I work confidently and competently alongside him rather than beneath him. He saw his leadership as a call to mine the image of God out of me rather than use his position of authority to lord over me or control me. He wanted to be my fiercest advocate.
I see that, now, in Jesus—giving His own life so God’s image could be restored in His bride, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor” (Ephesians 5:26-27).
I’m humbled God gave me a husband who didn’t let me slide into being his shadow. Instead, his leadership makes me more capable and strong, and more beautiful in God’s sight.
The good stuff: Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:28-30)
Action points: Husbands, what’s one practical way you could empower your wife to flesh out God’s image in herself? Wives, in what way have you used submission as a shield to keep from exploring the image of God in yourself?
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