March 14, 2017
“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
I know I can’t be the only wife who has ever questioned how her husband leads the family and the depth of his faith in God.
Early in our marriage, I expected Dennis to lead me in prayer times, Bible study and in making church a priority. Then when we had children, I expected he’d do the same with them. All the missionary biographies I’d read had children sitting quietly, listening to a wise father teach.
Idealism and expectations come from those comparisons. What wife hasn’t made hundreds of comparisons about her husband?
Are you doing what I did? Informing him how much work you are doing, how heavy your load is, as if he’s doing nothing? Perhaps he’s not doing what he could, but setting yourself up as superior is not the motivation he needs to change.
The truth for me might be the truth for you too. It’s not that my husband wasn’t leading our family; it’s that he wasn’t leading our family the way I thought he should. He wasn’t believing in God as I thought he should.
Since when did God ask me to set the standard for my husband?
Recently one of my daughters said to me, “I’m so glad I’ve learned that when my husband acts this way, I don’t have to let his attitude control me. I’m not responsible to make him happy or help him change his behavior.”
This is truth for every wife.
Many times our husbands could have acted differently, responded more lovingly, been more patient with your mother or with his mother. Other times, he may not be outright sinning, but his approach to life isn’t yet refined. His way of handling conflict, relationships, money, the children — or all of the above — are skills that must grow and develop.
Think about it. When you’re learning to ride a bike, what do you do? Fall … a lot!
Odds are good your husband has never been a husband to you before. You are unique and not like any other woman on the planet, right? He’s going to make lots of mistakes. Let him learn. Encourage him like you do your children’s faltering first steps or first wobbling pedals on a bike.
He’s still learning.
While I am acutely aware being a wife and mother is hard work, I often forget that being a husband and dad is hard, too. The God-given burden our husbands have for shepherding the entire family is a heavy one — whether they ever admit it or not.
So let’s start by acknowledging that he has a lot to live up to. There’s no way he could get it all right the first time around. He is practicing every day in his live, real-time interaction with you and your children.
When we see our husbands sin or make mistakes, it’s easy to forget that as a couple, we are both growing into the person God wants us to be. Let’s remember: God isn’t finished yet.
When I feel like my husband isn’t carrying his weight, I have a choice to make: I can complain about him and criticize him for his mistakes, or I can continue believing in the man I married.
I’ve learned that when I choose to believe in my husband, I’m really choosing to believe in God. Not because my husband is immortal, but I’m showing I believe in God’s sovereignty to change hearts, attitudes and behaviors.
Temporary disappointments and our failures show us how much we need the transforming work of God in our lives, every single day.
Are you willing to see the good in your man and believe God is greater than all our sin? Your husband needs your belief and encouragement as God refines his faith.
Dear God, thank You for continuing to refine me as You refine my husband. Show me how to respect and encourage him through the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In Letters to My Daughters, Barbara Rainey candidly addresses the realities of marriage today.
Visit Barbara Rainey’s blog where she helps women live out their faith at home every day.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
1. Give thanks to God for the way He made your husband. Acknowledge God is the author of your marriage.
2. Find something your husband is doing right and praise him for it. Don’t stop at just one.
3. Voice your belief in your husband. Tell him you know he can land the job, disciple your children, love you well. Your belief in him is half the battle.
4. Pray for your husband to respond to God’s work in his life.
© 2017 by Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved.