Writing about marriage is a bit intimidating but as we approach the ten year mark, I’m finally ready to write about a subject that I am very passionate and burdened about. I do not have the wisdom or experience to write a book or extensive article, but I’m praying that through sharing a few basic thoughts on honoring our husbands, someone will be encouraged toward a positive change in their relationship.
The Hero waits
As a missionary wife (and as for any other wife), we fulfill many different “behind the scene roles”. Some of these may include administration, hosting, teaching, translating, discipling and homeschooling, to name but a few. There is one “behind the scene” role however, that towers above all the before mentioned, and that is my role as “wife”. Others can and should be trained to take my place in many of the “ministry roles” I fulfill, but as a wife, my role is indispensable. It is my privilege, position and responsibility alone to be my husbands no 1 encourager, no 1 admirer and no 1 fan! Though he may have other admirers, it is my cheering and support that rings loudest, and it is my praise that is most valued in his life!! Other than the Lord, I have the biggest impact on the man that he is and will become . He needs to be MY Hero!
As I have observed married couples over the years something has come to my attention. Most husbands seem to have the inherent need of being their wife’s Hero, yet, they will not forcefully occupy this position. The Hero waits until he is called and he is called through praise, admiration, respect and encouragement. As wives, we often wait for our husbands to “conform” to our ideal of what he needs to be, when the Hero in him is waiting to burst through, but stays confined because of our bad attitudes, discontentment, selfishness and lack of esteem and respect. A wife needs to appreciate her husband for what he already is, not for what he could become, if he lived up to her standards. He waits to be your Hero!
Let The Hero Rise
When we first married, I was determined to build a strong marriage. I came from a broken home, but more so, I had learned how sacred and important a “Biblical marriage” was to God. My drive was (is) twofold: To please my Heavenly Father and to please my earthly man, the one I believe the Lord had for me. Of course it wasn’t long after our wedding that we were faced with our “differences”. Men and women are just not the same : ) I determined that I would carefully sift through and guard the thoughts that came to mind about my husband. Critical thoughts was not to be entertianed, and it wasn’t long before my mind had developed a pattern of praiseful thinking, one that naturally flows today. Apart from the Lord, my husband is the most cherished and reverenced person in my life. I absolutely adore him! He IS my HERO and as I’ve mentioned before, not only because he is incredibly handsome and has a strangely close resemblance to Superman, but because I have the deepest respect for the man that he is, for the man that He is allowing the Lord to make him. I choose to focus on all of his strengths and good qualities and have consequently come to the conclusion that I am the most privileged women in the world to be married to this incredible man!!
Our heroes carry a pretty big load on their shoulders, and there is one place that shouldn’t be another battlefield to them – home!! My husband needs to know that at home he is “the man”, not a failure! Home should be the one place where he is reverenced unconditionally. When unwarranted criticism from the outside strikes and wounds, we need to be a haven where they can rest and be restored.
Men who are nurtured by the praise and admiration of their wives seem to generally cope better with the demands of life whereas men who are not, seem defeated regardless of how good (or bad) circumstances may be. As a matter fact, some husbands are so drained by the demands, criticism and negligence of their wives, that the strain is visible on their faces.
A wife is crucial to the success and well being of her husband. It is indeed the case that a great woman can take a mediocre man and raise him to a greater level. But a not so great wife can take a great man and pull him down to the level of mediocrity.
When The Hero Rises, He Responds
An elderly couple gave us some valuable advice when we were first married. They said: “Marriage has no room for selfishness”. We both found this to be true, very soon. Marriage is much about giving, but there is a beautiful cycle in marriage where giving is almost always rewarded with receiving (granted, it will happen in it’s own timing). When a wife learns to let go of her grudges and disappointments, and learns to seek and magnify that which is praiseworthy in her husband, her attitude will change and she will serve him with a new heart. When she serves him with a right heart, her husband will respond and start to display many of those qualities that she had wished to see in the first place. I am reminded of Jesus and His selfless death on the cross. When I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8) I had done nothing to deserve his payment for my sin, but he gave his life willingly, Taking on the same attitude wives, can revolutionize our marriages. I’m not impatiently and disappointedly waiting for my husband to become everything I want him to be, neither should I grudgingly serve as his helpmeet. But following Jesus’ example I am to selflessly love, and give to him as he is. A positive change is bound to happen!
My Hero Is Just Human
When I am tempted to entertain negative thoughts about my spouse, I quickly remind myself that I’m not perfect either. How much grace, long-suffering and patience does the Lord grant us in a day? Is it unreasonable then to do the same for our spouse? My husband is my Hero, but I bear in mind that my Hero is just human. He is not perfect and shouldn’t have that expectation hovering over his head. I certainly do not want to live up to that expectation myself – do unto others as you want them to do unto you (Luke 6:31), a very applicable principle in marriage indeed. This post may seem a tad bias to some, but the truth is that marriage is a wonderful teacher of selflessness, humility, patience and many more Fruits of the Spirit, and these lessons are to be accepted and embraced! I am thankful for the valuable lessons that I have learned in our marriage as it has played an intricate part in my spiritual and personal growth.
Last but not least:
Above all else, keep in mind that marriage is a channel for bringing glory to God. I cannot be right with God and live in a wrong relationship with my husband. However, having a right (Biblical) relationship with my husband, honors God! Let’s look at Colossians 3:23 for extra motivation when things get tough – “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord….” Let’s keep our eyes on Him!! He is worthy of all the energy and effort that we invest into our marriages! He is worthy of any “sacrifice we might make”. When I surrender and serve Him willingly, I will willingly become the wife that both the Lord and my husband desires me to be.