Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A few thoughts on marriage...RESPECT

I wrote these marriage posts over a year ago. I'm not sure why I didn't post them last year, but life spiraled out of control shortly after I wrote them and I forgot about them until now. A darling young bride had asked me to speak at her wedding shower, and I turned my three points into three marriage posts.

I wrestled with God's leading to teach the Sunday School class on Insecurity, but through that experience, I learned that God often uses what we teach others to help US learn. I decided to look at the speaking opportunity as a reminder to myself of the marriage truths I needed most to hear, in the hopes that if it was something beneficial to ME it would be beneficial for others as well.

At a Living Proof Live event that I attended, speaker Beth Moore told us about a friend of hers praying for a group of women, "Help us to see our men as great." I was struck by that so deeply that I wrote it in my notes in bold caps and underlined it several times. Our culture disrespects men! Think of the hot dog commercial where the wife spends the whole thirty seconds telling her husband "no." He is portrayed as an immature buffoon, and she is portrayed as the sophisticated leader who knows best in every situation. What a wrong image - and for a hot dog commercial! I'm sure you can think of other examples in media of how our culture is disrespectful.

We have to be so careful as wives not to allow those subliminal messages to permeate our thoughts and perspectives about our husbands. Respect is vital to the marriage relationship.

We think of men as very competitive creatures. Consider this: If two men are working together to dig a ditch, there is an understood competition to see who can dig faster, farther, more efficiently, etc. They don't say a word. They don't have to. They both just know they are in a competition. Women are just as competitive, but in a completely different way. When I was nine months pregnant, a woman started to tell me her HORROR story of her first birthing experience. Not willing to be outdone, another woman chimed in to tell her HORROR story, and soon a third woman joined the chorus of HORROR birthing stories. I walked away with eyes like saucers, wondering WHY in the world those women would ever tell a pregnant woman those kinds of tales. I think women compete for the martyr award, and that's where our competition comes into play. One of us starts to tell a story about how difficult her husband is, and another says, "That's nothing... you should hear what my husband said to me the other day..." and pretty soon the conversation has turned into a husband-bashing session.

This should not be. My advice for the young bride is to NEVER join into those kinds of conversations... even to RUN away from "friends" who behave that way. I made a pact with my closest friends when they got married that they could tell me anything... if they had a struggle with their husband, I would listen but I would always encourage them to talk to their husband about it, because that is the only way things can be resolved. (My friends do the same for me.)

Of course, when we talk about the issue, we need to make sure we are "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15). We can speak the truth, but if we are yelling, or being sarcastic, or using violent hand gestures as we speak, we aren't communicating respect and the damage is the same.  Many times, we should say less and pray more. Ecclesiastes 5:2 says "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few." So often, if we didn't say anything about the issue and just prayed about it, things would go more smoothly!


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