No two people are exactly alike. Everyone is different and we all come with our own baggage and memories. In addition, what comes naturally to one individual may not necessarily come naturally to another. This can be especially true when it comes to the differences between a Christian husband and wife. I also find that every Christian marriage is unique, sure there are similarities but there are also unique and subtle differences in general approach, topics of interest, methodology utilized in problem solving and personal areas of valued importance.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if marriage teaches us anything, which it obviously does if we are open to learning from this union under God’s guidance as provided in His Word, especially over time, we learn to consider and appreciate the perspective of our spouse and to value and encourage their contribution to the family unit as a whole. The Christian “family” comes with its own unique areas of difficulties because there are different roles given to the man and the woman and different responsibilities, not to mention, different areas of obedience. Being aware and open to these responsibilities also takes time, sometimes considerable time and this in itself can sometimes be frustrating.
For instance, a wife may wish that her husband take a more active role in the spiritual leadership of the family as a whole or conversely, a husband may wish that his wife be more open to his leadership. Each desire or wish comes with its own set of problems or possible misunderstandings.
I wish I could list all of the mistakes that I’ve made in my marriage over the years but if I did I would be writing a book and not a blog post. And even though my wife and I have been married almost fifty years now, in all honesty, I’m only just beginning to appreciate and understand the differences between male and female. I can, from experience, tell you one thing, being a Christian husband is not easy and being a Christian wife is not easy, especially if it involves two strong willed people. And, if anyone doesn’t comprehend the meaning of grace, honestly looking at the mistakes husbands can make concerning their wives and wives can make concerning their husbands, usually illustrates and amplifies the generosity of God’s grace, in a most practical and effective way.
I obviously can’t cover all of the various aspects or areas of concern or consideration within a marriage in a relatively short blog post but what I can do is provide a short overview of one of the more important things that I have learned. Key word here is “one”.
The key principle that is in play with respect to husbands and a Christian marriage comes from the following verse of scripture:
Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
For husbands, this verse literally changes everything. Note the principle guideline given … “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…”
And then we have the principle guideline given to the wives as found in Ephesians 5:22-24 NIV “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
If all Christian husbands and wives followed the truth of this spiritual guidance, there wouldn’t be any problems in Christian marriages. Problem being, if you’re a quick learner like I am (not), being conversant with and subject to this principle in practical terms, does not in itself, bring one to the acquired realization, without considerable soul searching and denying of one’s self, irrespective of whether you are the husband or the wife.
So what is the key ingredient that is often missing when conflicts present themselves? Please understand that I am no authority in this particular subject. My marriage mistakes greatly outnumber any insights that I have made along the way. But what I have learned and am still learning and I think is critical to everything else that falls below this guiding principle is TRUST or REAL FAITH in God.
And why do I think that real faith or trust in God is the root requirement or problem area? Because real faith or trust in God is the root requirement in every area of our walk with God, irrespective as to whether we are a man or a woman.
What we’re really talking about here is God’s will versus our will. I deliberately chose the title using the word “imposition”. The common meaning of the word imposition is “a thing that is imposed, in particular an unfair or unwelcome demand or burden”.
In a Christian marriage, Jesus Christ is imposed into the equation. This is NOT an optional choice. Oh sure, you can give lip service to it or you can ignore it but to do so introduces peril into the marriage.
I have learned that I can’t change my wife and most wives will tell you that they also have learned that they can’t change their husbands. There is only one source that can change our hearts and that is God. I’ve also learned that my example of obedience to God’s will versus my own can be the greatest aid to me acquiring my heart’s desire or the greatest hinderance. I cannot, as a husband, impose my will on my wife. Oh I can try or demand but practical experience has shown me that generally speaking, things have a tendency not to work out the way that I expect them to. Jesus never imposes His will on us, He asks us to respond to His will, willingly. Wives cannot impose their will on their husbands. Once again, you can try or demand but generally speaking, things won’t usually work out the way that you expect them to.
There is a big difference between imposing our will and stating our will. Imposing our will leaves no choice, stating our will leaves the option of obedience to our will. Same thing with God. The key to all of it as I have stated is obedience to God’s will and trusting Him or having faith in Him, to give us the desires of our heart. One reaction leaves the desire of our heart in God’s court, us imposing our will on our spouse takes that reaction out of God’s court and places it in our court, where we supposedly assume control.
Sometimes He will give us what we ask for, sometimes He won’t, because what we ask for fails to take into consideration the dignity, needs and well being of our spouse.
So, that’s what I see as the key. I’d seriously be interested in knowing if your marriage life experience correlates with what I have learned.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
I didn’t receive the feedback on this post that I was hoping for, but that’s OK. I often put together a post that is based on something that our Lord has put before me and this particular post addresses a concern that I recently encountered. And, as I stated within this post, I am not really any kind of authority on marriage because my shortfalls exceed my insights and if I was to summarize what I have been the recipient of, the word that comes to mind is God’s grace. I know that I daily come face to face with my own limitations and that it is only by listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit and responding to His guidance, that I enjoy and cherish what God has graciously enabled my wife and I to have, and for this I am especially grateful, thankful and undeserving.