Sometimes I’m really good at championing and supporting my husband – being his encourager and helpmate, listening and loving and serving, overlooking minor offenses, being fun to be with.
Other times, I fail…miserably. I only see his weaknesses and my strengths. I give in to the temptation to fault find and nitpick and overly-remind. I hold quiet resentments and share unsolicited advice on how he should handle things.
I’m coming out of a failing season in this area.
I had fallen into a trap of making repeated mistakes that I was so careful to avoid in the early years of marriage. So conscientious I was back then. Now almost 12 years in, and the Enemy had BLINDED me to my role in my frustration. I saw myself as Lady Wisdom and could not believe that Matt was not interested in savoring every wise word that dripped from my blessed mouth.
Whaaaaat?? My every opinion isn’t welcomed? Subtle eye-rolling isn’t motivating? How ever can this be? Coming at you with my opinion even after you’ve stated a boundary isn’t effective? Shocking.
The Lord has been reshaping my heart the past two weeks, largely through this book – Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands that I ordered in the height of my frustration. (Maybe it’s just because my heart was so impacted, but I highly recommend this book and personally feel like it should be required reading for all wives.) Matt calls it my “change your husband” book. “Your Change Your Husband book came in the mail,” he said. We laughed together at that, and I told him that wasn’t what it was (but he was on to me) 😉
The funny thing is, as I read the book over the course of last week, it was ME that was changing. MY heart was softening. MY eyes were opening. MY sin was being shown to me. Matt’s many strengths and wonderful qualities were brought back to my attention. It was like I could SEE him again – this precious man – after a veil had fallen over my eyes.
A friend and I were talking the other week about Proverbs 14:1
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
“With her own hands!” my friend reiterated.
The power a wife has! Such power.
I’m embarrassed to admit that my hands were tearing my house down. Not like a huge forceful wrecking ball – that would be too obvious (and easy to identify as wrong), but rather slowly, one brick at a time. An occasional eye-roll here (maybe even an unseen eye-roll), a thoughtless comment there. A quiet grudge here, a nitpick there. Choosing to be irritated by little things instead of gracious. Brick by brick. And I looked around and wanted to blame the partially crumbled wall on him. When it was ME! It was MY doing. And I didn’t even know it! How sly the Devil is with us wives! How he blinds us to our own faults and magnifies our husbands’.
I have gained such fresh motivation to pursue my man with tenderness and more diligently protect and create a pleasant atmosphere in our home with my good attitude and cheerful mood.
It’s a pretty radical heart shift.
Coincidentally, both our orchid and Christmas cactus bloomed last week for the first time in a year I think. It was such a kind visual from the Lord of the work He’s doing to breathe new life and beautify places in my heart that desperately needed His touch.
My church had a marriage conference last weekend that Matt and I didn’t attend because I couldn’t figure out how to go with a nursing baby. In hindsight, it was doable and I’m a little sad about the missed opportunity. While I heard it was wonderful, I have no idea what the theme of the weekend was or what was specifically discussed. But I love how the Lord can teach hearts regardless of whether or not they could attend a conference. I love how He speaks and convicts and that His Spirit is not bound by schedules or place and that He was gracious enough to move my heart through other means even though I couldn’t attend.Also, interestingly, I was scheduled to read the Scripture at church recently, and it happened to be some of the same truths that God had been piercing my heart with the previous week. My grateful heart felt like it would burst from the aptness of these words and from the fact that I knew the God of the Universe was tending to my soul through them:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
So in closing, I will just leave you with this:
Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.
-The Princess Bride