I did not grow up with a positive idea of marriage. My parents divorced when I was 2, and my father never remarried and my mother was remarried twice. In my opinion, marriage meant desiring to be together. However, when times got tough, which I knew they would, depending on how "in love" the couple was, determined whether they stayed together or parted ways. Although I did desire to get married and have a family, in the back of my mind I also believed I was too strong-willed and independent to have a lasting marriage.
When we first married, I really struggled with my role as a wife. I did not want to conform to the apron-wearing, submissive, and quiet stereotype that I believed characterized a "good wife." I am none of those; in fact, I am quite the opposite! Marriage was hard, and I did not like giving up my freedom to my husband. I was extremely selfish and refused to compromise on most issues. Boy I've come a long way, but I sure do have a long way to go!
I was listening to a podcast recently and the speaker shared that marriage takes work. Well duh-everybody knows that! But then she elaborated and said 'work' is really an acronym of the qualities that each partner in the marriage relationship must be willing to possess. They are:
Wisdom: we need wisdom in knowing how to respond to our husbands, when to submit, and ways to show our love and respect to our men. James 1:5 says that if we ask God, He will give us wisdom.
Obedience: the bible says that to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22). I obey because I don't want my disobedience or my mess to come on my children (and trust me, it does!). If God can part the Red Sea, He can surely work in my life to give me the grace I need to obey Him.
Responsibility: 1 Thess. 4 gives a list of commands that believers are to abstain from and also exhorts us on how to behave. My paraphrase is this (and I say it to my own children on a regular basis): worry about yourself. Take care of your own responsibilities and let God have a chance to work. If your husband isn't treating you the way he should, focus on your responsibilities and let God do the rest; God can't work if you're in the way!
Knowledge: Ladies, we need to know God for ourselves. We need to know what He likes and dislikes, but we also need to know His character. God is good and only has our best interest at heart. I think so often when we are discouraged we forget that important attribute. There is an old adage, "No pain, no gain." That is so true, particularly when the storms come. It is during those painful times that we gain the most knowledge about the Lord.
Along with knowing God, we also need to know our husbands. We need to know what ticks him off, what tickles him, and what makes him tick. And we have a responsibility to use this knowledge in a way that pleases the Lord in our marriage.
I am so thankful for the many ways I have grown and changed in my role as a wife. I love that the Lord has allowed me to flourish and be an example to my children. I know I am not perfect, but I am thankful for the forgiveness and grace that both TJ and God offer to me on a daily basis.
Grow in grace,