Security in marriage is something I enjoy with my husband. We’re coming up to 6 years of marriage, and there is a settling that is occurring now after a time of sifting. I feel like we are more comfortable with each other and our roles in the marriage.
The tricky thing is that in the rush and busyness of life, it’s easy to let that feeling of security carry along the marriage instead of investing in it. When, ironically, investing in the marriage is what created the feeling of security in the first place!
I want to be a good wife to my husband, and that is not going to happen by accident. So in my mission statement, I have purposed:
To love and respect my husband by accepting him warmly, forgiving him freely and serving him humbly, as I minister to and with him.
“Love” to me speaks to commitment, making B’s needs a priority and a general tenderness in my attitude.
Since the beginning of our marriage, I have been aware of the need to respect my husband. (I mean, it’s pretty clear Bible teaching). But recently I’ve realised I do this thing where outwardly I try to craft my words in such a way that they couldn’t possibly be construed as disrespectful, but inwardly I am rolling my eyes, stomping my feet and rebelling.
And he can tell.
And even if he couldn’t tell, it wouldn’t be okay because God looks at the heart.
So I am working on cultivating a total attitude of respect toward B because I want my heart to match my actions. And I want my actions to be a true reflection of my heart, not some elaborately manufactured production.
That is why I have combined action with attitude in each of the three phrases at the heart of this Mission Statement point:
“Accepting him” is the action, “warmly” is the attitude.
“Forgiving him” is the action, “freely” is the attitude.
“Serving him” is the action, “humbly” is the attitude.
It is no longer enough for me to have convincing actions, I want my actions to be based on a deep attitude of respect. And that brings me another reason respect is so important.
I read a long time ago – pre-kids, pre-marriage – that if a woman was struggling with disobedient children, she should look to her own treatment of her husband. If she consistently treats him with disrespect and refuses to submit, she can expect the children to also reject authority in their lives.
At the time I was shocked (SHOCKED!) at this teaching. But as time has passed and I’m now married with two kids of my own, this is starting to ring true. I give my children an example of what it means to be under authority – do I respect and submit to that authority, joyfully? Or do I complain about and buck that authority?
I see the evidence in my daughter. Even though she’s only three, I can already see her reflecting the way I treat my husband back to us. When I am disrespectful, everything becomes a battle, she is restless and hesitant to obey even small directions. When I treat B well, she seems more at peace and content.
Sure, you might say this is normal three-year-old behaviour. Heck, it’s normal sin nature! Kids aren’t these pure little beings of light who get messed up by the world – they are born with the propensity to sin! And I’m certainly not trying to suggest that I can train the sin out of my kids by being a good wife.
But, it stands to reason that as parents we have an important role to play in setting an example for our kids, especially in modelling marriage.
Most importantly, I can’t live up to any of these goals I set for myself as a wife without God’s grace. Because I have failed, and I will fail. But I am encouraged that God is making me more and more like Jesus each day. So, in God’s grace I will keep working to grow in this area.