Anthony and I have been reading The Blessed Marriage written by our pastor and his wife. After the introductory chapters of this book, Robert takes 3 chapters and writes directly to the man and focuses on the role and responsibilities of the husband. Then Debbie takes the next 3 chapters and writes directly to the wife, focusing on her role and responsibilities.
Tonight, as I was soaking in the tub, I picked up this book with the intent of re-reading those 3 chapters dedicated to me. As I read, I highlighted the significant and poignant passages that spoke to my heart. When I finished, I crawled into bed, picked up my laptop and typed up all the parts I had just highlighted. I wanted to have a list of the points that shouted loudly to me so that I could read through them as often as I wanted to, without having to rifle through the pages of the book.
Some of these principles are a call for change in my life - others are reminders of the blessings I already have with Anthony. I couldn’t simply kill myself with change, change, change... I also needed to encourage myself with what I already experience in my marriage.
After I finished typing, I got a call from my husband (who’s out of town on business) and I read him my list. As I began to read the first key point, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to put each sentence into the first person narrative and use active, present-tense verbs. Basically, I was to personalize what Debbie had written and make these points mine to embrace. What a different perspective each thought took on as I changed the pronouns from “you” to “I” and from “your” to “my”. You’ll see what I’m talking about as you read the list.
I wanted to share many of these points, not only as a way to encourage you (if you’re female and married) but also to get you to think. I know putting the ‘stand out’ tenets in a list where they can’t hide among the text definitely put my mind and heart into gear.
“Heavenly Father, I pray that you will change me by changing my heart. That You will help me to embrace each point listed here (where change is required) and take these to You each day in prayer. Father, thank you for my husband and for Your gift of marriage. May I one day be the wife who examples each of these traits without hesitation.”
Honor is the key to my husband's heart.
However my husband acts, it is my privilege and responsibility to respond to him with honor.
If I choose to honor my husband, might I be releasing him to do incredible things?
Wives are to respect and honor their husbands. Ephesians 5:33
Respect is a verb insinuating "to lift up the face."
Honor is my husband's number one need. Anthony is my husband; I cannot allow his needs to be met by someone else.
If I see how my disrespectful attitude is harming my marriage and holding my husband back from becoming the man God wants him to be, I know that I need to change.
First, I must recognize that my husband was a gift to me from God and is the head of my household. That demands my respect.
Second, my husband deserves respect for his hard work.
Finally, I should honor my husband because of the man he can become. This is called providential honor because it speaks of divine guidance.
Faith for Anthony's best is honoring because I am agreeing with God that Anthony can become an even greater man of God. I honor him for what he will become tomorrow.
Honoring in word and deed: Matthew 12:34-35 - "How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things."
My words have the ability to boost or deflate Anthony's potential.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21
I must make a conscious decision to work with God instead of against Him to release supernatural power through Anthony into our marriage and family.
Satan loves to harass me with Anthony's faults in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy our marriage. I know his schemes though, and I choose not to believe his lies. I opt for life in my marriage through honoring instead of death to our relationship through dishonoring.
I will learn to honor my husband not just in my heart and with my words but also by following his desires. As his wife, I represent him. Thus I should respect who he is by following his desires.
Even when Anthony messes up, I am still to honor him.
I know Anthony better than anyone on earth, and I know he is not perfect... but it is my joy and my privilege to keep his weaknesses between the two of us. When I do this I create a safe haven for him to take refuge in. Anthony's heart safely trusts mine.
If I have ever gone along with my husband's ways with a reluctant heart, I have been an obedient wife but not a submissive wife. Obedience is what I expect from our children; it is not how I should respond to my husband. Submission flows from a willing heart, I will yield my will even if I don't agree with or understand my husband's decisions.
Submit to God (James 5:7) and only trust in Him (Provers 3:5). If I am submitting to the Lord by submitting to my husband, then I can confidently ask God to move on my behalf.
Honor is my husband's greatest need; sex is his second greatest need.
God made my husband and me to be lovers. He wants us to be exhilarated with one another.
Satan loves to lie to me about my husband. If I choose to listen to the fictitious tales the enemy spawns, I fall right into his hands and away from the embrace of my husband.
If Satan can distract my mind and prejudice my thoughts against my husband, he has succeeded in entrapping me in selfishness. If I want to foil Satan's attacks on my marriage, I must start by fighting back on the battleground of my mind.
Only God can change hearts and minds... I can't. When I discover something in my husband's heart that is less than virtuous, I will give it to the Lord.
My husband is far more likely to change his mind in response to a question that causes him to rethink his position than if I blast him with my opinion. As a godly companion for my husband, I need to know how to communicate and express my concern in a manner that does not contradict my submission.
Submitting to my husband's headship does not mean surrendering my voice in his life. I will commit ahead of time to accept his response no matter what it is; to trust God to change his heart and refuse to force my side on him; and to approach him with humility at the right time.
Just as our young love is nurtured by spending time in some form of recreation, our old love will mature with time shared together!
Anthony loves to have fun with me, and I love being the one he has fun with. We are best friends.
When I walk closely with God, my relationship with my husband becomes easier. Filled with the Spirit of God, I am be able to honor my spouse with my words and actions.
My destiny lies in denying my fleshly desires so that I can be the companion my husband needs. When I meet his needs, I am fulfilling my calling in life.