Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amy writes,

1. Although we should have an overall vision for our life and marriage, each day should be focused on with the greatest intent.

Steve and I have a vision for our marriage. We have goals and dreams for the future and share many hopes for times to come. We are committed to our marriage daily and we can always count on each other to pray for our needs.

In the past, we did not have an overall vision for our life and marriage. We took each trial as it came, and it drove a wedge between us. Our marriage was run on emotion, not commitment.

Amy defines marriage below:

marriage: the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.

She reminds us of the truth that Steve and I have learned - marriage is a decision, not a feeling. Steve and I actually divorced because we did not have the right grasp on what a marriage truly was. When the going got tough, we quit. Fortunately, God brought us back together less than a year after our divorce was final. We remarried and divorce is no longer an option or part of our vocabulary. It's not used as a threat, and it's something we don't even consider. That's not to say we don't have our conflicts, but I rejoice when I say that after 17 years of marriage and with the nest now empty, our conflicts are almost non-existent. This is a truth because I have learned to submit to my husband, whether I feel like it or not.

We daily show our love to each other in the small things. He may bring me my favorite drink (a Diet Lipton Green Tea) without my even asking, or I may write a card for him to get well soon and sign it from Wilson (our dog).

When I ask Steve what he needs from me, he usually says, "Nothing. You're a great wife!" Sometimes I don't feel like that, but far be it from me to call my husband a liar. I notice the things that he does need and make an attempt to meet those needs before he even has to ask or do it himself. I love serving my husband in love.

From Phillipians 2 - my highlights...

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

I do have encouragement from being united with Christ and the things mentioned above, so I make it my mission to try to be one in spirit and purpose with Steve. This does not mean that I worship him. Just that I try to become one with him in a spirit of unity. I stand by my man!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

When I consider Steve's needs, I consider them above my own. What would he like for supper? What movie would he like to see? When would he like to be intimate {blush}.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

I am not my husband's equal. He is the head of me, just as Christ is the head of him. I would never be labeled a feminist. I am not all about me - I am all about Steve (and God!)

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Steve is exalted to the highest place in our home, but God is exalted even above Steve. In human terms, my husband is king. I submit to him and confess that he is my physical head, just as I confess that Christ is Lord!

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but one I learned last Thanksgiving. I had to submit to my husband regarding who's relatives we would spend the majority of the day with. I wish I could say that I didn't argue or complain. I didn't verbally, but my non-verbal body language said it all. I learned that it was a hard decision for Steve to make, and this year I told him that whatever he wanted to do, I would support. He is considering our options and right now thinks we should go to the family reunion on my Dad's side, which is the last thing I want to do. But I will if that's what Steve wants.

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

Steve has proven that he has everyone's needs in mind, first of all Christ's, then mine, and on down the line. My interests lie in what's best for Steve (aside from Christ, of course!)

Amy points out,

2. Submission is not a dirty, four letter word.

I used to think it was! I was not about to be submissive to anyone. I was for the first 20 years of my life and the scars from emotional and verbal abuse are still healing today. But what I learned from God was that submission is not about abuse. It's not being your husband's doormat.

"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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." ~ Ephesians 5:25-33

Amy writes:

God created man and woman, equally, in THEIR image (Genesis 1:26). God the Father and Christ the son are equal, however, God the Father is head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3) just as the husband is head of his wife (Ephesians 5:23). Christ is the head of man. Equality is not the same as authority. Authority does not give a husband a right to demand that his wife to do something that is outside of God's will because Christ has authority over him and has already given us the bible as a blueprint to live by. This authority when viewed through the eyes of Christ should cause us to welcome submission.

This is what I learned from the Bible, and what I learned from pastors as an adult. It's also what I learned from watching marriages where women were under the authority of their husbands. We should let our men be men and not try to be equal with them. God has created us uniquely and has a design for our marriage. When we follow it, our marriages work!

Amy also wrote:

A man surrendered to God will consider his wife's needs when makng decisions. However, if your husband makes a decision without you and it is not in direct contradiction to God's word then you should pray and ask God to intervene. If your husband is convicted and comes to you about it or if God gives you peace to approach him then you should discuss it. But you should still always respect to your husband.

Clearly, in the instance I mentioned above regarding where we were to spend Thanksgiving last year, I erred. I confessed it and repented. Steve had his reasons and I once I prayed about it I understood that I didn't have to like it, I just had to submit. It worked out well, because his parents health both failed this year and that was the last Thanksgiving we'll spend with them as a whole family together in their home. God always has a plan, and I'm so glad we did what we needed to do. Steve was humble enough to leave after a tiring day over there and drive with me over an hour to spend that evening and night with my family. It all worked out in the end. He didn't feel like going and I didn't push him, but because I had submitted to him, I was blessed by his kindness and gratitude.

Amy wrote:

For decisions that have to be made immediately, the husband is within God's full will to do so and he is ultimately responsible for decisions made on behalf of his family. A wife should be submissive in this situation. This should bring security instead of fear.

I let fear prevail last Thanksgiving, but no more. I have submitted to him 100% in everything since then, from decisions regarding finances to whether we should host a birthday party and have 30 guests in our home. I trust him and have security in his decisions.

Amy wrote:

When you submit to your husband you are submitting to Christ. This submission is for your protection. It is not to strip you of who you are or your full potential. That is lie from the pit of hell.

How true! It is for our own good that we submit to our husbands, just as our husbands submit to Christ!

3. Be so faithful to your husband that it is reflected in your speech.

I wrote on this last week, so I copied and pasted it here again because it does bear repeating.

We must build our husbands up and not fall into a pattern of husband bashing. We are not good wives when we do that, nor is it a God-honoring quality. How would we feel if we knew our husbands shared intimate details of our lives with other guys? "She is always nagging me to do this...she never wants to do such and such...she's puts the toilet paper on the holder the wrong way..." We would be mortified. We need to respect our husbands in the same way!

We should always be our husband's biggest fan, especially in his hearing. We need to build him up and speak positively about him to others. Not only is it a directive from God, but it's an esteem booster for our men.

I learned this lesson the hard way. A long time ago, I used my mother and sister as a sounding board for everything negative in my marriage. Our road was rocky and I said some things I shouldn't have. I nearly lost my relationship with my family because of it. It was so bad that my sister chose not to invite my husband to her wedding. I had a choice to make. How could I attend without him? And holiday events? Oh my! It took us a long time to get back to the place we were, God was faithful and I learned my lesson. My family now re-adores Steve, and I speak only the good and wholesome things about him, which there mostly are!

My husband is a great guy. He is my knight in shining armor, my best friend, my confidant, my lover, he can fix anything, build anything, and does kind things for me. My husband is the love of my life, and I want him to be well-liked by everyone. He's a great guy!

A word of warning, never join in on husband-bashing. It can creep into conversations before you know it.

Her: "My man never takes out the trash."
She: "Yeah, well mine leaves the toilet seat up *all* the time!"
I: "What is up with men? Can you believe mine won't even...."
She: "Yeah! I know! Last night my husband said...."
Her: "What a jerk, I asked mine to do the dishes and he said..."

And it is on, my friend. Instead, build him up. Walk away from conversations where other women begin to tear their men down, unless you intend to offer words of edification and steer the topic back toward the good that our husbands do, which I highly recommend.

Speak favorably about your husband and to him. Tell him what you admire about him. Text him or leave him love notes somewhere where he is sure to see them. My friend sent her husband a text the other day that said something to the effect of, "You will be the sexiest man today wherever you go." I thought that was cute! I think she texted him back later and said something like, "Look around....yep, still the sexiest..." I love it!

Be quick to say, "Thank you!" for even routine things he does around the house.

Tell your children what a great guy Daddy is. Ask them to think up one kind thing to do for him when he gets home because he's Daddy and he deserves it!

Can you tell I'm passionate about this point?

Focused Thoughts:

  1. Although we should have an overall vision for our life and marriage, each day should be focused on with the greatest intent.

  2. Submission is not a dirty, four letter word.

  3. Be so faithful to your husband that it is reflected in your speech.

Scripture for Memory:
Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Write It Down (or post it):
Be sure to record your revelation and thoughts in your bible, notebook, or let us all share in what you are learning and write a post about it and link it here! Share with us what God has revealed to you when were seeking Him.

Done - see above...and below...

For Study Purposes:

Study the word "authority" in the bible. Use a concordance. Record your findings.

From www.blueletterbible.org

(authority) occurs 37 times in 34 verses in the KJV

The OT Hebrew word for authority is toqeph, which means: 1) authority, power, strength, energy.

I found it interesting that it is a masculine noun!

In the Greek New Testament, authority has quite a few different words.

authenteō - 1) one who with his own hands kills another or himself
2) one who acts on his own authority, autocratic 3) an absolute master
4) to govern, exercise dominion over one

dynastēs - 1) a prince, a potentate 2) a courtier, high officer, royal minister of great authority

exousia - 1) power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases a) leave or permission 2) physical and mental power a) the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises 3) the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege) 4) the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed) a) universally 1) authority over mankind b) specifically 1) the power of judicial decisions 2) of authority to manage domestic affairs c) metonymically 1) a thing subject to authority or rule a) jurisdiction 2) one who possesses authority a) a ruler, a human magistrate b) the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates d) a sign of the husband's authority over his wife 1) the veil with which propriety required a women to cover herself e) the sign of regal authority, a crown

exousiazō - 1) to have power or authority, use power a) to be master of any one, exercise authority over one b) to be master of the body 1) to have full and entire authority over the body 2) to hold the body subject to one's will
c) to be brought under the power of anyone

epitagē - 1) an injunction, mandate, command

katexousiazō - 1) to exercise authority, wield power

hyperochē - 1) elevation, pre-eminence, superiority 2) metaph. excellence

I would encourage you to do as I did and look up the verses for each of these meanings on authority. It's very informative to see them in context. to do so, go here and then click on the little folder tab that says, "LexiConc".

Sit down with your spouse and discuss your overall vision for your future together. What can you do on a daily basis to walk towards those goals?
Write down a list of at least 25 positive things you can say about your husband. Try to add things to it each day.

Steve and I will do this tonight!

Questions to ponder: Have you had previous misconceptions about submission? How has your thought pattern changed? Have you ever considered speaking to your husband about these misconceptions?

I discussed my misconceptions about submission above. My thought pattern changed when I read God's Word. Steve and I have had many discussions on submission in marriage and he has assured me that he will never do anything against the will of God intentionally and that he will never harm me, verbally or emotionally, when I submit to him.


LAURIE said...

Good post today. One thing that my husband and I try to do once a year is when we go on a "get away" usually for our anniversary - we sit down and write out our "Mission statement" for our marriage and for our ministry - in this we also include our goals for the year. it is neat to get out the old one from a year ago and see how many things we accomplished.

Denise said...

Wonderful post sweet friend.

Lynda P. said...

Friends give me a hard time because I am so submissive to John but this has helped our marriage remain strong. And those little battles are not worth fighting over. He has proven himself to be responsible when it comes to finances and good decision making and has, overall, shown better judgment than I so it is to my benefit when I listen to his advice and defer to his decisions. The few times he has been unreasonable, he has acknowledged such and we would re-discuss the situation.

Submission is not blind acceptance to a man's judgment simply because he is a man. Submission, like respect, has to be earned. The husband has to inspire trust and respect in his wife in order to be head of the household and it seems as if Steve has more than done this.