Christian Wife, Let Your Husband Be.

Christian Wife, Let Your Husband BE. // jessconnell.com

Christian wife, could I have permission to speak into that place where your disappointment resides? The portion of your mind where reality shows up and shows that he isn’t, in fact, the perfect guy you may have thought he was in your early months together? The place where you are tempted to keep an opposite-of-1-Corinthians-13 list of his failings and flaws? The inner record-keeper where your husband comes up short, against the “perfect Christian spiritual leader husband” poster boy?

With your permission to speak into that irritable place of your soul, here’s what I would say:

BE CONTENT WITH THE MAN YOU HAVE.

Oh, sure, you could come up with a list, and so could I:

  • “He didn’t ‘do Family Bible time’ last Tuesday, last week, last year, or ever.”
  • “He doesn’t talk very much.”
  • “He’s too ____________.”
  • “He hasn’t weighed in on all the questions I’ve asked.”
  • “He doesn’t disciple our kids in the way I think it should happen.”
  • “He doesn’t X, Y, or Z, even when I ask NICE.”
  • “He…”

You know, I really do understand that every woman labors under a different burden– different husband, different children, different home, etc. And we each come custom-fitted with certain questions and concerns as we enter marriage.

We really are each given our own row to hoe.

{And, to be clear, NO I am not talking to wives who are being abused. If you are being abused, tell the authorities. Call the police. Tell your dad. Tell strong men in your life. Tell someone.}

I’m not talking to wives who are being abused.

I’m talking about wives with normal human husbands who sometimes sin, sometimes hurt their feelings, sometimes do things they don’t like, are sometimes a little too passive or a little too gruff, and are sometimes disagreeable or frustrating.

Sometimes I want to take young and old wives alike, grab em by the neck and say,

“Discontented woman, stop griping. Stop attacking him and tearing him down! Stop correcting him in front of other people. Stop telling everyone all his faults. He’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders each day. Celebrate him!

BE THANKFUL FOR THE MAN YOU HAVE.”

Because many women who gripe the loudest actually have this sort of husband:

  • He is faithful.
  • He is hard-working.
  • He serves, in his own way.
  • He smiles at you when you smile at him.
  • He carries the weight of your family on his shoulders.
  • He wakes up each morning and goes to work.

He IS NOT PERFECT… no man is… but by golly, what does it say about us when we can’t we be thankful for what we have?

I appreciated this word, from a recent 9 Marks Mailbag:

“I might even encourage husband and wife to consider all the evidences of grace in their marriage in how he has loved her. Has he remained physically faithful to her? That is a sign of God’s grace in the man’s love. Has he provided her with food, clothing, and marital rights (see Ex. 21:10)? That is a sign of God’s grace in the man’s love. Has he maintained the home in good repair? That’s God’s grace and the man’s love. Has he sought to fulfill her other needs? That’s God’s grace in the man’s love. Tell them both to write down such a list and make it as long as they can.

I am not telling her or him to be content with just these things. I am saying that, if every good gift comes from the Father above, we should acknowledge all of these gifts as coming from him, lest we rob God of praise he deserves. And that act of thanksgiving helps to transform the heart and to create the expectation of more gifts to come, together with prayerfulness and the desire to work to that end.”

It’s not that there aren’t reasons to confront, reasons to talk things through, reasons to seek counseling… absolutely there are! Doug and I have had to have some tough conversations over the years.

I’m not advocating for a stiff upper lip. I think one of the reasons the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband’s heart “trusts in her” is because he knows he can rely on her to speak truth to him. That’s something I strive for in our marriage, and it absolutely means that sometimes you say the hard things.

So I’m not advocating for falsehood.

But sometimes we seriously need to lighten up.

Far too often it seems like Christian homeschooling moms in particular have this pie-in-the-sky view of what a man is supposed to be like… after listening to her favorite preacher’s sermon on “How husbands should love their wives,” or coming home from a homeschool conference, where she attended the session on “How husbands should set the tone for the homeschool,” this woman has visions of her husband:

  • Working by day, to provide abundantly for their larger-than-average family
  • Breathing out systematic theology studies by candlelight each night
  • Giving well-crafted mini-sermons through every interaction, with his children and his wife
  • Never failing
  • Never struggling
  • Never weak
  • Waking up praying, going to bed praying
  • Correcting their children in exactly the right tone, every time
  • Disciplining, while being always careful to strike the exact same balance between grace and obedience that his wife would choose
  • Never responding with tiredness, emotion, or anger
  • Perfectly godly in every way
  • Never human
  • Always eager to lead a Bible study, especially when she prods him to do so.

{Psst! If you didn’t get the message from the paragraph above, STOP LISTENING to sermons and messages meant for him. Listen to the ones aimed at correcting you.}

Ladies, the man in the list above doesn’t exist. Let me be more clear: Homeschooling moms, the man in the list above doesn’t exist.

Yes, you’re right to pray for him. Yes, you’re right to encourage him and help him as he strives to please the Lord. But to look for perfection on earth is to choose perpetual dissatisfaction.

And can I just say something about wives who seek to “help” their husband through criticism of his parenting, teaching, spiritual leadership, discipline, and affection?

Ladies, no husband feels like his wife is a helper, lover, and companion when:

  • all she does is call potshots and tell him everything he’s doing wrong.
  • he’s nitpicked and criticized.
  • he does family Bible time and is then told (or has it implied through body posture, eyes, or glances at the watch) that it was too long, too boring, over the kids’ heads, not enough, too much, etc.
  • he can’t discipline right, can’t love right, can’t fix the house right, can’t, can’t can’t.
  • his wife convinces him that he’ll only, ever fail in her eyes.

jessconnell.comNo, Christian wife, don’t let this be you. 

Don’t be the perpetually-unpleasable wife.

Be his most loyal friend and companion. Let him be who he is, and love him anyway. Yes, spur him on toward godliness, and yet, love him and stand by him when you see that he’s still got areas that are weak and in need of change. Offer him the kind of faithful, “I’m-on-your-side” love that can go the distance.

And what I want to say to other Christian homeschooling moms out there, who are married to faithful, albeit imperfect men, is this:

RECOGNIZE THE GOOD IN YOUR MAN.

Most likely,

  • He’s a good, decent man.
  • He wants to grow.
  • He’s striving to know the Lord.
  • He loves you and is attracted to you.
  • He’s battling his own foibles and weaknesses that came with the human package HE was given by the Almighty.
  • He’s getting to know these kids, yes, in a different way than you, because he’s not around them all day, and he’s a dad, not a mom. He loves them in his own way that is different from you.
  • He’s faithful.
  • He goes to work each day, and comes home each night.

He’ll never be perfect, but God has custom-built him for you!

Let him be.
Let him be who he is.
Let him be human.
Let him be.

And in whatever ways you can, wife, celebrate the man he is. Don’t hold him up next to impossible standards that he will never achieve and call him unworthy.

This quote has challenged me over many years of marriage:
 

“A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.” ~Lars Greer (via Elizabeth Elliot)”

Love and respect this man right here in front of you. Do it on purpose. And do it with as much sincerity as you can. This is one of the ways God has given you the opportunity to fight for your man– to be a woman who is fully in his corner, supporting and loving him as a helpmeet.


Christian wife, let your husband be.

 

Want practical ideas for living this out? Read this follow-up article:Do Him Good! // jessconnell.com

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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10 Responses

  1. Jennifer Collins says:

    Amen! Truth.

  2. Jessica says:

    Thank you! A good reminder about now when expectations can run high around Valentine’s Day of what a husband is supposed to do and show! Yes, let us learn to love….and be thankful and focus on the good things our husband does and is!

  3. Bethany says:

    Oh, goodness, Jess, this is my default mode. I’m a work in progress, that’s for sure! Thanks for the admonition this morning. :)

  4. Libby says:

    I love this post. Do you have any posts that specifically talk about building up your husband? I know the obvious things to not do, as in cutting him down verbally or micromanaging him. Beyond having a joyful attitude towards love making and keeping the home a happy sanctuary for him, what are more specifics things wives can do? I know every husband will have different things that are life-giving to him, but do you have any ideas of further supporting husbands?

  1. October 30, 2016

    […] post is a follow-up from Monday’s– Christian Wife, Let Your Husband Be.— where a reader asked, “Beyond having a joyful attitude towards love making and keeping […]

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