I touched on the subject of submission, service and sex last year after attending a women's conference at my church. God has really been hitting home this subject for me lately and I feel convicted not only to work on myself as a wife but to speak out on the subject as it is so important. It is devastating to me that the divorce rate is so high and even more crushing that the rate is equally as high among Christians. Obviously we are going about it totally wrong. I recently brought up the book we are studying in my women's small group, A Woman After God's Own Heart, which has continued to remind me of what my priorities should be as a Christian woman.
This week we are reading the first two of four chapters about how to make our husbands a priority. These chapters are entitled A Heart That Serves and A Heart That Follows. I love how Elizabeth George talks about serving our husbands. She first points out that as followers of Christ we should all have a servants heart, married or not. This attitude of service should start at home, specifically with your husband. She goes onto define a helper, as described in Genesis 2:18. A helper is one who shares man's responsibilities, responds to his nature with understanding and love, and wholeheartedly cooperates with him in working out the plan of God. You see we are to team with our husband. This idea of team should eliminate any sense of competition which is why there can only be one head of the household. If we as women are competing for that position we are working against our husbands and ultimately against God's plan.
I furthermore love how gracefully Elizabeth describes our calling to follow our husbands. First of all, a husband's calling as head of the household does not mean that a wife isn't to offer wise input, be a part of discussion or question the decision-making process for clarification. The husband's headship means that he is responsible for the final decision. In the end our husbands are accountable to God for their leadership decisions and we are accountable to God for how we follow that leadership. If you ask me, we as wives get off easy! She talks about the fact that the main reason wives hesitate in following their husbands is fear. Fear of what will happen if our husbands choose to do things differently than we do. This is where faith comes in. Ultimately we must have faith in God's plan and faith in our husbands. And we must remember that it is a choice. We are not forced into submission but instead are given the privilege of choosing to do so.
Already as I have read and prayed on what I am reading, God has begun to bless me in this area. I have noticed that my desire to put my husband before myself has increased as I have spent time making an effort to do so. It is often my first instinct to question or weigh in on every decision he makes...how irritating that must be. So I have made a choice to stop and bite my tongue when I have the urge to do this. I think about if I am about to speak up just to have a say or because it is something I feel strongly about. If it is not the latter I don't say anything. Not that I won't share my opinion if he asks, but I don't offer it freely on every decision. It is unnecessary. The second thing I have been working on this week is serving him. I try to get up each morning and think about how I can make his day easier. So often in the past I have gotten wrapped up in the things I have to get done and how he could make my life easier or my to do list shorter. I am working on reversing that thinking and putting his list first and making myself available to help wherever I am needed. Sometimes these are big things, sometimes it is just pouring his coffee and bringing it to him. He isn't asking or expecting me to do this, I am doing it by choice. And quite frankly, it is empowering. So often women think about serving their men and relate it to being oppressed or enslaved. But when it is your choice, especially a choice made to align your will with God's, it is absolutely an empowering choice to be made. I know that I am taking a step to creating the kind of marriage that God intended us to have and only good can come of that. And my husband being the kind-hearted man of God that he is reciprocates this kind of behavior. We are both having our needs met without putting ourselves first....go figure!
I am excited (as is my husband:) to continue next week with the chapters on A Heart That Loves. I know that God has great things in store for us as I continue to work on being a wife his heart. My prayer is that you will look at your role as a wife and pray on the areas that God is calling you to make changes. I promise that He will work wonders if you allow him to.