Originally posted February 5, 2008:
Mark and I have been married over 20 years. As we’ve ‘grown together in the grace of life’ we have both learned much about each other and much about how God wants us to treat one another.
Mark was raised in a Christian home, but really started serving the Lord around the time we got married. I had been raised Catholic, but didn’t come to know the Lord until I was in high school. It was then that I started living for the Lord, and so when Mark and I got married, I was the “stronger one spiritually.” I use that phrase loosely because even though I had a few more years of Biblical teaching under my belt, I was anything but spiritually strong. However, I sure thought I was!
We both wanted to live for the Lord and serve Him with our whole hearts. But, I continued to see things in my husband that needed “fixing.” I made it my job in life to “fix” him because as anyone could tell, I was more spiritually mature than he. (ha!)
I thought he should pray more, so I would drop little hints about it and put him on the spot when I saw fit. I thought he should read his Bible more, so I made sure it was strategically placed for him to find it and every chance I had I would let him know that it was something he should be doing more of.
I was stealth I tell you! I made sure that he knew there was more he should be doing for the Lord. After all- if I didn’t, who would? And let me tell you, it’s not easy being stealth when you have a giant plank sticking out of your eye getting in the way all the time! I had to work hard at it.
Then there were my moments of condescension. I could so easy manipulate a conversation to let him know that he needed to be a better Christian. Mind you…this was all while I was being a good and submissive wife. I truly felt that I was doing all the right things and that the Lord was leading me in my controlling ways.
I’m not sure how long it was before my husband starting saying, “Hark, what is that I hear? Is that the Holy Spirit speaking?”
Of course at first, I knew this was just rebellion. Surely God was about to “get him.” How dare he blame me when he is the one with the obvious issues!
Until, I finally heard the still small voice of the actual Holy Spirit speaking to my heart and telling me how wrong I was. This was not an overnight lesson for me. I have learned this, repented and turned around time after time and done the same thing over again.
Eventually I realized the destruction I was bringing in our relationship and the lack of trust that I had in the Lord.
I saw that when I would shut my mouth about a situation and pray and then truly give it to God, He would intervene and do a mighty work in my husband and in me.
The key, I have learned, is stepping out of the way.
Let God be God, let the Holy Spirit do the correcting, training and teaching in both of our lives.
I had a need to control. That need was based on the fact that I did not trust that the Lord answered my prayers. I did not trust that the Holy Spirit would actually speak to my husband about leading our family. That’s really hard to admit, but it’s true. I felt that I could do a better job leading my husband than the Holy Spirit could.
John 16:13-14 3 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. NIV 1 Peter 1:2 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit NIV
Did you catch that? “The sanctifying work of the Spirit.” The Spirit does the work. The Spirit is the one who sanctifies, not us.
1 Peter 3:1 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives NIV I find it funny that is actually says, “without words.” How well does He know us?!
It is our behavior that will speak louder to our husbands. The Lord showed me that I could trust Him, and more importantly that I had so much more work to do on myself! If I would obey the Lord and do MY job in this marriage, He would take care of the rest.
I got a mental picture of the Lord standing before my husband and me standing in the middle of them getting in the way. When I finally stepped back, I saw the Lord do amazing things in my heart and in my husband’s heart.
Our faith became real to both of us.
Prov 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. NIV
A familiar verse, once again is so true.
Let the Lord, His Holy Spirit, do a mighty work in you by handing over the burden of your husband’s walk with Christ to Him. It’s not yours to carry.
Pray for your husband. But first pray for yourself, that you would honor the Lord in your marriage and be the Godly wife He has called you to be. Let your actions speak louder than your words. It’s a prayer I pray often and I still remind myself of this truth: There is a Holy Spirit, and it’s not me. I’m praying for our marriages, Sue