The Language of Love, will be dedicated to communication between husbands and wives, viewed through the context of the Scriptures.
Friday, November 26, 2010
While communication may be the hallmark of any marriage, communication --or lack thereof-- is evidence of the attitudes held by the participants. The Scriptures tell us this is true, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart" (Matthew 15:18). Attitudes are one of the most susceptible areas where our enemy can sneak in and plant thoughts and suggestions which, if allowed to take root, will grow huge trees of bitterness, apathy and discord.
For the husband, he can be tempted to have an attitude of apathy -- of not caring about the particulars of what interests his wife, or even sometimes the home. Perhaps other interests, hobbies or friends are tempting him away from the time and consideration involved in caring for, leading and guiding his family.
One of the greatest temptations for the husband is to not lead. And if the husband won't lead, the wife usually will. Using the excuse that "she's so much better at that", he will often let her make all the decisions. Or perhaps he gives in to the wife because he doesn't want to encounter disappointment and coldness which may greet him if he does exercise his God-given authority. A weak husband, one who lets his wife and his children do what they want regardless of his misgivings, almost always spells trouble for the family and the marriage. The husband speaks to the world of Christ's relationship to the church, and by being detached or apathetic, he portrays a false picture of the loving, gentle Servant-Leader our Lord was and is to His church.
One of the greatest moments in our marriage was when I realized I had been usurping my husband's authority in our home. I had been quick to make decisions even without consulting him for his opinion, but I felt the conviction of the Lord that I was wrong in doing so. Immediately I began to let my husband make the decisions and it was if a huge weight rolled off my shoulders. I have joked to others that I let him make the decisions and that way if they are wrong, I don't have any of the responsibility for them!
Letting my husband be the true authority in our home doesn't mean that I don't have a voice in the decisions that are made. My husband often asks my opinion or seeks my advice in matters. But the final decision is up to him, not me. He knows he can't say, "Well, you just decide what you want," because I'm not going to do that. I'm going to leave the decision to him. I believe the Lord has blessed us for following this path and I know it has been a great blessing to me personally.
Wives have their own temptations as well. Not only can wives be tempted to pick up the reins of authority if their husbands lay them down, wives can often be tempted to the root of bitterness growing in their hearts. Once allowed to start, this evil root is hard to pull out.
We have a small growing vine on the side of our house. It grows up the bricks and across the front of our house. The little vines cling and stick to the bricks tenaciously. Once we have managed to pull them off, we think the job is done, not realizing that there is a huge root underground ready to sprout out more vines at anytime. Keeping the vines pulled down is almost impossible unless the root is completely destroyed.
As wives, we must watch very carefully lest that root of bitterness begin in our own heart. We may find ourselves talking under our breath about a certain fault of our husband's -- something that tempts us to irritation. Or worse yet, we decide to tell it to another person, usually a woman. If this describes you, or you think it might describe you, you need to ask the Lord to remove the root of bitterness in your heart and replace it with thanksgiving and reverence.
Since the wife is a picture to the world of the relationship of the Church to the Lord Jesus, one would never expect the Church to be complaining or gossiping to others about "faults" she has found. It is no less true that we should not be doing so about our husbands. If we have issues with our husbands, they should first be taken to the Lord in meekness and humility, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted"(Galatians 6:1). If after that, we still feel we have an issue, we can bring it very respectfully to our husband. If the issue still remains after that, we can go to our Pastor. Those are the authorities outlined for us in the Scriptures. It does no good for us to share issues with other women, but stands as an example of bitterness and gossiping to sisters who may be weaker than we are spiritually. Others may be guided by our words and actions and we must make sure that we guide them in the path of the Spirit.
Bitterness, allowed to foment and grow, will eventually poison every aspect of our lives. There was a time in my life I had allowed that root to grow in my heart. I had become bitter at work, bitter at home and bitter with my friends. I couldn't be happy about much of anything. Then the Lord allowed the words of the Apostle Paul to sink deep into my heart:
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Eph 4:31,32
I came to see my bitterness as a great sin against the Lord and against His children. Thankfully, the Lord was gracious to restore to me a heart of joyfulness and gratitude. My relationship with both my husband and my friends improved and the Lord even provided a wonderful working environment for me.
I know a woman who is the perfect example of a joyful wife who is always reverencing her husband. Her husband is very particular and exacting, and I know it cannot always be easy to fight the temptation to bitterness and disrespect. However, she does so and is such a blessing to everyone who comes in contact with her. Her actions and words speak so highly of the love of the church to the Lord Jesus and she is a wonderful example to every Christian wife who meets her.
While we may not always be completely happy with our relationship, if we will make the choice to honor the Lord by reverencing our husband, by voicing our issues to the Lord's ears and by choosing to respond to our husband as the church responds to the Lord Jesus, the Lord will keep our heart. He will cause us to know His peace and His joy and His love in ways we could have never imagined. Our attitudes and actions to our husbands are simply an act of worship and obedience to our Lord.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
(1 Corinthians 2:9)