Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Wife, Defined by Christ

by Anonymous 

My husband, and I have been happily married for about 9 years.  It's been exciting to see how love has evolved as we have worked together to meet our goals. I have always been so confident in my ability to communicate my needs, resolve conflict, and just be supportive.  I mean, I have always been a great wife!  I clean for my husband, do his laundry, birth his children, and never complain about his late nights at work.  What more could the Lord possibly want from me? 

A couple of months back, when I decided that I wanted to see Christ as soon as possible, I started to dissect the areas in my life to see where I could improve.  My interactions with my husband was one of the first places I looked.  

What does the Lord require from me in marriage? 

A careful examination of the scriptures gave a small understanding of a good starting point. 
"Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband." (1Corinthians 7:3)
So the Lord wants a wife to be benevolent.  Benevolence is kindness and possessing sincere love and just wanting the best for him.  I can try harder 
"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)
 A wife should reverence her husband.  Reverence is respect. It's the deepest respect and the highest regard.  I can show more respect.

How does this work in my life?
After prayer and consideration, it was clear that I had some bad habits that at first look seemed normal and acceptable. I thought I should focus on how I speak to my husband.  We are both very strong people.  We have bold opinions and we don't feel the need to agree on everything. My husband is also very educated and highly intelligent.  I've often felt the need to exert myself and prove to him how right and equal I am. I pushed back at ideas that seem wrong to me. I wanted to do everything my way, who doesn't? 

Life gave me many opportunities to see things as they really are over the course of a couple days.  I became very aware of how defensive I was in my responses.  I saw, much to my dismay, the contempt I communicated without any thought to the message I was sending. Sure, my words weren't unkind, but my tone needed work.  It was so humbling to see how disrespectful I was with the person I should regard above all others on the Earth.  I asked for forgiveness and set out to change my actions.  My heart was so closed off before this examination, and I had no idea. 

As a small child, I witnessed my biological father physically abuse my mother.  As a young adult, I was in an abusive relationship myself.  Due to these events, I was determined to never be a victim in my marriage. I mistook being argumentative, and prideful for being strong and standing up for myself.  I began to see that I was hurting my husband, and I sincerely desired his happiness. Through prayer, and the Lord's unending patience with me, I began to break my bad habits. I could feel Jesus changing my heart.  I stopped feeling attacked. But something was still missing missing. 
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."  (Ephesians 5:22)
To submit is to accept or yield to authority. This was the most uncomfortable realization.

What does it really mean to submit?

I plead with the Lord.  I had opened my heart, let go of my negative habits and wasn't this what the Lord wanted?  The Lord spoke to me saying, "Your relationship with your husband is a reflection of your relationship to me.  How can you fully submit to me if you can not submit to him?"  My heart was shattered.  This meant that I haven't been as faithful and true to the Lord as I had presumed.  I had further need to repent. 

The world tells us we need not submit to any man.  The world's definition seems to imply that submitting is giving away all of our power and qualities that make us unique. That it's allowing another to think for us. However, this is not the case.  

Deborah, of the old Testament, was a prophetess, a judge in Israel, and also a wife. (Judges 4) She had to think for herself to fulfill her potential.  Knowing this, it was clear the Lord didn't expect me to become a shrinking violet.

Abigail, of the Old Testament, was bold. (1 Samuel 25) She was married a very hard and wicked man, yet she was wise and did according to what she knew was right. When Abigail's husband, Nebal, wronged David, David was ready to make him pay.  Abigail, knowing that Nebal would die, went to David.  She made her husband's wrong right again, similar to how Christ makes us clean through the Atonement, and saved his life.  Abigail submitted completely to her husband by accepting him as he was and being what he didn't know he needed her to be. Knowing this, it was clear that I could still think for myself, act according the Spirit, and be individual.

How does this look in my life?

I have learned that true submission means being everything my husband needs me.  If he has a hard day and needs someone to listen, I offer my time and I submit.  If he's made a mistake at home, I quietly fix it, refrain from criticizing him, and I submit.  If he needs instruction, I lovingly speak the way the Lord directs, and I submit.   True submission also means accepting him as he is.  I no longer try and change his opinions or ideas to suit me or my needs.  If we disagree, I communicate my opinion in a kind way, accept his opinion and I submit. 

It's amazing to me that this has completely changed my heart and my relationship. There were needs that I didn't know about that are being filled.  I love deeper. There is more patience, more harmony, and more satisfaction.  In addition to seeing a great change in my marriage, my relationship with Jesus has evolved as well.  Promptings and peace come so quickly.  When I feel discomfort or concern I turn to the Lord before I react. Jesus helps me see things as they really are.  Sometimes my husband is wrong or unkind. Through prayer, I have learned how to quickly forgive and how to express myself in a way that is directed by my love for him, and not the hurt caused from a single situation. 

Seeing marriage as Jesus sees marriage, I have been able to see that submitting to my husband and to Him allows me access to my full potential. It has opened the windows of Heaven and given me a closer partnership with Jesus Christ.  I now see how to fully submit to Christ.  I am able to open up and accept the trials and tests with the success. I feel more love for mankind.  Recently, I was considering this love that Christ has for all people. I was thinking about how to completely give myself to the Lord and my husband when I felt a new and wonderful sensation in my heart.  It lasted for only a moment, and it almost made a noise. The Spirit later bore witness to me that the Lord had given me a new heart, a softer heart and that I am now more capable of being one with Jesus and my husband.

If we are to see Jesus Christ, we must be able to submit to him completely. For me, this included learning to submit to my husband.  This may take a lifetime to master. but with the help of the Lord, I can do this

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Policy: Add some light and love to the conversation!