By guest authors Dianne Doty and Nancy Patterson
As homeschool moms, it can be tough to balance our marriages with the ever-increasing pressures of homeschooling and parenting. How can we keep our marriages strong? We pray this series, taken from an out-of-print booklet entitled Encouragement for Vow-Keepers by the Center for Family Ministries, will encourage and equip you in your journey. Read Part 1 of this series here.
Whom have I in heaven but YOU? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26, NIV).
Carol sat mesmerized by the pastor’s sermon. He was so eloquent and seemed to really understand her feelings and trials. She failed to realize it was God’s Word that was aiding in her trials. She focused more on the pastor. “Why can’t my husband be like the pastor? He is so calm, so understanding, so smooth and refined. I wish my husband would lead our family in a more spiritual sense. The pastor’s wife is so blessed to have such a godly man for a husband.”
Meanwhile, there sits the pastor’s wife thinking, “I wish my husband were home more and would spend more time with the children, but his job is so demanding. I wonder if I could get Carol’s husband to come over and fix our leaky sink. He is so good at home repairs and always seems to have the time to help out in that way. My husband is so drained from serving other people that he doesn’t have any energy left to serve our family.”
What were your expectations on your wedding day? Did you come into your marriage with a set of preconceived ideas of how your marriage should be? How he was to treat you and you him, what jobs you would have or what jobs he would have? Many “picture” their marriage to be a certain way and then become disillusioned, hurt and wounded when those expectations begin to break down. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12, NIV).
It doesn’t take long to find out that you married a sinner and he also married a sinner (you). The man (who was so sweet and kind) turned into something you hadn’t quite expected. He changed. He’s not at all like you thought, and doesn’t do things the way your dad did them. Things are not as you anticipated.
The apostle Paul said, I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation (Phillippians 4:11-12, NIV). What is that secret? It is believing that God has promised to be with us in all situations and at all times and then resting in His strength and care. It has been said, “In acceptance lieth peace.” It is a process; yet, we can learn to be content in any and ever situation.
We wives have many different kinds of husbands. There are aggressive husbands, passive husbands, disinterested husbands, Christian husbands, unsaved husbands, godly husbands, ungodly husbands, etc. Then there is your husband, wherever he may fit into the picture.
It is interesting to note that there are not many verses in the Bible specifically about marriage. But there are numerous verses about how to treat others. Husbands are “others.” Would you be exasperated with your best friend if she acted like your husband? You probably wouldn’t because you accept and love her; she doesn’t “push your buttons.” Romans 15:5 states, Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (NIV).
We find that many women are embarrassed over their husband’s actions; maybe he does something or says something that is unacceptable, or maybe he says something to you in public that is humiliating. However, our job is to accept our husband, complete with all his flaws and human weaknesses. Enjoy the differences of his personality and accept his idiosyncrasies. Relax and realize that what he does is a reflection of him and not of you. Try not to take it personally when he acts in a way that is unacceptable to you, but if this an area of struggle for you … (see part 3, coming soon on the CHEC Blog).
Sometimes pride gets in the way. We want others to think highly of our husband. We desire others to believe that our marriage is good. Then our spouse does something really embarrassing, maybe even sinful, in front of others.
I know of a woman whose husband is very crass in public, probably in private, too. He is a bore and egotistical. I have often wondered how she could stand to be around him. One day I visited in their home, and he came out with some really off-the-wall comments. I was embarrassed for her, but she only said, “That’s Henry” (not his real name). She did not take it personally. She made no excuses, and she accepted “Henry” in all his ways and lived with him wisely. She can’t change “Henry” but she can accept him.
Hence, they have been married over thirty years with many ups and downs, but she possesses a sweet spirit and knows how to love and accept him. Many admire her. Her children have seen her commitment, her loving attitude, her patience, and her beautiful character. They have also seen her respectfully stand up to her husband in crisis situations that have kept him from making life-long mistakes.
One freeing aspect of contentment is in realizing that we wives are not what our husbands expected either! This can help us learn to love our husbands and accept their weakness when we realize that we have many weaknesses ourselves. The men in our lives may be bitterly disappointed with us as well. If we can begin to show the love of Christ to our husbands and accept them for who they are, sins and all, then it is more likely that our husbands will learn to love and respect us in return. Even if they don’t learn to love and respect us, we have still gained much in our own character development and in our growth before the Lord.
What if we just cannot accept him? Can we accept him because God accepts him? Can we trust that God has us in this marriage to learn from God Himself? Can we love him because God loves him? We may not be able to love him with our love, but we can love him with God’s love because God is love (1 John 4:16, NIV).
Lord, I choose to accept my husband as he is and I praise you for grace to be content and allow You to change both of us in Your timing.
-Dianne and Nancy
Copyright (c) 2002 by the Center for Family Ministries.