Through many good books, blogs, and articles, I think I've become pretty well educated on what it means to be a godly wife. It all sounds really good and easy on paper and I am convinced that of course, I can do all that. I love my husband--that should be easy! But it isn't long until I find myself crying alone in the bathroom, telling the authors of those books what I really think. They don't know my husband! I can't be that way to HIM! They're probably married to some great patriarch or maybe a pastor or a missionary! And my pity party quickly kills all my submissive good intentions.
I'm quite sure I'm in good company here. Am I right? It is so easy for women to feel like they've outgrown their husbands spiritually because we are very spiritual beings who often feel close to God through our emotions and trust what we feel are spiritual intuitions. But when we start to believe ourselves closer to God than our husbands, we sometimes fall into a trap that makes us believe we are obeying God when we fail to yield to our husbands or even begin to try to teach him.
I'm sure there are many wonderful books written to help up know what to do when we are in spiritually unequal marriages, but all we need is on one page in our bibles--six verses that lay out very plainly what we as wives should do. This must be a more common problem than many of us feel because God addresses it so directly and instructs us so clearly in 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
These verses are frequently used when referring to an unsaved husband, but they also apply to a husband who may have fallen away from the Lord, one who not is growing or may be struggling in his faith, or even one who is failing in his role as spiritual leader. Or maybe your husband just doesn't agree with convictions you feel the Lord has given you, so you feel he is disobedient to the Word in this way. When we're in these circumstances, our only job is to pray for our husbands and make these six verses our lifestyle.
One night, I took the time to read these verses in different translations and original texts and I was just blown away. Some of the different wordings just hit the nail on the head for me. God changed my life and my perspective once I began to study this passage. There are five important points that I drew from it:
1. Be in subjection. Probably the hardest one, especially when he doesn't want to follow OUR visions for him or ourselves. (That attitude alone should tell us just how "spiritual" we really are, right?!) Some other wordings that really spoke to me were "be submissive", "accept his authority", "yield to", "be dependent on him, adapt yourself to him." Wow.
2. Without words. Oh boy. This is my downfall. I have so often used that line "I should be able to tell you what I think!" But then I read, "they may be won WITHOUT WORDS" and "without discussion". It's not our job to teach our husbands. In fact, any teaching that does not come from the Holy Spirit will probably just push them further away.
3. Watch your behavior. Our conduct should shine with purity, reverence, gentleness, quietness, meekness, respectfulness. I just love how the Amplified bible expounds on this: "to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband" What a beautiful and clear description of what it means to be respectful--what every man dreams of! Make his dreams come true in this way. THAT will get his attention much more than any amount of nagging or teaching.
4. Trust God. He is the only one who can change your husband and He doesn't need your help. Put your hope in God.
5. Do the right thing without fear. This is key for me--doing what I know God wants me to do without being afraid of what the outcome may or may not be. "Do not give way to fear." "Let nothing terrify you." "Do what is right without fear of what your husband might do." Don't be afraid! Just rest in the peace that you are obeying God and He takes care of the rest!
Last month I was listening to a radio program during a run to the store for sugar. I KNOW God orchestrated this because I NEVER run to the store just to get sugar! On it, a lady was saying, "What do you do when you outgrow your husband spiritually?" Well, I was all ears! Tell me! What do I do? The answer shamed me and changed my life:
"You CAN'T outgrow your marriage spiritually. Because the closer you get to Jesus and, if you're really becoming more spiritual, then you're becoming more humble and more aware of your own fallenness--not more judgmental and self-righteous."Wow. Maybe I'm not as spiritual as I thought.
For further reading on this subject, Jennifer recommends "Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing Your Husband's Vision".