Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Sacrifice of Love

(This is an article I recently wrote for our MOPS newsletter, which I have the joy of publishing on a monthly basis. If you are a Mother Of a Pre-Schooler, you should consider joining a MOPS group near you---it's a phenomenal ministry. Check out www.MOPS.org.)

Many women, myself included, commonly make the mistake of expecting our husbands to be our helpmates, rather than the other way around. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of comparison, as we hear of how one friend’s husband mops the floors and does dishes, or how another friend’s husband is constantly showering her with gifts. “Why doesn’t my husband do that for me?”, we wonder, and so the seed of resentment is planted. We let our frustration fester as we take care of our home and children into the evening hours, wondering how on earth our husband can watch us do all this and not even help!? “Doesn’t he know how tired I am? I’ve been with the kids all day, for goodness’ sake! Would it be so hard for him to pick up his own shoes? Would it kill him to bring me flowers just once?”

Ever thought things like this to yourself, or perhaps, in a moment of weakness, blurted them out? Well, you’re not alone, but the truth of the matter is, our hearts are in the wrong place. We are told in Genesis that we were created to be a suitable helper to our husband. Nowhere in Scripture does it mention that our husbands were created to be our helpers. Providers, yes. Protectors, yes. Leaders, yes. But helpers, no. Because we are born in sin, we are promised that this will always be a struggle. Along with having pain in childbirth, we will forever be warring against our desire to lead. Our husbands will forever deal with the trials of hard work by the sweat of their brow.

You may be longing for a more romantic, attentive husband. In fact, you may have convinced yourself that you are justified in not respecting him because he falls short of being the husband you desire. Or, you may tell yourself that you’d be very willing to follow his lead and be submissive, if only he would lead! Have you considered that you may not be letting him lead? The “I’ll just have to take matters into my own hands if I want it to get done” attitude can be very dangerous. Our husbands need to know that we trust and respect them, and that we see them as capable. Whatever their sins and shortcomings may be are between them and God. But whether we choose to honor and help them, as is our calling, is between us and God. Playing the “blame game” will get us nowhere in nurturing a marriage. You’ve told your children that two wrongs don’t make a right, but do you believe it yourself?

No, I don’t know your husband. I’m not aware of his faults, but I am assured of God’s promises being true. If you feel discontentment in your marriage, rather than focusing on your spouse, turn your focus inward. Examine your heart and your attitude. What can you do today to help your husband? How can you serve him? How can you make him feel loved and respected? Try to make it a point to consciously sacrifice for his benefit, as Christ instructs us. Perhaps it’s merely telling yourself “I’m joyfully putting away his shoes because I love him.” Or, “Rather than waiting for him to do something romantic, I’m going to surprise him with something sweet instead.” Sure, he may not immediately notice your efforts, but if you’re working as unto the Lord, and not as unto man, your efforts will most definitely reap rewards. On this side of heaven, and the other.

1 comment:

Grandfather said...

Occasionally we experience something that makes the heart say, "By virtue of this, I know that my life has been worthwhile. Blessed be the Name of the Lord."

I've always enjoyed the Shakespeare play "Taming of the Shrew". Though you were never such a one as Katrina in her shrewish phase, of course -- you appear to be this "virtuous woman" as Katrina appears at the end of that delightful play.

And ever the apple of this father's eye.