Monday, September 20, 2010

Marriage Mondays ~ Hubby a Handicap?

Sometimes when we hike Jeff will give me a "tow." I may be feeling worn out, or it might just be the reality I'm not in the shape he's in. He'll take my hand and "tow" me for a while, pulling me along so we get to our destination together. I appreciate the lift. :) But for him, it probably isn't as much fun ... it slows him down, it drags on him despite his good condition, and he doesn't get as far as he could if I would pull my own weight. In times like these, I admit I am a bit of a handicap. Fortunately, Jeff didn't marry me for my hiking potential, and hikes alone do not determine the quality of married life. THANK GOODNESS!

I have women ask me this question regularly: "What if your husband's a handicap to you ... spiritually?" When all is right in the world, the man is the leader of the home and the spiritually strong arm that steers the family. But the world isn't all right, and many women deal with the awkward and painful reality of having a husband who may actually be a "handicap" to her, though she is spiritually sensitive, growing, and longing for new territory.

So what do you do? Do you offer to "tow" your man, like Jeff does for me on the trail? Do you "get behind him" and nag and urge and prod him up ahead of you? Or do you just sit down and give up, looking longingly at the peaks and giving up on the hope of ever seeing the heights?

You can't love the Lord on behalf of your man, and you can't grow on his behalf, either; you also can't be his "Holy Spirit."

Remember this: God wants your man to know Him and walk with Him MORE THAN YOU DO ... hard to believe? It's true, and it's also true that God is working in your guy to conform him to God's image from whatever point he's at. That should give us relief and confidence and comfort, sweet friends.

Phil. 2:12b-13

... continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

Did you read that? "It is God who works," not "It is the wife who tows the less spiritually interested or mature husband." Nope. It's God. He's working.

1 Peter 3:1-2

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

What is your husband seeing in your life? It goes on to tell about how inner beauty impacts a marriage through a gentle and quiet spirit. That's NOT a spirit that has a low volume, but an attitude that wants what God wants, yielding to Him. That's true submission, and that can influence a handicapped husband. Are you carrying your own spiritual weight in your marriage? You may be reading and realizing that your husband may feel like he's towing YOU. It's so wonderful to be able to scale the heights of knowing God together.

Maybe you are struggling with the temptation to grab your man by the spiritual hand and shout, "Come on, man! You're holding us back!" When two are not equally yoked, it DOES make it harder; I will not try to pretend like it doesn't. But when a woman in a spiritually disappointing relationship gives her burdens to God, trusting Him to be her protector and compensate for that unripe husband, she reaches peaks of spiritual maturity that are reserved for women who must learn how to let Jesus be their everything on the trail. YOU can still move forward in your relationship with your Heavenly Father, and He can meet your every need. Your trail may look different than a girlfriend's whose husband is up ahead, but God still has a beautiful journey planned for YOU.

The best thing you can do for your husband today is to be the woman of God that God calls YOU to be. As you are that godly woman in a handicapped relationship, YOU PRAY, and you don't stop praying. YOU TRUST, and you don't stop trusting. God wants your husband to cling to Him more than you do!

It takes total trust to let a Guide take you on the route, at the pace, and to the destination only He knows, but Jesus is the Guide who loves you and understands your heart's desire. His plan and desire is for your husband to grow in maturity so he can step up to the trail and lead you one day. Don't give up. Let Jesus "tow" you there.

Please know that for me, Marriage Mondays are a day when I pray for you as you read. I'm praying God will move in many hearts today. And He wants that even more than I do. If today's post would encourage a friend who is "out there" trying to drag her hubby up the spiritual hill, I hope you'll send this on, along with prayers for her encouragement and perseverance.

Blessings, sweet readers,

7 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Traci L said...

Beautiful Julie! Thank you. Http://

Warren Baldwin said...

Good post.

Had to get on the computer this am (hadn't printed my lesson yet :) before leaving to the seminar so I just entered the link myself. Thanks.

TeriLynneU said...

Julie, love this! Thank you. I wrote on these very verses last week. Powerful truths.

Mary Joy said...

Excellent post! I love what you had to say. It really made me start thinking about my own spiritual life. I need to make sure that I am working on continuing to grow and not expecting my hubby to drag me along.

My post today isn't on marriage so I can't hook up with your party but I wanted you to know that I really got a lot out of your article and God is working through you once again!! :-) Great job!

Sharon Cohen said...

Try as I might I cannot find one scripture that charges me with dragging my husband to heaven. I am also not called to push, pull, coerce, connive, manipulate, or otherwise entice my husband to increased spirituality. I have been called to respect him (Ephesians 5:33b) and by respecting him, he has risen to heights I could never imagine.

Teri said...

This reminds me of my marriage. My husband accepted Christ midnight Dec. 25, 2000 and later after our church closed after looking for a church first he gave up then for whatever reason I'm not sure of chose to also stop reading Proverbs every morning before he went to work as we had been, stopped reading the Bible with me in the evenings and then after attending a married couples small group made a definitive decision to have nothing to do with God even after expressing what he felt about God and others in the church he went on occasion and at some point I went from asking him if he wanted to attend with me after many years of being frustrated with him not attending church with me and or saying things that cursed and or blasphemed the Holy Spirit at which point I stopped responding to him and began attending church and not thinking twice about him attending except when I prayed for God to soften his heart to accept my invitation at which point though I hate to admit it when he'd put on the grubbiest pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt I'd feel he was dishonoring God by not giving him his best but God is still working on me to not think about how he's dressed for church and only be thankful he accepted my invitation. Now when I ask him I ask in a manner so he knows how much of a blessing his coming to church would be so he knows that my asking isn't about manipulating him but it's about showing him how I truly am blessed to have him with me while at the same time not getting excited when he agrees to go so he knows that I won't be disappointed if he chooses to not go because Jesus still loves him and I do too. I think what I have a difficult time with is when there is an event or planned activity for the church and he doesn't want to go I have to accept that I have to stay home and miss the fun and excitement that is taking place with my church family and since my family lives between 2,000 to 3,000 miles away my church family is the only family I have near and not being with them enjoying the same fun, food and fellowship at times makes me feel like my husband is taking me away from where I want to be and doing it because he doesn't want to be around a crowd in turn I shouldn't want to be in a crowd but I'm not wired that way, I love to be around people doesn't matter how many; one or one hundred I don't mind crowds but he does so the very thing that makes him uncomfortable makes me feel l'm amongst people who are like me which at times I want to be around more than I want to be with my husband but it's because I want my husband to want to enjoy the same things I do, enjoy being in the company of others like I do so when he wants to stay home and be a "recluse" I want to pull him along and say, Let's go." with hopes that he's be thankful he cames along so at times I do feel I have to pull or coaxe him along so he knows the same joy and receives the same blessings I do being in the company of others especially men in the faith who are eager to admonish him in the faith too.

Warren Baldwin said...

Back home and finally able to really read this. It is so good. You have such wisdom.

As hard as it is for a woman whose husband is not a spiritual leader in the home, pulling and pushing him will generally NOT work. Even men who try to be spiritual leaders have insecurities about it. Do I really know the Bible well enough? Are my prayers any good? Does my wife really respect me?

Put a man on a ball field or cornfield and he is at home (that is a metaphor for sports or work :) Put him church or devotional context and he can feel very out of place. Pushing and pulling won't help.

The verses you used are so right-on. As tough as it may be, continuing to offer submission and respect is going to be what a wife can do the most to encourage him. He has to know that his wife respects him, no matter how immature and inadequate his spiritual leadership may seem at this point, or he will withdraw even more.

Something else that can help A LOT - connecting him with spiritual guys from church who also like football, hamburger cookouts, fishing and hunting, etc. Let him see that guys with similar interests also think it is manly to pray and seek God's favor.

Good article. wb