Mary: I’ve been married for 20 years now to my husband Brent. I have gone through periods, Nancy, where I have tried to control Brent and tried to be the one setting the spiritual pace in our home and trying to be the one taking control.
I have found that that has come from time to time, and the Lord has corrected me on that because when I have gone outside of the boundaries of the Lord’s will for who I am in my marriage, I have found that it has been counterproductive.
The very things that I was striving for were the things that I was destroying. I was destroying my husband, and I was destroying his character, destroying his ability to be who God wanted him to be in our home and in our family.
But when the Lord corrected me and I was able to take a step back and say, “All right, Lord. We’ll do it Your way. I submit myself in obedience to Your way.” It was just more powerful than anything. The Lord did the work.
Nancy: So practically—now you’ve been married 20 years—there have to be times when you have some sort of insight or conviction or belief about a need in your husband’s life or your family or how the parenting is being done. And you see it before your husband does.
Does this mean you’re not going to say anything? You’re just going to be quiet and wait? How do you engage with your husband? How do you be a helper to him in those areas—it may relate to the spiritual leadership of the family or practical decisions of the family. Do you just lie down and die? How do you live out what it means to be a woman, a godly woman, in that marriage?
Mary: Well, I think my responsibility as a helper, a helpmate, is to be a spiritual antenna sometimes and to address issues such as that. Normally, when I see something that I want to address or that I feel is a concern, I’ll pray about it first. That’s the first step, “Lord, am I right? Am I wrong?” Just bringing it before the Lord first.
Nancy: Let’s not just move too quickly over that step because that’s a huge step.
Mary: That is a huge step.
Nancy: When we bring God into the equation, we’re bringing the power, the supreme ultimate power of the universe and saying not just “Am I right or am I wrong?” but, “Lord, how do You want to deal with this situation?”
Mary: That’s right. And so do I speak now? Do I not speak? Is this an issue that You have revealed to me that I just need to pray about faithfully and consistently, or is this something that I speak about?
I have found that just taking care in that first step is really vital. Then if the Lord gives me freedom to just say yes, I’ll address something with my husband.
I’ll say, “Honey, there’s something on my heart and I have a concern.” I just lay it out because marriages need to be built on honesty. I need to reveal what’s on my heart, and my concerns, but to do so in a manner that is:
- not critical
- not condescending
- not bossy
- not domineering
- not in a way that tears him down but in a way that builds him up
- in a way that gives him the opportunity to say, “Yes, I will move into that space. I will take leadership in this.”
I have found, actually, over the years my husband now respects my opinion so highly that I need to be very cautious because when I say something he listens carefully. And he will evaluate it very seriously.
So I think that’s the fruit of many years of being a godly woman, that the influence I have in his life is so great. It’s a greater influence than had I come barging in with my opinion, my way, and tried to dominate him.As usual, the rest of the transcript and the audio files are available online for this program.