Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Love & Connection…Basic Human Needs

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God created us all with basic needs. We need oxygen to breath. We need nutrition and water to sustain life. We need shelter and clothing. These are all needs, but we shouldn’t forget that one of our basic human needs is for love and connection. God created us to NEED love and to feel connected to other people, both in friendship and also in romantic/intimate love.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18

It wasn’t good for man (or woman for that matter) to be alone. Alone. So many people are feeling alone at this very moment…their hearts aching to feel loved and connected. It’s such a strong longing that it can consume a person. It can steal his joy and leave him wondering how he will persevere through another day without it. God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. We were made for connection.

We were made for romance too…

“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19

Sounds a little racy for the Bible right? God created romance. He created sexual intimacy. He created us to desire that connection. This is a such a strong need that it often leads people to be tempted to sin because of the lack of fulfillment. A husband or wife who is cold to his or her spouse is tempting them to sin. Is that an excuse to sin? Of course not! There’s never an excuse to give in to sin, but there is responsibility there.

“The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

“So they are no longer two but one flesh.” Matthew 19:6

One flesh…in both spirit and body. They are one. God made us to need to be one with someone. He designed us to need to be one in a spiritual and emotional connection. A deep connection…one that is exclusive and evident in their lives. Couples who have this connection and oneness are so in sync with one another that they finish each other’s sentences and anticipate their beloved’s next move. They know each other’s interests, goals, dreams, likes and dislikes. They understand their spouse’s fears, struggles, joys and needs. As they grow and change, they change together and continue to learn about each other.

God also made us to need physical oneness. I mentioned it a few paragraphs ago. Sex. Intimacy. Connecting in a way that, again, is exclusive and vulnerable and a primal part of the human experience. Do you know how difficult it is for most people to live without sexual intimacy? Singles usually struggle immensely in this area, as do married people in lonely and cold marriages. Why struggle? Because humans were designed to need sexual intimacy and oneness, and we ache for it when we don’t have it.

So many marriages are made up of people who are still two separate beings. There are many reasons this happens. Some reasons are due to sin, ignorance of God’s plan, interference from outsiders and a general fading away of love. In these cases, there is every reason to hope for and work towards fixing the problem and connecting with your spouse.

Others have a much more difficult problem. There are many, many couples who married for all the wrong reasons. There are couples who married before they were believers only to find out that they shared none of the same values, passions and goals. There are marriages consisting of one believer and one non-believer.

These problems are not so easy, folks. I think sometimes The Church as whole looks on these issues as being minor or of little consequence. People are told just to “keep their vows” and not worry about the rest. Well, I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t keep vows or that marriages with issues should just be abandoned. I’m not advocating for divorce…not at all. I do think that Christians need to be very careful not to dismiss the heartache, pain and loneliness that people are feeling in their broken marriages. We need to have empathy and compassion. We need to understand that what we are advising is not easy at all…it’s literally denying one’s basic needs in service and obedience to God.

There are few things as destructive and hurtful as a marriage that has no love and connection. It’s devastating for the children. It’s a daily emotional and spiritual and even physical beating for the unhappy and unfulfilled husband and wife. Is there hope? In Christ there’s always hope, but that doesn’t mean the day to day life is any easier. It doesn’t mean the tears shed every night aren’t real. The pain is real. The loneliness is like your heart being trampled and abandoned day by day, and oftentimes no one even knows it’s going on behind closed doors. They suffer alone.

Connection. How can people feel connected if their core values are different? How can they feel loved if sexual intimacy is always withheld? How can marriage be successful if the two people in it are complete opposites and have no understanding of each other? Sometimes they fail. Sometimes there’s divorce. Sometimes bad marriages are so painful that people become physically sick. Sometimes sexual immorality enters in. Sometimes there’s depression and suicide….

…but sometimes there are miracles. Sometimes people find God and change. Sometimes wives read the Word and start to follow the leadership of their husbands. Sometimes husbands learn to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Sometimes love and connection is rekindled, or formed for the first time. Sometimes people changed profoundly by the hand of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit. It does happen.

I very strongly want to encourage my fellow believers to lift up in prayer people in lonely, broken, loveless marriages. We were designed to need love and connection. If we don’t have that connection, there is suffering and pain. It’s not a minor issue. It’s like living without air. Like drowning. It’s a BIG issue.

So stop downplaying it. Stop giving easy answers. Give scripture, yes, but acknowledge that it’s not an easy road. Most of the time one spouse is willing to try but the other isn’t. Many times one won’t even admit there’s a problem. No one is guaranteed a good outcome. There are couples who never had love for one another and maybe never will. Acknowledge that their pain is real before you tell them just to choose to love. Have some compassion.

If you’re reading this and you’re longing for love and connection, just know that you’re not alone and your feelings are valid. You were made to need love and connection. It is a deep and basic need. My prayer for you is that you will be able to withstand the temptation to sin, even in your pain. I pray you are able to find love and connection to the right person, your spouse if you are married, or in a future spouse if single. Praying for all of my lonely and hurting friends tonight that you would feel the comfort of a God who loves you, that you will not fall into despair and that you would remember that your life is important to God and to your loved ones.

Photo credit: Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas) First dance! via photopin (license)

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When There’s Something to Complain About

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We are natural complainers, aren’t we? I mean, there are definitely those people who never seem to have a bad thing to say. They seem always content and at peace in any given circumstance. Nothing bothers them and they walk in serene peace and joy at all times. I’m not one of those people. I wish I was! I definitely know how to complain when I have something going on that’s worth complaining about.

When it comes to marriage, we all know that we tend to get comfortable with one another. We let down our guards. We are more open and real. That’s a beautiful thing. However, sometimes when we are comfortable we also allow ourselves to share whatever it is that’s on our minds at any given time…which can be ugly if what’s on our minds is a load of complaints and grumblings.

It happens so easily and we may not even notice it. Say, for example, Jenny and Jeremy are going through a tough time. Jenny is suffering from health issues and all the doctor bills are causing their budget to break under the pressure. Jenny is struggling with the stress and pain of her situation and she often gets frustrated with how Jeremy handles the various situations that come up, how he responds when she’s in pain and how he doesn’t seem to share her concerns. Her mind is filled with complaints, and why not? She’s going through some horrible trials. It’s natural for her to feel this way, but should she allow every complaint to flow from her lips to her husband’s ears? I think not.

You see, Jeremy and Jenny might handle the stress differently, but my guess is that Jeremy is doing the best he can. He is trying to bear the load. He is trying to help his wife. He feels badly about her health problems. He would do anything to come up with a solution. He may not do everything the way she wants him to, but he is trying. If all he hears from his wife’s mouth is complaint and criticism, it will really wear him down. it will crush him. He will become deflated and defeated. It will weigh heavily on the marriage.

Perhaps Jeremy really isn’t doing things well. Maybe he’s messing it all up and maybe he doesn’t care for his wife as he should. Should Jenny therefore have freedom to pour out her complaints all over her husband in hopes of it changing him? I think not.

Nagging and complaining is never a good way to make positive changes. The Bible warns of the ugly nature of a nagging and contentious wife repeatedly. It’s just not pretty ladies and it makes your husband want to hide under a big rock, or perhaps live on the rooftop instead of in the home with you. If Jenny is wise, she will not complain and nag at her husband to try and change him. She can make her concerns known respectfully and then leave it with God. Prayer is powerful. Nagging is destructive.

Perhaps you think I’m being harsh with Jenny. After all, she’s not well. Shouldn’t we cut her some slack and allow her some complaining? Look, I’m not saying there’s never a time to share concerns, pains, struggles, etc. I’m not saying you shouldn’t share with your husbands. A good man will want to know how his wife is feeling. Remember, we also have friends to help us carry our burden. We have family we can share with. I’m not saying to keep your pain in and let it boil inside.

What I am suggesting is that we not allow our mouths to be the source of constant complaining, grumbling and venting, even if that’s what’s in our heads all of the time. As much as Jenny needs to vent from time to time, Jeremy needs to be encouraged. He needs to hear that his wife appreciates what he’s trying to do for her. The home needs joy to flow through it’s halls. Your children need to hear good words and laughter.

I feel for all of my sisters who are struggling with pain and trials. I am too. I write this, not as a woman who gets it right all the time, but as a sister in the Lord who fails a lot. I fail. I complain. I have times when my mouth is filled with pessimism and criticism and ugliness. I see the pain and frustration it brings my family, and I don’t want to do that to them anymore. I want my mouth to bring words of encouragement and edification, even if every joint hurts and every task is challenging. Lord, help me to complain less and be more grateful!

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

Zam and Angie Engagement – 1 via photopin (license)

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What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

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*** Guest blogger April of Peaceful Wife’s Blog. “I love Jesus Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and desire to honor Him with all that I think, say and do. I love being Greg’s wife and am thrilled to get to live with him each day. I love being mom to our son and daughter and desire to raise and nurture them in the ways and wisdom of God and His Word. I have a huge heart for women and desire to see marriages be vibrant, God-honoring, full of life and blooming with the beauty of God’s design – shining brightly for Christ!” Follow Peaceful Wife on Facebook also.

What is Disrespectful to Husbands?

There is a whole masculine world of respect that I knew nothing about until December of 2008. I had been married for 14.5 years, thinking the whole time that I was the best Christian wife ever. I loved my husband so much, and wanted us to have the best marriage. I didn’t understand why he was so shut down and passive. I would tell him all the things he needed to do to improve himself and how he needed to step up and be the leader God commands him to be. I prayed constantly for God to change Greg.

Then, God showed me what I was missing as a wife.  Well… I was missing a lot of things. But one of the biggest issues was that I had unknowingly been extremely disrespectful to my husband all those 14+ years and I had deeply wounded him. He never said a word about it to me. I had no clue he was hurting. I just thought he was unloving and God needed to change him. I didn’t know that Greg had shut down and unplugged from our marriage and family in direct response to my disrespect and controlling behavior.

I have heard from dozens and dozens of husbands about what they personally feel is respectful and what they feel is disrespectful. I have a LONG list on my blog if you are interested in details. And I have a post called “Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected” that may be helpful for you to diagnose how severe the disrespect issue may be in your marriage.

Here are some general things that feel disrespectful to most husbands, these can be pretty surprising for many wives. Some wives think “all wives do these things” it’s no big deal. But to our men, it IS a big deal. We deeply hurt them when we do these things, and we are not being the godly women Christ commands us to be when we do these things, either:

  • Telling them what to do or how to do it as if they can’t figure it out for themselves (i.e.: how to drive, how to take care of the children, how to pack for vacation, how to do their jobs at work).
  • Treating them like children.
  • Telling other people that they are our children.
  • Making fun of them or humiliating them by pointing out their failures or weaknesses anywhere, but especially in front of other people.
  • Criticizing them.
  • Not showing appreciation for what they do for us, having an “entitlement” attitude and taking them for granted.
  • Mocking them.
  • Making demands.
  • Using an “an angry mama” tone of voice.
  • Rolling our eyes.
  • Giving them  “the look” like we think they are “idiots.”
  • Sighing like our husbands are “stupid.”
  • Not trusting them. (one caveat here, if trust has been broken, then you would want to show you WANT to rebuild trust, that you want to have trust again, that all hope is not lost.)
  • Withholding sex or demanding sex.
  • Acting like their thoughts, ideas, opinions and feelings are not important.
  • Thinking we are “always right” and they are “always wrong.”
  • Usurping their God-given position as leader in the marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33, I Corinthians 11:3, I Timothy 3:5, Titus 2:3-5).
  • Trying to force them to have a deep conversation when they are not mentally prepared yet (springing a “big talk” on them without warning). Many men need a few days to prepare and decide how they think and what they feel. That is not wrong. It is just different.
  • Acting like the things that matter to them are silly or unimportant.
  • Trying to force them to “submit” to us.
  • Dictating to them.
  • Calling them names.
  • Implying they are not capable sexually, financially or in any way.
  • Implying they are failures.
  • Assuming the worst about them instead of the best.
  • Comparing them to other men and saying they fall short.
  • Judging their spirituality.
  • Condemning them.
  • Showing contempt for who they are.
  • Not accepting them.
  • Being mean and hateful to them.
  • Complaining.
  • Arguing.
  • Not smiling at them, being unhappy all the time – that makes them feel like failures as men.
  • Holding them responsible for our happiness instead of finding all of our contentment in Christ and being responsible for our own spiritual growth and our own emotions.
  • Saying we want them to lead and then refusing to follow them.
  • Making them idols in our hearts, expecting them to be Christ to us – which is impossible for any human being to do for us.
  • Refusing to cooperate with them, not being on their team.
  • Gossiping and bashing them to our friends, family and coworkers.
  • Not believing them when they say they feel disrespected.
  • Telling them they must “earn our respect.”
  • Assuming we are more spiritually mature or morally superior to them.
  • Hurtful sarcasm.
  • Threatening to leave/divorce.
  • Undermining them as fathers.
  • Assuming they have no feelings or emotions just because they do not express themselves the same way we do.
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Won Without the Word

“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.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

This verse says it all. What precious words of wisdom! Wives, be in submission to your own husbands. If they do not obey the word, they may be won over without the word by the chaste conversations of their wives. Now this is an interesting verse indeed and one that is sometimes looked at in the wrong way. It says “if any obey not the word.” The “word” is the Greek word “logos” which can mean just a portion of speech, but in most cases refers to the holy Word of God, or the precepts given to man by God. It is also the same word that is used as another name for Jesus Christ in John 1 when it says, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So, the scripture is describing a husband who is not obeying God’s Word and certainly not obeying Jesus Christ.

Now look at the second part of that sentence. It says he may “without the word be won.” Many people look at this passage and think it is saying the husband may be won without his wife saying anything, meaning without her nagging or instruction and so forth. Interestingly this is also the word “logos” and notice it says “THE word” not “A word”. Therefore according to context it makes sense that the scripture is saying the husband may be won over without the Word of God being constantly presented to him, simply by the conversation of his wife. Conversation doesn’t just mean speech either. It is the Greek word “anastrophē” which means, “manner of life, conduct, and behavior.” Husbands can be won over by the example their wives show in their own lives. What manner of behavior or conduct is that? Chaste and reverent behavior is what does the trick. A godly wife can win her husband to the Lord by her pure, good and honorable behavior and by the reverence she shows her husband as she submits to God’s plan for her life. Now that is incredible.

See the picture here ladies? If you husband is in sin, it is not fruitful for you to be preaching at him day and night, usurping spiritual authority over him. Rather, as you honor him, according to God’s Word, and live your life in a way that pleases the Lord, your husband may be won over. This is true also if your husband is a godly man in most respects but has an area of struggle with sin. Do not nag him or criticize him. Pray for him and continue to be the wife God wants you to be, remembering that your submission and respect unto your husband is not based on his love for you or his submission to God. If you refuse to submit it is God whom you are sinning against. If your husband refuses to go with you to church, do not lose heart. As he observes God’s love and truth in your life, he will see the Word being lived out in you. Ask the Lord to use you in this way to minister to your husband.

If your husband asks you to sin, respectfully refuse, explaining why you cannot comply. Pray for him and continue to walk in submission and reverence in all other areas. If your husband is in sin himself, share your concerns with him once in respect and love, if he will listen, and then leave it to the Lord. Pray fervently and be a good example in your own daily conduct. Do not treat him with contempt or look down at him. You should honor him because God says to, not because you feel he has or has not earned it. Just remember that God never wants us to sin under any circumstances, so this is the one area where you must not submit to any other authority.

Your husband is your leader. He is the one whom God desires you to follow. This is a crucial point. God desires you to follow and submit to your husband. By serving your man, you are serving your God. Where he goes, you should follow. His dreams must be your dreams. He is your primary ministry. You are his help-meet, by his side and close to his heart. One flesh blessed by the Lord of all Creation. Being your husband’s helper is so beautiful. Embrace it, ladies. Discover the peace and satisfaction that comes with knowing that you are in the center of God’s will for you, and experience the joys of having a heaven-blessed marriage. Meditate on this passage from the book of Ruth. In it, Ruth is speaking to her mother-in-law, but this is a lovely commitment that a wife can also make to her own husband.

“But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go. And wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.’” Ruth 1:16-17

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When Your Husband is in Sin

No doubt there are going to be times when your husband is in sin. We all sin and we are married to sinners. The Word says if we claim to have no sin we make ourselves liars, which is a sin! So dear, imperfect wife, your imperfect husband will most assuredly sin from time to time. If he is not a Christian, then he will be often in sin and without remorse or conviction, and you need to know how to deal with that.

First of all, it is important that you never attempt to take over the spiritual leadership of the household, even if your husband is not walking right with the Lord. He is still head of the house, and you must still be in submission. If he is in sin, and is open to it, share with him respectfully and lovingly where he may be in sin. Then leave the matter alone and commit it to the Lord in prayer. Do not nag him or continue to push the subject. Pray fervently and allow God to do His work in your husband’s heart. Remember, if your husband is not saved he will not have the conviction of the Holy Spirit, therefore attacking individual sins is only dealing with the symptoms of the real illness. He needs to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, so make that the top of your prayer list for however long it takes. And have hope sister! God hears the prayers of a wife who is in obedience.

“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.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

This verse says it all. What precious words of wisdom! Wives, be in submission to your own husbands. If they do not obey the word, they may be won over without the word by the chaste conversations of their wives. Now this is an interesting verse indeed and one that is sometimes looked at in the wrong way. It says “if any obey not the word.” The “word” is the Greek word “logos” which can mean just a portion of speech, but in most cases refers to the holy Word of God, or the precepts given to man by God. It is also the same word that is used as another name for Jesus Christ in John 1 when it says, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So, the scripture is describing a husband who is not obeying God’s Word and certainly not obeying Jesus Christ.

Now look at the second part of that sentence. It says he may “without the word be won.” Many people look at this passage and think it is saying the husband may be won without his wife saying anything, meaning without her nagging or instruction and so forth. Interestingly this is also the word “logos” and notice it says “THE word” not “A word”. Therefore according to context it makes sense that the scripture is saying the husband may be won over without the Word of God being constantly presented to him, simply by the conversation of his wife. Conversation doesn’t just mean speech either. It is the Greek word “anastrophē” which means, “manner of life, conduct, and behavior.” Husbands can be won over by the example their wives show in their own lives. What manner of behavior or conduct is that? Chaste and reverent behavior is what does the trick. A godly wife can win her husband to the Lord by her pure, good and honorable behavior and by the reverence she shows her husband as she submits to God’s plan for her life. Now that is incredible.

See the picture here ladies? If you husband is in sin, it is not fruitful for you to be preaching at him day and night, usurping spiritual authority over him. Rather, as you honor him, according to God’s Word, and live your life in a way that pleases the Lord, your husband may be won over. This is true also if your husband is a godly man in most respects but has an area of struggle with sin. Do not nag him or criticize him. Pray for him and continue to be the wife God wants you to be, remembering that your submission and respect unto your husband is not based on his love for you or his submission to God. If you refuse to submit it is God whom you are sinning against. If your husband refuses to go with you to church, do not lose heart. As he observes God’s love and truth in your life, he will see the Word being lived out in you. Ask the Lord to use you in this way to minister to your husband.

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Love Your Husband

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

Aged women should instruct the younger women to love their husbands. Now this can seem like a funny statement to some women, especially to younger wives and newlyweds. It seems to be a silly thing to advise someone, for surely a young wife loves her husband automatically and without hesitation at all times. That’s why she married him, right? It’s certainly true that most people truly love each other when they get married. They have a passion for one another and that blissful feeling that they will live happily ever after. How many women go into a marriage knowing it’s going to be a failure? Even early on in our marriages, or before the wedding itself, we must study the Word and pray about why God would include in this verse that older women should teach younger women to love their husbands. The Lord wouldn’t have included it if it were not something we needed to know. It’s important we understand what the word “love” really means and how loving our husbands could mean something different to them than it does to us.

The first thing to consider is the culture at the time that this scripture was written. People during this period had a far different idea of love then we do today, and that is due in part to the typical nature of arranged marriages. Today most people choose their own spouses, and therefore will only marry someone they love emotionally. In the days of the early church, women and men were matched for marriage by parents and for all manner of reasons. It was tradition, and in most cases it worked out just fine. Many wives at the time this passage was being written would have been placed into an arranged marriage, and therefore might not have feelings of love for their husbands right from the start. It was not unusual for men and women to be betrothed before they even met. These wives did not start loving their husbands until after their marriage began. They therefore were instructed by older women to choose to love their husbands, and often the feelings of love would develop later in the marriage over time.

This concept reminds me of one of my favorite books by author Janette Oak, “Love Comes Softly.” In this book a woman must marry a complete stranger out of sheer necessity. He is respectful and kind to her, and her affections begin to grow towards him slowly but surely over time. I highly suggest reading this book or watching the movie version. It will certainly make you laugh and cry! As this book so rightly presents, love sometimes comes after time, as respect for a person grows and develops into deeper feelings. Ultimately, in these cases, a woman chooses to love by being the wife God has called her to be, regardless of her immediate emotions and feelings.

Love is not simply a feeling. It is also a choice. Every woman of this generation can agree that love in the early stages of courtship and marriage is much different than in the later years. It starts out as an exciting burst of emotion that can hardly be contained. As time goes by, love is still there, but it changes and develops into even deeper forms of love, respect and honor of one another. Sometimes women in their super-emotional states will feel confused by this change and will think love has faded or gone. Or perhaps the husband begins to behave differently than he did the beginning. Husband and wife are becoming more comfortable with one another and less apt to try to impress each other. Romance just doesn’t have that flare it used to. Perhaps problems have developed in the marriage, and your husband is simply not acting in a loving way, which makes your feelings of love for him diminish. Perhaps it is you who are not living up to your commitments within the union.

There are many reasons the feelings of love change in marriage. Couples often joke that after the first couple years their sex life dwindles, as if that’s the norm in all marriages today. In a lot of homes, I’m sure it is the case. No matter what the cause or symptoms for these changing emotions, women must remember that love is also a choice. We can choose to love and respect our husbands regardless of how we feel at the moment, or whether or not he deserves our love. Just as we can choose to have a good attitude and to take our bad thoughts captive, we can choose to love in deed and truth with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what the aged women are trying to teach the younger women and it is an important message in a world where people are filing for divorce because they simply “fell out of love.” You can fall out of a boat but you choose to stop loving someone.

According to Titus 2, God wants wives to love their husbands whether they deserve it or not. This commandment is between us ladies and God. He is the one instructing us to love our husbands, and if we disobey, it is the Lord we are turning our backs on. If we obey, it is the Lord who sees and will be honored by our obedience to love. Choose God’s way ladies. Love your husbands whether they deserve it or not. Keep on loving them when times are hard, and never withhold your love from your man.

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Submitting to My Husband

 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24

If you are a Christian woman the idea of submitting unto your husband’s leadership shouldn’t be too difficult a task for you. You should already be used to submitting unto the leadership of the Lord God and His Word. When we become believers we no longer belong to ourselves, but to Jesus. We commit ourselves to putting His plan for us ahead of our own plans. We ask that His will be done and we commit to submitting to Him in all things. Well, as we read in Ephesians, part of submitting to God’s will is submitting to our own husbands.

The Greek word for “submit” used in verse 22 is the word “hypotassō” which means, “to arrange under, to subordinate, to subject one’s self, to obey, to submit to one’s control, and to yield to one’s admonition or advice.” I love this word “submit.” Before God changed by heart, I feared the word. The word held only bad connotations for me.

The idea of being in submission was akin to being in slavery to some degree. The difference, however, between slavery and submission is monumental. Slaves are forced to be under another person’s control and have no control over their own lives. Submission occurs when someone places themselves under the leadership of another person voluntarily, out of their own free will. When we became Christians we put ourselves under the power of Jesus Christ and submitted our own will to Him. We surrendered control. When Jesus went to the cross, He too surrendered control and willingly submitted to the will of the Father, despite the horrible things He had to endure. What a beautiful act of love! How beautiful it is for wives to submit themselves unto their own husbands just as Jesus submitted Himself even unto the cross!

God commands wives to submit to their own husbands. Not only that, but we are to do it as unto the Lord. In the same way we submit ourselves to God’s authority, so ought we to submit ourselves to our husband’s authority. Unless our husband asks us to do something that is in violation to God’s Word, we should obey him and give him the reigns to direct the marriage and the household as the Lord leads him. The husband should have the final say and make the ultimate decision when a mutual agreement cannot be achieved. He has the right to veto any suggestions and to lead the household as he sees fit in areas of spiritual growth, finances, house rules, the raising and disciplining of children, where to live and how the household should be run. These are not merely my opinions, but the truth straight from God’s own Word.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. It is a good and loving thing for a husband to happily hear the suggestions, advice and opinions of his wife. Usually, if he is truly a good-willed Christian man, he will want to hear what his wife thinks and will care about how she feels. My husband loves to hear my outlook, as long as it is given in a respectful way and without nagging. He almost always asks my opinion when it comes to decision making and often will go with my preference if he doesn’t have a strong conviction either way. At the end of the day, he knows I will support him in his decision and be by his side as his helper whether I agree or not.

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Managing the Home

“So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” 1 Timothy 5:14

If our husbands are the leaders of the home, then we certainly are the general managers, as this scripture implies. Wives, we are to manage our households to the best of our ability. It is an important part of our calling. We are given the wonderful job of making sure the home is flowing smoothly, kept up and is a place of renewing and refreshing for our families.

Men are funny, aren’t they? I laugh to myself as I think about my sweet husband and how little he knows about what all I do to keep our home running smoothly. He is out during the day, winning the bread and working hard, and he has no clue as to how much work it is to keep the home clean, the laundry done, food stocked in the kitchen, our daughter bathed and dressed and healthy, bills paid (hopefully!) and then to have dinner ready when he gets home from work.

My husband is the type of man who is always willing to lend a hand around the house, which is great. I think it’s so funny when he does something around the house and then is so excited to tell me all about the task that he accomplished. He may, for example, come in and inform me that he emptied the rubbish bin in the bathroom. Translating from my husband’s Scottish brogue to American English that would mean he emptied the trash can. He is just ever-so excited to tell me what he has done and remind me that he did it because he loves me! Bless his heart!

I giggle because I think it’s both sweet and such a typical man maneuver. I think many people miscalculate the massive amount of work it is to manage a home and to do it right. This is not at all to complain. On the contrary I think we as wives should feel blessed that God has counted us worthy and able to fulfill such a calling. We are the managers of our homes and all that it entails. We can take those responsibilities and whine about how hard it is, or strive to be the best home keepers we can be. I would rather the latter.

There’s no one way to keep a home. Some wives like to keep lists, checkpoints and very organized routines. Others enjoy a more casual approach. I know a friend who has a housework weekly and monthly calendar for herself. She basically organizes the week’s tasks into daily chores, making sure to accomplish everything without overloading one particular day. It works for her and I admire her organization. The trick is to find something that works for you and stick with it. I motivate myself to work hard during the week so that I can relax with my husband more on the weekends. He appreciates that too.

Another encouragement is to try not to let your housework get too tedious or serious. Put on some worship music and have fun while you’re doing your chores. Get the kids involved. It’s a great opportunity to teach them and develop these skills in their lives. I know I want my daughter to grow up knowing how to keep a tidy house and cook for her family someday. These are as important to her life as learning mathematics and science in my opinion. I want to prepare her to be a wife and a mother, in addition to whatever else the Lord does in her life.

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Celebrating our Anniversary

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…” Songs 2:16

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These are the very words I had etched into my husband’s wedding band seven years ago. Today we celebrate our wedding anniversary and I continue to be in awe of what God has done in our lives. If I were to tell you the seven years have been easy and carefree, I’d be fibbing. We have had our share of trials and struggles. We didn’t do everything right along the way, or even when we first began. We had been living for ourselves and not for Jesus Christ. Praising the Lord that He had mercy on us and in His abundant grace pulled us from the miry clay and set our feet upon the Rock! God has changed us radically and the closer we draw to Him, the nearer we are to each other.

Anniversaries are such a wonderful occasion to celebrate. It used to be in medieval times that people only celebrated the big ones, such as 25th and 50th. As time went on people started celebrating on the 1st, 10th, 20th and so forth. Now most people celebrate every year, which is great. William and I went a step further. We actually had two weddings! One was on a Tuesday morning in a small church with only a handful in attendance. We had to get legally married to start the immigration paperwork for me to move to Scotland with my very Scottish husband! At our first wedding, I wore a nice pair of dress pants and my husband wore a kilt! hehe

We had a bigger wedding about four months later. We were able to write our own vows, celebrate with friends and family, and this time all the men in the wedding wore kilts! With two anniversaries we started to debate which one we should celebrate. Finally it his us…why not celebrate them both?! Of course! We love to celebrate us! My husband remembers both anniversaries faithfully and he also remembers the anniversary of the day he proposed! Yay William!

I think anniversaries are a great way to focus in every year (or twice a year for us) on the love you share and how far God has brought you. We are not perfect. Our marriage isn’t perfect. If we didn’t have Christ in the center of it I doubt we would have made it this far. We are both wretched, selfish sinners whom have experienced the grace of God in a real way.

Listen, God wants to give us all beautiful marriages. If we are willing to submit to His ways, His Word and His plan for marriage, He can do miraculous things in our lives together. I am so grateful that God has worked in our marriage and continues to work, helping us to love one another with His kind of agape love instead of the world’s “what-can-you-do-for-me” kind of love.

Happy Anniversary my beloved husband! I am yours and you are mine!

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Kisses Better Than Wine

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” Song of Songs 1:2

Let him kiss me…love is better than wine. Very romantic words here in this poetic passage of scripture. There are a lot of people who would be shocked to know that the Bible had such romantic language in parts. I think a lot of unbelievers wrongfully assume that Christians must not be very sensual or into romance as the world because we see pre-marital sex, adultery and pornography as sins that we refrain from. Their big mistake is thinking that the most fun forms of sexuality come hand in hand with perversion, immorality and self-destructive lusts of the flesh. I would argue that the most beautiful, free, satisfying and completely blissful sexual experiences are those had within the covenant of marriage, between a husband and a wife who know that their God is pleased with their union.

Let him kiss me… There is much to be said for a kiss and there are various forms of kissing too. 1 Corinthians 16:20 speaks of a “holy kiss” and says, “All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.” So this is not a romantic kiss but one that is brotherly or sisterly in nature. Today most people shy away from friendly, cheek-kissing and that’s fine. Today so much of what once was good and holy is now perverted, which has ruined it for the rest of us.

Throughout scripture we see father’s kissing their sons. We see friends kissing each other as a sign of allegiance. We have women kissing the feet of Jesus as a form of worship and adoration. We also see the kiss of betrayal from Judas in the garden. So kissing can mean many things and have many purposes, but  this kiss in the Song of Songs is most definitely a romantic, firework kind of a kiss between a man and a woman very much in love.

Let him kiss me…I love how she says that. She is encouraging the kisses from her man. She wants his closeness and affections because his love is better than sweet tasting wine to her. Ladies, a kiss can go a long way with our husbands. Sometimes, at the end of a long day, when the kids have been running around like lunatics, the house is still a mess after hours of cleaning, and dinner is overcooked and under-appreciated, the last thing on our minds is giving our husband kisses and affection. The funny thing is that a kiss can be so redeeming, so needful and so healing on these days. It fills up our hearts and reminds us we are loved. We may have failed at everything else that day, but we can sure make that kiss count!

So let us be abundant in the affections we show our husbands. Let him kiss me for his love is better than wine, chocolate, Staburcks…yes even Starbucks!

 

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