I hope you read my last post about owning the power that is only found in submission. I pray that it helped clarify the biblical meaning of the word so that we can abandon the negative connotation the secular world has put on it. It is through not being responsible for everything at the top that allows women to fully be who we were created to be. Now, I would like to expand on those thoughts a little by diving into a woman’s role as the heart of the marriage and family.
Proverbs 4:23 instructs us all to, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. This instruction is a command for everyone out there breathing and it is there because every individual’s heart is so important to God. On an individual level every person is supposed to protect his or her heart from ungodly influences and tend to it much like you care for a garden. Feed it nutrients to keep it strong, like daily time reading the word of God as well as prayer. Also, we should water it with love and kindness to ourselves and others to keep it soft and moldable.
Since the brain (husband) is the control center of the body (marriage/family), the enemy likes to lie and make you think you’re missing out on something better because you are “just the heart”. (It is the same strategy satan used against Eve in the Garden of Eden. He keeps using those lies because it keeps working.)
However, the heart is where your creativity and passion is born. The heart drives us to take action when the brain seems a bit anxious and unsure. The heart is what draws people to you. John Eldredge wrote this about the heart in his book “Waking the Dead”: “God knows that our heart is core to who we are. It is the source of all creativity, courage, and conviction. It is the fountainhead of our faith, our hope, and, of course, our love. This ‘wellspring of life’ within us is the very essence of our existence, the center of our being.”
Wow. When you look at your role as wife that way, it is clearly, crucially important for defining the very identity of your marriage, isn’t it? For example, Bob’s wife may be an unhappy woman who wears the pants in the family and his friends feel pity for him and the way she constantly emasculates him. Meanwhile, Rob’s wife is supportive, biblically submissive, and his friends envy him. One of those couples will be delightful to hang out with and the other brings with them a tension that fills the air. Notice, I didn’t have to tell you which was which because you already know.
I’m also not saying that your husband’s choices and actions are your responsibility. That is a very unhealthy way to view your role and will lead you to try to control him. I am saying that you are a very important piece to the success of his life just as he is to yours. With your encouragement, he will find courage he didn’t know he had. With your support, he will be more likely to take risky steps towards greatness. In the same way, if you only nag and complain about the things he does poorly or doesn’t do, his own heart will plummet. If you are always disappointed, the feelings in your heart will drag down the entire family. Girlfriend, you are the heart and everything your marriage and family can become flows through you.
I am a divorced woman. So obviously, what I am saying is not a guarantee to anyone. Divorce happens because we live in a sinful world and marry people who are not perfect. The moment one partner takes their focus off of Jesus, the door is opened for the enemy to destroy your union. But I will tell you this, for all the years that I fought for my marriage, there was still a marriage to fight for. It wasn’t until my heart grew tired and, honestly, I got tired of fighting alone to keep my marriage in tact that our divorce happened. I must also confess that I sinfully allowed myself be to unequally yoked, did not fully understand how to maintain proper boundaries with my spouse, and, ultimately, God would not restore a marriage that He wasn’t fully invited into. God allows us to have free will and He uses our choices (right and wrong) for our good. What a wonderful God we serve, right?
In the same way that we like to think of our role as wife in regards to the scripture in Proverbs (4:23), we must also honestly evaluate ourselves to make sure that we are making ourselves worth fighting for, worth guarding and protecting. Your husband is very likely not the best communicator with words when it comes to his feelings. Brains and hearts communicate very differently. Assuming he loves you, he also will not want to hurt you. But, sister, believe me when I say that I’m sure there are things he wishes you’d do differently, better, or do at all. Maybe he wants more sex or more encouraging words from you. If you don’t know his love language (www.5lovelanguages.com), you better find out and learn how to speak it. When he starts behaving differently after an obvious change in his life (laid off from work, friend walks out of his life, family member passes away, etc), give him the same grace and love that you would want when you’re walking in those shoes. Don’t stop being his best friend and his lover. Yes, your kids need you and your job is tiring but remember how swoon-worthy he was when you dated him and married him. That guy is still in there and he still wants the woman he fell in love with. He might be feeling tired and overwhelmed too and he’s not going to articulate his feelings as clearly with words as your best gal pal would. If you think he’s changed, take a look in the mirror. I bet you have too and it’s going to take digging yourself out of the stress gutter and reminding him why you fell for him and vice versa. He needs you.
Think about the worst breakup you ever had where your head knew it was for the best but your heart stubbornly held on for weeks or months causing tears that you thought might never end. That’s the power of the heart. And it is this kind of power that requires, ” Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:21-22 NIV The heart can be all-consuming and that can be a good thing with a few parameters or a bad one when left in complete power without logical reasoning. Your reaction to your husband, in good times, bad times and all those in between) has the power to draw you closer as a couple or push him far away and potentially towards divorce.
Ladies, use your power wisely.