The Wifey Wednesday meme will return next week when Sheila at To Love Honor and Vacuum returns from vacation. Meanwhile, I am taking the opportunity to explain why I write to wives and not husbands...
I answered the "Why do you only talk to women? Men are half the problem!" question officially over at To Love Honor and Vacuum in the comments section of her Am I Too Hard on Women? post...
Like you, I write to women. Like you, I expect each person in a marriage to work equally hard at making the marriage work, but I write to women. Sure Ephesians 5:22 is hard. It’s hard to submit. In an ideal world we could do it and not worry about it. We have to work with our limitations and our husband’s limitations and work out how that is going to look in the very real world we live in.
But you know what I know? I’m glad I’m a woman! Ephesians 5:22 may be hard to work toward but Ephesians 5:25 is even harder. Biblically our husbands are called to lay down their very lives for us in love and service. I don’t know how to even approach that one, so I don’t write to men.
I don't see a whole lot of that manly type of sacrificial love going on in the Christian world, honestly. I see it here and there and it stands out like a jewel. My brother-in-law Brent, my own husband Andrew, and my neighbor's husband Timothy lay themselves down for their families like Christs, but I don't personally know many other real men: the kind of man who takes the hits from the world for his bride and children, instead of passively or selfishly making them sacrifice to ease his burdens. From what I can see around me, it is hard work to make a marriage into the reflection of God's love that marriage is meant to be. Sure, women have to work very hard to fulfill their role as the heart of the home, but in all honesty, men have the tougher job to attain the level of Christian Husband. Women and children suffer more when he fails in his duties, but the hardest job is his. Dying is harder than submitting. Period.
I think the temptations are greater for men, the pitfalls are deeper, the ways to fail are subtler. A man can look and feel the part of the loving, Christian husband and yet live as if his wife were his personal drudge. In other words, he puts her in the sacrificial role he is called to fulfill. That always looks ugly. When a husband sacrifices like a man for his family, it is exquisite and manly. When a wife does so at a husband's demand, it is a scandal. This is the little bit of truth behind the stereotype of the Christian Wife as Doormat that the secular world criticizes us with. It is this that they are pointing to when they say, "I want no part of that!"
But like I said in the comments section, I don't know how to fix men. It's not as if you can nag them good. What I do, what I have done, and what has worked for 2,000+ years, is to call women to become the jewel of love, the precious gift from God, that inspires better things from her man. What works to transform yourself is what works to transform a spouse: prayer, love, generosity, service. That's what I know.
For you men, you'll have to look somewhere else for the specifics. Here's a good place to start...
Five words jumped out of the sermon today – “The tyranny of the moment.” Does “the moment” ever cause you to do stupid things in your marriage?
- You are so caught up in whatever you are doing that you are rude to your bride either in word or deed.
- You are so focused on your immediate goal you don’t listen to her.
- You are so ready for sleep you fail to give her the ten minutes of talking and cuddling that would make such a big difference to her.
- You are so desirous of sex that you don’t take the time to warm up first her mind, and then her body.
- You are so upset at being interrupted you don’t even hear what she said.
- You are so desperate to get ahead of the bozo that cut you off in traffic, that you terrify your wife with your driving.
The term “tyranny of the moment” is very appropriate as we do give in to the moment. We want what we want when we want it, and we want to deal with what we are focused on to the exclusion of everything else. It’s easy to get such a narrow focus on now that we do things that make a mess of later; or, we fail to do things that could make later much better.