Friday, November 19, 2010

Surprise Answers

My good friend, Vonnie Taylor, shared something with me and another friend, and I enjoyed it so much I asked if she'd let me share with you all.

Surprise Answers

A young woman that I have known since she was a child came to me and asked for some advice on her marriage about a month ago.  I thought “Well, when I find the woman who has it all figured out, we can both ask her what to do.” However, that wasn’t going to help her with her questions at that moment.  So I let her ask me what she wanted to know.  Some of it was easy to answer, but other things I had to ask her to allow me the time to really dig deep into the Word of God and to seek wiser counsel than myself.  What is to follow is what God led me to give to her.  I am sharing it now because she told me ‘This is something I will need to read over and over again as years go by, just to be sure I am on course.” Maybe this is something some of you can use as well. Here is my letter to her.
 Your big question was “What is a good wife?”.  There could be a thousand answers to this, but it all boils down to one thing- “A Godly wife.”  What are a few of her characteristics?
  1. Love of God.  She must love the Lord first and foremost and her husband must be second only to the Lord.  She must be studying and growing in God’s Word and serving God to the best of her ability. 
  2. A woman of respect.  If a woman cannot respect herself, she cannot respect her husband or anyone else. She cannot expect others to respect her either. She must like the person God is molding her into and be willing to respect the work He is doing. That will lead to self esteem and confidence that the Lord can use in her life. She must conduct herself in a way that her husband can respect her as well. She may be a hard worker but she needs to be an honest one.  She may be smart , but is she using her mind for the Lord? She may be pretty, but is it only physical beauty?
  3. Submission. Yes, we are told to submit to our husbands as we submit to the Lord and that has been taken out of context by many people.  Submission is not servitude, but a loving willingness to allow the husband to lead in the role God has placed him in.  A submissive wife doesn’t walk 2 steps behind her husband, but is standing beside him.  She doesn’t try to show him up and take control.  Instead she knows that all she does is a reflection on him and she wants him to grow strong in his role as leader of the family.  She is the one God gave him to encourage and support. She puts him out front simply by stepping back and letting God lead him instead of her trying to lead.
  4. A servant’s heart.  Wives have to become skilled at multitasking.  There are many demands on a woman today.  By seeking to do whatever God wants her to do, serving her husband and others with a spirit of love, a woman can and will develop a servant’s heart without overburdening herself or being selfish.  That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have some time for herself.  She must take care of her spiritual needs before she can serve.
  5. She must love her husband.  You may think ‘Duh, of course.” But what does loving him mean?  Is it just the physical/ chemical reaction that takes place?  Is it the feeling of love?  No, it includes those things, but loving him is the choice that he is lovable because you chose to love him.  Just as none of can earn or deserve God’s love, your husband can’t earn or deserve your love.  You must be like God and give love unconditionally based on who you are.  God loves us because that is HIS character.  Make your character match His and you will be a Godly wife.

I got these 5 characteristics onto paper after a lot of prayer.  Then I remembered a list of things that Randy and I had to make for each other as part of a retreat we went on a few years ago. We were asked to put down the things that make our spouse ‘perfect’ for us.  Here are his answers.  Some surprised me at that time. I saved it because it was a reminder that I need to always be aware of these things.   I have tried to live up to all of them ever since.  Maybe you can ask your husband to make his own list and then use that to help you know where you can focus in your marriage.
Randys list:
  1. You listen.  When I am talking to you, you listen and don’t often interrupt. When you do interrupt, it is to ask for me to explain something.   It shows me you are interested in what I have to say.
  2. You encourage me.  When I am facing something that is discouraging, you always find the things to say and do to make me see the bigger picture.  You show me God working in my life through the words you say and the things you do.
  3. You help.  You give up your time to help me when I need it.  You don’t complain about taking on some of the load when I can’t carry it all.  I don’t feel weak when that happens. I feel blessed that I have you beside me.  I know we face things together as one.
  4. You show interest in what I like.  When we met you know nothing about cars or tools.  You knew to buy gas and that made your car run.  That was it. Over the years, you have been in the garage, under the car or on a ladder beside me as I explain how something works or why it is done this way.  You learned because you wanted to please me.  You are my ‘little apprentice.’
  5. You don’t hold mistakes over my head.  When I mess up, you don’t say you told me so even though, most of the time, if I had listened to you, I wouldn’t have made the mistake. 
  6. You don’t try to be what I should be.  You aren’t afraid to give me counsel but once I make a decision, you submit to my leadership.  You don’t go around telling me how I should have done it either.
  7. You love me in spite of who I am.  I can’t list all the ways you do this but I know it has its start in what God is doing in you. 

Today is November 19, 2010.  That list was made a number of years ago.  If I had to remember the  exact list I made for Randy way back then, I couldn’t tell you what was on it, but I can say that many of the things that make me “perfect” for him are the same things that make him ‘perfect’ for me. The above letter was mailed a couple weeks ago.

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