God is loving, gentle, and patient. But when gentle and patient don’t seem to get through to us in a particular area, He reserves the right to jolt us—to wake us up and shake us up—so that we can finally see what He’s been trying to show us.
The Setup God Used to Get My Attention
Several years ago, I got to know a Christian gentleman through online communications and found that I had a good bit in common with him. We shared mutual interests and perspectives, some of which were fairly unique to us. We just seemed to get each other, and it came at a time when we both felt like very few others understood us.
However, as time went on and we had more interactions, it became clear that this friend saw himself as the more senior person in our relationship. Whenever we spoke on spiritual matters, I always enjoyed hearing what he had to say. But naturally, I wanted to add my own thoughts and reflections to the discussion.
He was very intelligent, but I felt like I had plenty to offer as well. The more time went on, the more I noticed that he seemed to take a stance toward me that said, “You can’t tell me anything I don’t already know.” He never explicitly said that, of course. It was just his reactions that communicated this mindset to me.
At one point, the issue finally became severe enough that I felt I had to say something. I tried to lovingly and gently explain the problem with a very thoughtful email. I even tried to make it clear that if something didn’t change in the way this person was viewing and treating me, I didn’t feel like I could continue communicating with him.
I was vulnerable with this Christian brother.
Men don’t do this kind of thing very often, but I told him that I was feeling very devalued and disrespected. The response? I don’t recall the exact words that were used, but I remember what I got out of it: “I’m sorry you’re having some kind of problem, but I haven’t done a thing wrong. I have been completely flawless in all of my interactions with you.”
This hurt me deeply.
I realized that I must have really looked up to this person and valued his opinion of me. Otherwise, I would have written him off and moved on. I remember getting on my face in front of the Lord and saying, “Lord, this hurts. I don’t understand why this person is treating me this way. Can you please deal with him about it?”
Personal Pain Leads to Breakthrough
As soon as I said this, I felt the Lord gently but clearly responding, “How about if you stop treating your wife this way?” A mix of memories that can only be described as divine revelation came flooding into my mind. Immediately, I recalled several conversations with my wife in which she had tried to lovingly, gently—and sometimes desperately—tell me that she felt like I didn’t value her insights and opinions.
I remembered having responded to her by explaining that I had studied the Bible extensively, spent hours in prayer, and engaged in painstakingly deep reflection before establishing my views. Since I felt that I had more experience and had put more effort into forming my opinions, that meant she couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I had a massive spiritual blind spot, and though God had tried to show me in various ways, I had to experience for myself the kind of pain it was causing.
I repented immediately and begged God for the grace to never do this to her again.
Blessing Comes After Repentance
Since that time, I can gladly report that I love listening to my wife. I am not perfect. I still get in a hurry at times, and sort of drift back to thinking my ideas are wonderful and sound before I’ve even asked for her input. But in general, I’ve learned to avoid doing that.
I often ask my wife to lead our devotions and prayers, and I also ask for her advice daily. I value her insight, her views, and the divine revelation, wisdom, and guidance that God gives to her and only her. This has resulted in a much more collaborative, cohesive, and unified spirit in our home.
Even though I am the senior leader in our home, she is also a leader. She is of equal worth and deserves complete respect and dignity. We have different roles, but no one is more important, valuable, or useful than anyone else. In fact, I try my best to avoid making any significant decisions without her, or to take any action if she doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
It can be very challenging at times, because she thinks very differently than I do. She arrives at decisions through different methods. But that is precisely what makes her such a treasure in my life.
God gives me divine guidance through my wife. Since she is designed by God to be my helpmate, that means it’s guidance which I cannot get from any other source.
That makes her incredibly valuable to me.
How Well Are You Valuing Your Wife?
Here are a few major keys for husbands to keep in mind.
Do you listen and consider your wife’s views, even when she disagrees with you? What about when her decision-making process feels foreign to you? Do you have a tendency to brush off her concerns?
Do you ultimately move ahead with decisions even when your wife feels that it’s not a good idea, or maybe not the right time?
I’ve done that too, and I always end up regretting it. It can be quite humiliating. I came into adulthood and into our marriage with a very independent spirit, and here is the big key that I didn’t get for a long time:
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’” – Genesis 2:18 (NLT)
A helper would not actually be much help if they always thought the exact same way as you. At the same time, there would be no benefit to any partnership if one partner did not feel free to share their views without being belittled, criticized, or treated with contempt.
Don’t wait until God gives you a jolt to wake you up to this issue. Do you want to fall flat on your face in humiliation? Of course not. It will be a lot less painful for you if you start now viewing and treating her with more dignity, respect, and value.
And your wife will be very grateful.
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