Friday, June 22, 2007

Defining Biblical Marriage

Christine over at Fruit in Season hosts an awesome Monday meme called Marriage Monday that I have yet to actually participate. I find Monday a difficult day to blog for some reason. Right now she is leading a 30 day challenge to honor our husbands. Again, awesome idea and I'm praying along with everyone but not participating. (I've been on a 6 month challenge to respect my husband and the results have been amazing. But I haven't felt comfortable blogging much about it since German is so private. Maybe someday.) Anyway, a couple of weeks back, Marriage Monday was about traditional or comtemporary marriage, what is a biblical marriage, etc. And my wheels have been spinning. I would definitely call my marriage traditional (sahm while husband works) and I would pray that it is a Biblical marriage, but I hadn't really been able to articulate what that meant since it really is my only framework for looking at marriage.

Then, Monday happened. And I was in my quilt group which is made up of 15 ladies, about half attend church and half have no church or God interest at all. The conversation was enlightening and I found my difference between a non-Biblical traditional marriage and a Biblical traditional marriage. Pretty much everyone in the room would say their marriage was traditional. In the group there are 5 expats including myself. The other 4 are preparing to return to the US. Their husbands are all looking for their next assignment and a few have been to interviews and check out potential new homes. Here was the discussion:
S: We really don't have a clue where will end up.
G: Well we aren't sure either. Place I is definitely a no, but Place H, Place S or Place C are still possibilities.
S: I'd never go to Place H.
G: We actually liked it. I don't care where we go as long as hubby is happy.
S: I want him to be happy too, but we wouldn't be happy there.
G: What if that is where the only job is?
S: Then he can be happy there without me because I'm going to Place S.

I wasn't sure how to even respond. I have definitely had input into every place that we have moved (i.e. I've said what I like and what I haven't liked) but I've never said "I'll be in x". I don't make that decision, German does. I don't have an equal vote. And I certainly don't have veto power. It is his career, and he gets to make that decision. But I realized that for me it goes deeper than that (and this is how I'd define a Biblical marriage): German will be held accountable for how he led this family and cared for this family before God, therefore he gets to make those decisions. Biblically the husband is given the leadership role and will be judged accordingly. I will be held accountable for how I followed German's lead and served God with the talents He has given me. Part of my job is to trust that German is following God's lead and as long as where he is leading is not against God's word I'm to go. (Although I have told German and God that if the call is ever to the Middle East, Someone is going to have to write it on the wall so I'm sure.) For me a Biblical marriage is each person fulfilling the role of husband and wife as laid out in Scripture. I find that incredibly freeing, not limiting. I am content to follow where he leads, and spend my energy doing the things I am called to do (like prepare the girls for whatever is next, teach them consistently, encourage and support German, etc). I am so thankful I am not like my friend "S" who has already decided where the job cannot take her. I wonder what blessings she may have missed, totally unaware. I don't want to be a stopper to the blessings God wants to pour out.

Last year when German decided to resign his job before we had a new job, I was surprised how many people commented on my "letting" him do that. I didn't "let" him. I followed him and I trusted him and God, but the decision was his. I am so thankful for that! We would have missed a tremendous blessing if we had played it safe. Much of the testimony of God's faithfulness would have been lost. And German's absolute and unwavering faith in the God who led him would have been negated if his wife had "let" him follow God. I believe that he will receive a blessing for stepping out in faith (more than we have already received here). I believe my blessing comes from following and supporting even if in my head occassionally I was saying God this is scary. God rewards the faithfulness of His children. I'm so glad I didn't stop God's blessings poured out on my husband. And I am thrilled how much God taught me about being a respectful wife during that time.

So how about you? How would you define your marriage? How does that play out practically in the everyday of your life? How would you like it be different? I'd love to hear your thoughts as we grow together.

Thank you Christine for getting my thought wheels turning.


Wendell said...

What a timely post. Thanks for sharing your views on Biblical marriage and being a respectful wife....more food for thought.

Pixilated Mum said...

Hmmm. That's one interesting post, girl. Hmm ...

>>>How would you define your marriage?
I'd define my marriage as a sacrament, which in Catholic world, is defined as "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." But, OK, what does that mean? It mean that I view marriage as my vocation with my spouse to help one another grow in grace and glorify God. Some people have different vocations that help them grow deeper in love with the Lord and following His will. For me, I believe this vocation to be marriage. In marrying DH, I hoped that this marriage would be a means for me to become a holier and better person. This doesn't just mean that all our prayers together and attending Mass together and sharing Scripture will be for His glory, but also that, even in difficult times, the grace from God will pour down to help me become a better human being. And also that our marriage will be a witness to God's love. In showing one another God's love and being like Christ to one another, we can, through our marriage, demonstrate God's goodness in it, too. In my marriage, we are very traditional in that I'm the SAHM, and he's the breadwinner. In the past, though, I've been the breadwinner and he's been the househusband/college student. When we decided to have children, we went with the traditional role. I love Preston with my whole heart, and I have a definite say and DO say my mind a lot. However, I do view him as the ultimate decision-maker just because I believe in being submissive to my husband. Not subservient. Not putting myself in danger. But I do believe that he gets to be the captain of this ship and I'm the first mate. I don't want to be fighting about who steers the ship or where to go. I give my input, pray like crazy but trust in DH to make the best decision for the family.

>>>>How does that play out practically in the everyday of your life?
It means that I try to be a good witness to my DH in my way of living. He gets to see the "real me" because he lives with me. And I want the "real me" not to be some grumpy, nagging old hag who lets her hair down at home put fakes niceness in the outer world. I want the "real me" to be a loving, supportive, thoughtful and caring wife. This means that I try to give him space when he needs it (which is a lot because DH is very quiet) but also be available when he needs me (which is also a lot because he has great emotional needs). I try to run the household in a loving, peaceful way so that it can be his oasis and shelter when he gets home. I run interference when the kids are acting crazy. I do the household bill-paying so he can focus on his career and other stuff. And as a DH, he provides for our physical needs in giving us a place to live, to eat, to play, etc. He provides me with good insight, gives me courage and support to be a SAHM in a working moms' world, etc. We've gone through a lot of difficult times in our 12 years as marrieds -- a miscarriage, serious poverty, lay-off, etc. --- so it's a marriage that has endured and will endure only by God's neverending love.

>>>How would you like it be different?
Easy answer! I wish I had more time with my DH. He works two jobs, and I pray so much and constantly and always and often for the Lord to give him ONE job, so that we can have him at night with us and for those four hours during the weekend. We could be more involved together in church and have more time for fellowship. But, God's answer seems to be "Not now, kiddos" so there we go. But I haven't stopped nagging him. Hey, Jesus told us to persevere in prayer, and that's what I'm doing!

Oh, MP, sorry this is so long!

MiPa said...

I hope that the post blessed you and didn't worry you. Please know that you can have a Biblical marriage even if your spouse is not following Christ--as long as you are being obedient to the call of wife that God has put on you. And I know that your heart is to "win him with your actions." Someday, sweetheart.

Maria...thank you! I really wanted the long/true responses. This is great. I agree with you on so many points.

Now a funny about this. German and I have talked about this issue a lot recently and the fact that I don't have "veto" power. We were shopping Saturday and there was a wave runner on display. I told him as we walked up to it, "you are not buying a wave runner." He winked and said you can't veto it if I decide that's what God wants us to buy. *sigh* Men!

Pearls of Wisdom said...

Wonderful post my husband and my marriage is very similar to yours in many ways. Thanks for the beautiful post , it is so wonderful to find blogs with women happy following the Lord, his definition of marriage and honoring their husbands in a cheerful way. Many blessings to you this week my sweet blogging friend. I always enjoy my visits and your insight when I stop by.

In his endless love,

Angel ( Angel Mama )