Monday, January 18, 2016

Leave Your Husband Alone

I recently read an article that really struck a cord with me about marriage. Let me preface this post by stating that I have been married for 36.5 years and we have eight children (and 5 grandchildren so far). Together, we have survived homelessness, medical emergencies, cancer, pulmonary embolisms, sleep deprivation, financial crisis and a host of other stresses that could have derailed us.

The one thing I had to learn to love him right: Leave him alone.

The article referenced above, My Husband Won't Grow Up, (click to read) is what sparked this blog post. What the author of the article writes is something I've seen repeatedly in churches and among Christian couples and I find it very disturbing.

Here are a few things I take issue with:

#1, The article is written with an assumption that the wife's perspective of being the more mature one is a right perspective. It is not. Therefore, the entire article fails from the start.

#2, The author said, "As his wife, you have the delicate role of protecting your husband’s vulnerabilities while also calling forth his strength." I can't find this in Scripture. This places the wife in the role of the Holy Spirit in her husband's life, misleading and misguiding young wives to have an agenda for their husbands. We wives have no such role in our husband's life. The sooner a wife realizes this, the better her marriage will be.

#3, The author said, " If God has truly given you more maturity, wisdom, and strength than your husband has, this means that you have much more power in your relationship than he does. How are you using that power?" Marriage is not about power and there should never be a power struggle in a marriage. The only viable power in a marriage is the power of the Holy Spirit and He does not need wives to act on His behalf toward their husbands. The best thing any wife can do for her husband is to let go of him and stop trying to be the Holy Spirit in his life. God does not need our help to make our husbands "man up" because "manning up" is a man-made idea. Whatever our husband are going to be is not up to us as wives. This author sounds like a wife with an agenda to change her husband....and she's way out of line. She needs to go back to the greatest commandment and the 2nd one, which is like unto the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Wives need to get out of the Holy Spirit's business and leave their husbands alone. "Lean not on your own understanding...."

#4, The author presumes every man needs a mentor or father to teach them manhood. The Bible does not teach this and there are many examples of young men who thrived in "manhood" when their main influence was their mother (Timothy, King Lemuel and Solomon to name a few.) This teaching is very mainstream in our churches, yet marriages are failing all around us. I see why. This is Secular Humanism and it breaks my heart when I see it being taught to young couples. It creates false expectations that chip away at a marriage little by little until it is destroyed or, at the very least, unsatisfactory.

#5. The author quotes Dr. Daniel Levinson's book, Seasons of a Man's Life, where he said that every man needs three things to be fulfilled in life: A dream, a wife who believes in him and a mentor to show him the way. This is directly contrary to Scripture. What every man and every woman needs is Jesus Christ. Period. Nothing more. To teach otherwise is Secular Humanism. A wife cannot choose Jesus for her husband, either; she can only choose Him for herself.

I have a better idea for wives who think their husbands are too immature. Those wives need to be praying for their husbands. Pray for him, then leave him alone. Pray for him, then trust that the Holy Spirit is capable of working in his life without your interference or assistance. Pray for yourself that you would have a right relationship with God....which will result in leaving your husband alone. *Trey, a young man in our church, came to my husband about his wife, *Cassie, who would not come to church or get baptized. Trey came alone every Sunday, even though Cassie professed faith in Christ. Trey wanted Cassie to not only come to church, but get baptized and join. He hounded her about it, but she would have none of it. So, my husband's advice: Stop talking to Cassie about it and simply pray about it. Just pray but leave Cassie alone. Within 2 months, Cassie came to my husband on her own and asked about baptism. She was baptized a couple weeks later.  To this day, Cassie is an active integral part of their local church and Trey learned the power of prayer in his marriage and in another person's life. (This is a true story; names were changed.)

Those who doubt the power of prayer are those who I suspect have never tried it. They can't see its power because they have not experienced it first hand. It takes a leap of faith to believe in and practice prayer, but I challenge any woman who is thinking their husband needs to grow up to simply pray for him without interference or nagging. Just prayer. Then wait and see what good the Lord has in store.

Girls, we are not our husband's mothers. We are not authority figures in their lives (nor they in ours, but that's for another blog post). We have no right to declare ourselves more mature and then scheme to bring what we think is maturity into their lives. If there's a real problem, talk to him like a mature person. Communicate your frustration without accusation. It is not our job as wives to bring our husbands into manhood. This is a myth that is destroying marriages. Our "job" as wives can really be summed up in the greatest commandment and the second, which is like it: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.

Loving the Lord your God will all your heart soul and mind will teach you how to use a mirror. It will teach you that when you look in a mirror, you see your own reflection, not your husband's, and your own reflection is the only thing you can do anything about.

A number of yeas ago, I gave a devotional at a young woman's wedding shower at church. I spoke
these very words at that shower, telling that young woman, and all the listeners, that leaving her husband alone in this regard is the best way to love him. I told the group that it's not our job to fix or change our husbands; that's the job of the Holy Spirit. Afterward, an 83-year-old woman came up to me in tears. She said, "You are so right! If only someone had told me this early in my marriages. If only! It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary heartache." She'd been widowed and married again, yet struggled with this in both marriages. She had learned the hard way that it wasn't her job to change or fix her husband; that he belonged to God and God would shape and mold him as He saw fit.

Go, love your husbands....and leave them alone.