Monday, November 29, 2010

Challenge Week 2: Our Marriages

Last Week
Okay, how was last week (If you missed last week's challenge, click here)? Did anyone write a challenge on a notecard to keep handy? A visual reminder to work on all week long? Perhaps you attached a verse to it to memorize or read every time you see your reminder card? Well, for me, having a notecard with one simple (well, not simple!) reminder to be gentle was good for me. It seemed that gentleness was on my mind all week long. God would remind me in circumstances and even as I was teaching my 11 month old "gentle" as I gently stroked his hand on my face, teaching him not to hit or play rough with my face. I didn't master this area of gentleness by any means, but it was amazing how much more my mind was focused on it and working towards it. I hope someone out there was challenged!
This Week
Okay, I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert on marriage. It has seemed daunting to even prepare to write this blog post, because I am no author, speaker, professional, or even highly experienced person when it comes to the area of marriage. So let's just start there. Tad and I have only been married for 5 years, and we have lots of growing to do. I'm not even gonna tell you all these things we do that make for a rockstar marriage, because honestly, in our 5 short years of marriage, we have had to go through some tough stuff.
The Plan
What I do want to do is to highlight some important areas, challenge our hearts for the week in regards to our marriages, and then give a simple challenge that will get our minds and hearts engaged for a week of focusing on our husbands.
I think being a SAHM can be really difficult on a marriage. I have heard so many people say that husbands and wives get so wrapped up in raising their kids, that once the kids leave home, the marriage ends because their lives were all about their children, and not about each other. We have many roles as SAHMs and though a mother is a highly demanding role, taking all our energy, time, creativity, etc. we are still wives as well. We were wives first.
A marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ and the church.
"Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:24

There is this beautiful thing happening as we follow the model for marriage that is laid out for us in Scripture (see Ephesians 5:22-33), but that is the hard thing. We make up our own models and wonder why our marriage is failing. This is so easy to do. To live life day to day, to focus on what we want and how we want our homes to run, to want our family to serve us instead of us serving them. Guilty. To want things to go my way instead of their way. Guilty.
In Calm My Anxious Heart, there is a quote by Dr. Larry Crabb in The Marriage Builder, "a wife will either minister to her husband or manipulate him to get her own way." That rang in my ears after I read it. I have a huge responsibility as helper, helpmate, my husband's trusted friend, his biggest fan, his lover. How am I handling this responsibility? Lightly? Or intentionally?
I am not saying this is easy. I think it's probably easier when you are first married, in the honeymoon stage, have 2 incomes, no kids, and living debt-free. Just sayin'. Throw in 2 kids, one income less, long days, short nights, bills to pay, two completely different roles from each other, and did I mention sleepless nights? Well, you get the picture. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is focus on our husband. We would like for someone to focus on us.
In A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George, she says, "So the first step on my journey of a thousand miles to becoming a godly wife was beginning to understand that I am on assignment from God to help my husband." She also says, "God wants us as wives to focus our energy and efforts on our husbands-on his tasks, his goals, his responsibilities." I think that if we are looking to be fulfilled by our husbands, we will be greatly disappointed. We just weren't created to be completely fulfilled by anyone other than God Himself. If we aren't being refreshed and having alone time with God where we are being renewed and satisfied in Him daily, I fear that we will look for that in our husbands, and that can be danger for a marriage. And it will make it difficult to serve our husbands because we will feel weak and unsatisfied ourselves.
So here's the challenge for the week:
One way we can focus on our husbands is to pray for them. Someone once told me she married and her husband had so far to go in his walk with God, his desire, and growth as a man. She decided to write out a prayer card for him, and prayed for him daily. Within a year, it was like he was a completely different man. He grew in leaps and bounds in his faith, he had a desire for service in the church, and he was growing.
I'm not saying that writing out a prayer card will solve all your marriage problems or bring you a new and improved husband in a year, but it is a place to start. A place to focus all your frustrations, longings, comparing your husband with other people, etc. and putting them at the feet of Jesus, and LEAVING THEM THERE. Daily commit to pray for your husband.
Serve him. Pick one area that you can serve your husband this week. Just one area. Can I pick up his socks every day without complaining, and without telling him where they go? Can I bring him a cup of coffee every morning when he wakes up? Can I do one of his chores without complaining that he never remembers to do it? Just pick one small thing to do to serve him without complaining.
Finally, let's do something special for our husbands. There are a myriad of options. Does he enjoy quality time? Plan something special, even if it's after the kids go to bed. Is he a talker? Spend time listening to him talk about his day, his job, his concerns without being "too busy" or doing something else while "listening." Does he enjoy gifts? Buy something special or make him his favorite meal/snack. The list goes on and on.

This is just a beginning. There are so many things we can do to intentionally pursue, serve, and submit to our husbands. Date night is a good idea. A getaway, if you can do it, is a good idea. Be creative! Only you know your husband in that special way! And only you can bless him in that deep, meaningful way that no one else can. I'm excited to hear how we can be intentional to make our marriages strong and Christ-centered!!

As always, I would love to hear from you!! If anyone is participating in the challenge, how did your week go? Any God-moments or words of encouragement to share? I would love to hear how God is working in your lives!!

Here's a recap:
  1. Write out a prayer card. Commit to pray daily!
  2. Pick an area to serve him daily without complaining!
  3. Plan something special for your husband!
Join me next week for Challenge #3: Our parenting!!

P.S. Sorry there were no other blog posts this week, our internet was down Monday morning through Friday morning. Hopefully you will see more this coming week! Happy Monday!

Less than one month until our move to Oklahoma!!!

A blast from the past. Not sure if we were even married yet in this pic!! Ah, how things change!!

No comments:

Post a Comment