God has been working on me for a few months now. He’s been exposing my pride and independence. I had prided myself on being a doer, a planner, and a get-things-done kind of person. Those things come in handy when tackling Christmas lists and birthday parties and home schooling. The qualities I prided myself on made our home run smoothly and efficiently and took some of the load off my husband when he came home after a long day. It made me feel good to tackle things like snow blowing the driveway and having the entire house cleaned for the weekend so he could have a break and just play with the boys.
But then my pride went too far. I bought into the lies that said, “I’ll just do it myself, I can do it better, and if I don’t do it, it won’t get done”. So I booked date nights, took over devotions with the boys and planned family nights. And ever so subtly, a change began to take place in our home. I didn’t see it until one day the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to it. I had made myself the boss in my home. I was the expert on discipline, chore charts, diapering, guarding the emotional well being of our boys, schedules, activity planning and everything else that happened under our roof.
Now time out for a second – I know as Moms we do know an awful lot because we are in the trenches every day and have a lot of hands on experience and knowledge. So we are experts in that sense. I also want to say that taking charge and planning are good things too and when we stay at home full time we should be doing lots of those things if we can because we have more time than our husbands. The problem comes in when our heart attitude is out of line with the Bible. When we set ourselves up as the expert and take pride in being able to do it all we have a problem. There is a sin problem because pride is a sin. And a marriage problem because we were never meant to be the expert and boss in our homes!
Genesis 2:18 says “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’.”(NLT) Did you catch that? God made a HELPER who is just right for the man. Not an expert that he can consult. Not a take charge and get it done right hand woman. A helper. In that moment God reminded me of this verse and who He made me to be as a wife. A helper. I had stepped into so many roles and places and spaces I was never meant to be that I had left no room for my husband to step up. If a company has a CEO, everyone lets him do his job. They don’t challenge him for his position. They simply do what he tells them to do. And I’ve noticed that many men are comfortable with following the lead of their wives and letting them “run the show” and make most of the decisions involving the home and their kids. But I’m also noticing women complaining and wishing their husbands would step up and pitch in.
We can’t have it both ways can we girls? And God says we’re not supposed to. We are supposed to help our husband be the best dad and husband he can be. Which means we have to leave room for him to step in and step up, to fail and to do things HIS way. I have watched wives take over the feeding or diaper changing of their kids when their husbands weren’t doing things quite right. Or step into the middle of a discipline situation and assume command. And the husband would hand things over and then weeks or months later inevitably the wife would say something like “I wish he would help more with our kids”. And yet we have not “helped” him to become a good dad. Our words haven’t been encouraging, our suggestions haven’t been gentle and our words haven’t been kind.
Worse yet is that we are actually reinforcing lies that Satan loves to plant in men’s heads. My eyes were opened to these lies as my husband shared some of the things he was learning in the Conquer series our church recently went through. The lies many men believe sound like this: “Nobody needs me”, “What I do is never good enough”, “I will never measure up to their expectations”, “I am always wrong” and “If I fail, nobody will value me”. As my husband was sharing some of these with me, I felt that awful sinking feeling in my stomach and the heavy heart prompting of the Holy Spirit. I was feeding those lies with my words, demands, attitude and take over actions.
Can you feel the weight of conviction falling on you? That’s a good thing! God’s conviction leads us to repentance and change. And it begins with confession to God and to our spouse. Hopefully it can lead to a conversation with your spouse to see how he feels and how we can help him become the dad and husband he wants to be. Maybe you can talk about places to step back so he can step in.
And then as wives we need to give God all the space He needs to work. We have nagged, harped, urged, demeaned, challenged and harassed our husbands to step up as a dad or husband in this or that area. But what we have not done is gotten down on our knees and prayed and fasted that we would be a good helper and that we would help our husbands become the kind of dad God wants them to be.
Oh Lord, you created us to be Helpers for our husbands. I’m so sorry I made myself the boss of certain areas. Please forgive me, help me to step down and give my husband the time, encouragement and freedom to step into those places in his own time and way. Jesus, I know that when we do things Your way they just go better, so I will submit to Your design for marriage with me as the helper. Amen.
Use it or lose it:
-Reflect on what you normally do or say, or the expressions you have on your face when your husband fails to meet one of your expectations as a father or husband. Are you responding in love? If not, write out a character story and reflect on what bothers you in that situation, how it makes you feel, how you normally respond and how you would like to respond next time.
-Sign up for the marriage course offered by Stefan on Wednesday evenings starting Feb 8th and running for 10 or so weeks. It is called Building Healthy Relationships and will be a combination of Learn to Love and some of the Selah stuff we are doing this year.