Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Men & Women, Husbands & Wives

If you are familiar with Facebook (I, myself, am addicted to it), you will understand what "flair" is. Flair are images that look like buttons that you might wear, such as "I am loved" or a happy face, or to support a political candidate. It's quite fun to arrange flair on your Facebook profile, as they are "snippits", if you will, of your life. Among my favorites on my profile are "Robinlicious", "Paddle faster, I hear banjos", "Cancel my subscription, I'm done with your issues," "Facebook is more fun than housework", and "I will praise you in this storm." I have many others. Some I found hilariously funny, some had my name or a "robin" character on them, and still others depicted me or my life in some fashion or another. You could probably learn a whole lot about me just by studying my flair.

I recently deleted a piece of flair from my board. It showed a picture of Cinderella's Prince Charming on it, along with the words, "Disney gave me unrealistic expectations of men." I really believed that for a long time. I believed that my expectations of men were just too high, that none could measure up to my high standards. I believed it was me, not them. I was wrong.

For the last several weeks, we have been studying Ephesians 5 in our Wednesday night Bible study at church. Anyone who is married and knows that passage will groan. But, you know, I learned some new things that I hadn't heard before and it is the reason I tossed my old beliefs about men.

For one, I always thought that women's desire to be pampered and treated like a princess was a selfish thing. I never felt like I was justified in my desire to be utterly adored by my husband. However, the Bible says that the marriage relationship is to be a picture of Christ and the church. How would Christ treat the church? Tenderly? Adoringly? Supplies its every need? Seeks only its good? A husband is expected by God to put his wife on a pedastal! Wow! When I heard that, I nearly fell off the pew. This blows everything I thought I had accepted as fact out of the water. My standards AREN'T too high--these are God's standards and if you think they are too high, take it up with Him. He expects it from every Christian husband. It's not the exception, it's the rule, guys.

The key verse in this passage goes back to verse 18 where we are told to be spirit-filled. For this godly Christian marriage to flourish and look like this picture, both the husband and the wife must allow the Holy Spirit to control their thoughts and actions. When we become self-centered is when it all falls apart.

Our pastor gave us 5 things that God will hold a husband accountable for. First, he has the responsibility for the wife and the home. He doesn't ignore his wife's counsel and, if he is wise, considers what she says very carefully. In some matters, she is smarter than her husband (maybe in ALL matters!). But, the final call should rest on him. He is the one who will be held accountable by God. I know people joke a lot about how much trouble Eve got Adam into in the garden, but who did God hold primarily responsible? The husband, Adam.

Second, the husband must make sure that his wife knows she is number one in the relationship. He must be willing to give up himself and any other thing for her. Withhold nothing. If golf gets in the way of your relationship, it has to go. When we get married, God commanded the husband to forsake all others when he took his wife. That means no friends, no family, no nothing should come before her! When the Bible commands husbands to love their wives, the Greek verb there is indicating that it is a constant command, something they are too keep doing continually. It is a selfless love and is exhibited despite another's actions. It doesn't matter what she says, does, thinks, or feels about her husband, he is still supposed to love her. Period. Does God take back His love for us when we forget Him? It hurts Him, but He never stops loving us.

Thirdly, a husband is to do everything for his wife's protection and purity. He cannot be careless with her and he cannot dump on her. Jesus does not dump the troubles of the world on his church. He protects and shields us, as a husband should do for his wife.

Fourth, a husband must make sure that his wife feels secure. He needs to hold her and love her. The word "cherish" in verse 29 speaks of warmth. The husband should exhibit warmth towards his wife. Our pastor said (not me) that wives need to be pursued and flirted with. His basis for this is that Christ pursued US! We didn't go looking for a Saviour--he came seeking us!

Lastly, the husband should take the initiative in the family to meet his wife's every need. He must meet all her needs--physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, etc.

All women shudder at the command in this passage for women to submit to their husbands. However, let me honestly ask you, if you had a husband that treated you this way, would you have a problem submitting to his authority? I wouldn't. I would gladly let him lead if he was a trustworthy and honorable man.

Instead of lowering the bar to meet the standards that seem to be looming large in society today, maybe more men should step up and raise the bar! Instead of us women settling for something lesser, why can't more men rise to the challenge and live up to what God has commanded them to do? If more men would, I wonder what difference it would make in the world! I don't think Disney gave us unrealistic expectations for men--I think we should hold out for that Prince Charming! Ladies, stop being desperate and force the men to be real MEN! And more men should aspire to BE Prince Charming. Stop being lazy! No woman worth her salt will be easy to win, so you better be prepared to work for her.

When I was about 14 or 15, I had a boyfriend who called me Cinderella and said he was going to come rescue me on his white horse. That is probably the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me. We need more men on white horses, more men in white hats. Not only us women, but the world needs you too.

No comments: