Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BEING A FAITHFUL FRIEND {to our spouse}








An Anonymous friend asked...
How do you biblically suggest that your husband needs to show more sympathy? I can see the father you described at the playground clearly...My husband is a good man and God is changing him more and more each year (just as He is changing me)!
I'm concerned because I see the hurt in the children's eyes and when they come to me for sympathy, he scolds them for that too. I do not desire to disrespect my husband or loose the hearts of our children.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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Hello Anonymous friend.

Well, we all have our blind spots, don't we? I know that I do. As your husband's best friend and help meet your desire is of course to do him good and not evil all the days of his life (Proverbs 31:12).
So, what does that mean in cases where we see something we fear will come back to bite our best friend?


In Scripture God tells us that the neighbor who flatters
spreads a net for the feet of him being flattered (Proverbs 29:5),
but a faithful friend corrects (Proverbs 27:6).
The flatterer never mentions his neighbor's blind spots-
he is only there for the happy times- and is not troubled
with the dangerous path (called a trap)
that his neighbor is taking.


As our husband's best friend we do want to be faithful and that, at times, may involve kind and gentle encouragement in one direction or another.

1. Do you think that your counsel is hearable? If not, look for areas in which you can minister to his needs- physical needs, training the children in the off times, gentle speech etc. before you broach the subject.

2. Use an example that he can relate to. In 2 Samuel 12:7 Nathan used a fictitious example to help David to see what he was doing. Sometimes, as adults, we relate better to ideas such as: "What if your boss handled a situation this way? Do you think that- maybe- that is how the children feel at times?"  Sharing Scripture may also be beneficial:  Verses such as James 1:20 and Ephesians 6:4, Galations 6:1 and Philippians 4:5 are applicable to this specific scenario. 

3. Never correct your husband in front of the children. For one, if we do that, we undermine ALL authority in the home- including our own. Secondly, you will inadvertently put a chip on the children's shoulders as they get the impression that they are being mistreated.
4. Always use the sandwich approach. Start by highlighting an area that is a real success; insert the area of concern and wrap up with how you see the Lord working to change both of you and, again, how he is succeeding.
5. Always pray first. Ask the Lord for unity of spirit and wisdom about the correct time to speak- not when he walks in the door, not on an empty stomach etc.- and go with a gentle and humble spirit.  Maybe the Lord will not have you mention it at all.  Be sensitive to His leading.  


And last of all, don't use a hammer when you may only need an encouraging word.  :)
 

I hope this helps.


Blessings to you,



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WHEN COUNSEL DOESN'T GO WELL...


By pulling this discussion out of the comments area, I have a little more space to add the following:

Even when we "do it all right" there may be times when our counsel will not be heard at that moment.

You have seen many different families. I would suggest that if you are observant you will notice that the families that stick together and are most gleefully happy are always those in which the wife is cheerful and in love with her husband. Does that mean their family is perfect or makes the same choices that you would in all areas? Not at all.



As help meets we try our best to see all things
eye to eye with our spouse for the glory of God,
but if you are not able to,
do not be devastated by it.

Choose joy and selfless love. Be a daughter of Sarah:

"They submitted themselves to their own husbands,
like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.
You are her daughters if you do what is right and
do not give way to fear."

1 Peter 3:5-6


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5 comments:

  1. Love your words RJ!
    It's hard to be out in the world,bread winning, heavy responsibilities on their shoulders like an athlete after competeing in an game, adreniline pumping, he takes it into the locker room either all amped up or beaten down. Tansitioning back to the gentle giant doesn't always come easy. He see's the rest of life through the same lens. Sometimes even those he loves. Out of good intention's he desires to see them strong, making the good plays, bouncing back from the knock downs.
    Man language: I'm on your team. There have been times when my, by nature-gentle man, comes home with not a so gentle spirit. And it takes a soft reminder that we are on the same team. Through good, honest conversation I can see the shoulders relax and a lighter man emerge. A sympathetic spirit is key to having a deeper more intense conversation. God is so faithful to give us wives and mother's of boys lenses to understand how these men he has blessed us with view what is before them.Some are analytical with a pause for thought and use very few words, others need a good volley to work through a problem. Then there are the ones who bristle at reproach but silently they change. (And we never comment about the issue again!)I would encourage all of us to pray to understand how our men see the world and come from behind with understanding and truth, especially for the hard stuff.

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  2. Well stated my friend. Thank you!

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  3. Both Rebecca's and Dana's counsel are very wise and I have taken them to heart. I especially appreciated "As help meets we try our best to see all things eye to eye with our spouse for the glory of God, but if you are not able to, do not be devastated by it." It's the last part that I struggle with. Our amazing God worked it out in a way that my husband came to me with this issue and I was able to express my concern and hear his struggle with this because he desires to raise our boy (age 3) and any others the Lord chooses to bless us with, to be MEN. While I fully desire that also, I do not truly understand how to show my support to my husband while seeing the hurt in the children's eyes. I do not say anything in those situations but he wants to know that I am behind him. So, I am going to "pray to understand how [my man] sees the world and come from behind with understanding and truth, especially for the hard stuff." Have any resources to better understand this issue of raising boys to be men? Thank you, ladies, you have been a huge blessing!
    BTW, regarding "the wife [who] is cheerful and in love with her husband"...This is exactly what I have been focusing on these past four months. I’ve come to the realization that it is okay to show the JOY OF THE LORD on the outside (been around too many negative people lately) so I decided to do an experiment that doesn’t cost anything…I started purposely *smiling* at my husband and children. When they ask why I’m smiling, I respond with things like “I’m experiencing the joy of the LORD” “I am so thankful that Jesus saved me” “I’m thinking about how blessed I am to have you as my husband” “I’m so proud of the little lady/big boy you are becoming.” Within two days, the atmosphere in our home completely changed (my husband rarely left my side when he was home! Amazing!!!) Then I did a silly thing, I decided to check my theory by purposely not smiling for one day – oh, the attitudes and tempers that flared and it took a whole week to get back to the atmosphere of joy, peace and fun in the home. Just the other night, my husband said that he can’t wait to get home in the evening and that it feels like we are dating again. Praise the Lord! No matter the circumstances, if we have the Holy Spirit within us, we always have a reason to be joyful...let it show!
    I am so thankful for God's grace in our lives and Titus 2 women like you who encourage us to live as faithful friends and helpers to our husbands!!

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  4. What an encouragement- God is so good! And how glad I am that you have a heart and vision to encourage your husband even when you don't fully understand. Keep praying. My favorite prayer in times when my husband and I may not see eye to eye is to ask God to either change my husband's mind or mine- but to make us unified. God always seems to bless that.

    Keep on dear daughter of Sarah! And yes, choose joy! You will never regret that.

    Well, as a mother of five girls, I am certainly NOT an expert on raising boys. But I have enjoyed a wonderful marriage for twenty years to a visionary quiet type (while I love for things to remain the same and to talk through every issue). During a challenging season for me- while we lived in a camper for 18 months- I enjoyed Debi Pearl's book: Created to be His Helpmeet. Her frank (although PG-13 at times) counsel was a great asset as I learned what it meant to build up my husband rather than nurse my own “needs” while we lived in very humble conditions.

    Does anyone else have resources they have enjoyed on this subject?

    If I had boys I would agree with your husband. I would want them to have calloused hands; a tender heart and a passion for righteousness and truth. Someone who was trained in Scripture; had godly character; worked HARD; and made efforts to protect young ladies in their physical beings and in their purity.

    Beyond that I hope that I would also be willing to embrace exactly who God gave me. We all want a man with a firm handshake; a hunter; someone who is strong. I don't know about you, but honestly I have a hard time being patient with a man who is soft spoken and hasn't learned to change his own oil.

    But we also need to realize that sometimes God loves and chooses the Jacobs over the Esaus (Romans 9:13).

    I hope that I would be able to accept whoever God gave me and trust Him. A while back I watched a You Tube video interview with John Mac Arthur and John Piper. It was fun to see their personal sides and I realized that Mac Arthur is the jock type- tough, ex-football player etc. while Piper is more sensitive. Piper has struggled with depression (like Spurgeon) and has had seasons in which he has cried-- a lot. And yet both are solid Biblical teachers who are used mightily by God.

    My point? Well, God makes all kinds. And to Him the heart is the most important. I hope we can love and embrace them all. :)

    Blessings Sister!

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  5. Thank you for your thoughts about "if I had boys." Those are wonderful qualities to be praying and training for!

    You are right...God always seems to bless those prayers for marital unity! I have been quietly praying (well, mostly quiet) for over three years that God would either change my husband's heart or take away the aching desire for more children while He taught me how to respect my husband and love our children, to be content with the three that He has blessed us with and rely on His strength to make it through those terrible days when even the possibility of a child passed each month. GOD IS FAITHFUL! Two months ago, my husband came to me and told me he wanted more babies!!! Not just because that is what I desire, but because God's Word says that children are a blessing from the LORD and it is HE who opens and closes the womb! GOD IS GOOD! We have done the research into vasectomy reversals and now are seeking the Lord's timing. Would love prayer for that but also that I can be patient to "wait upon the Lord" and my husband!! Now that we are in agreement with God, I want to obey right away;D But I know that God's timing is perfect!!
    I enjoy your website and am very thankful that you have taken the time to address this struggle of mine.
    God's blessings to you and your family! ~JS

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