Saturday, May 31, 2014

Making Your Husband Seem More Spiritual Than He Is

Have you ever noticed the temptation among some Christian women to want their husbands to appear more spiritual than they actually are?

She will make mention, casually of course, of something her husband does or is that will impress others. She might fool herself into thinking that she is just praising her man, but in reality, she wants others, her friends especially, to feel that she has it all. And that her man is really Godly.  This kind of pressure is especially prevalent among wives whose husband's are in the ministry.

But a woman who does this just coveting what she perceives desirable in other women's husbands?  Of seeing something that she deems ideal and wanting it? A wife will hear how so and so's husband is such a wonderful spiritual leader in his home. He reads the Bible every night to his children and has regular family devotions. He's an elder in the church or some other position (the importance of which is often exaggerated).

But the truth is that our job as wives is not to construct an image of a picture-perfect husband or family life. It's to honor the one we've actually got. We do that by what goes on behind closed doors. If a man is truly honored in his own home, in his own car on the way to church, at the dinner table and in his own bedroom, he will typically grow more and more into the man God calls him to be. Some men more slowly than others, so patience is a virtue here. ;-)

Besides, the truth is that most "real" men are not super-spiritual men. In fact, I think that most good men (if not all) don't even want to be because by their God-given natures, men just aren't very spiritual. And they are especially resistant to toucy-feely stuff.

This is good.

Real men (mature, sincere, honest, brave, resourceful, God-fearing) are actually wary of things that smell of spirituality and piety. Meaning, that God gave them very deep instincts to be guarded, suspicious and skeptical. He made them this way for their own and our (their wives) protection.

I remember when, as a young wife, my husband's skepticism used to embarrass me a little. I was such a people pleaser and so very unfamiliar with what a real man was like, I thought that others were offended by my husband's guarded nature. By his reluctance to laugh at their jokes or smile unreservedly. I wanted him to "lighten up" and be jovial...like me! How wrong I was!  I learned that not only do other men respect men who are guarded, other women find it attractive. Hmm! I soon learned to revel in it. Now I am free to be sensitive and delicate when my man is guarded and even gruff at times. I don't mind a bit. I feel secure in his skepticism knowing that he's very wise to test things and people out before (if ever) lowering his guard.

The more feminine I am, the more manly my husband gets. When I first understood this and began giving my husband the true respect that was due him several years ago, there was a natural adjustment period for both of us. We had to give one another some wiggle room to gain confidence and grace in our proper roles. I had to give him room when he was a little too aggressive in manner and resist the temptation to raise a fuss at him. He had to give me some room to reel myself back in when I succumbed to old reactions.

                       A good marriage is made up of two good forgivers.  ~ Ruth Bell Graham 

I learned that when a man finally receives the proper respect from his wife, oftentimes he'll emerge with leadership traits he never knew he had. If you were a nag type of wife and you are now cultivating a meek and quiet spirit, be prepared to get out of the way and let your man get his sea legs. Give it time.

Some men who were overbearing and over-aggressive may begin to soften a bit.  Other men who were brow beaten panty-waists may actually begin to lead and appear stronger.  But either way, a man only has the chance to be all he can be when his wife gives him respect and lots of grace.

Special note for wives in rocky marriages: 
If you don't respect your man because you feel he doesn't deserve it, you can make a conscious choice to respect his office. Show respect for the station that God has given him as a man and as your husband. If you're struggling terribly to show him any respect, try this: find a quiet place and listing every single thing you can think of that is good about him or that he does well. In other words, that you can genuinely show admiration about. To men, admiration is very, very similar to respect and it will have a huge impact on a man who is 1) not worthy and 2) destitute for his God-given need for it.

When making your list, include the smallest gestures or character traits....does he put the seat down for you? Does he remember how you like your coffee? Does he change the channel or lower the volume on inappropriate tv shows when the kids are near? Does he pay the bills on time? List it all. Make mention of something every day. Tell him you appreciate when he "__________________".

Moving on...
It was super important for me to understand that real men do act not act like women. They have different instincts and very different perspectives. Again, this is a good thing. A God thing!

When a man does something wrong, or gruff, or dumb or insensitive, don't expect a gushy apology.  It's not that he is insensitive or stupid. He just does't want to lose face. He fears being diminished in the eyes of others (especially his wife - even if he doesn't show it) so he tends to hold on to his pride and act like he does't care.  This is one of the most significant marriage building truths I've ever learned.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel. My man actually offers me the occasional apology when he is wrong. Knowing how difficult it is for him to admit fault, I am genuinely touched when he makes the effort.

A good husband does care, more than we probably could understand. Even if he doesn't show it. And  when we consistently forgive him, love him and serve him, the gruffest of men will be gruff with everyone but you.  Only a woman has the power to melt a man's heart and fill it so full of concern and passion he will fall in love with her over and over again. My constant goal is to make sure I am that woman for my husband. It is foolish for anyone to take their marriage for granted when the casualty rate for marriages is so high.

Just remember — there are plenty of women who would LOVE to have your man and mine.

I'm glad I learned these things when I did. As a kid, I watched my super-spiritual mom drive away her very unspiritual, regular, fun loving, God fearing, hardworking husband (my dad). After she divorced him, he remarried a nice woman who gave him the respect his soul needed.  And my mom ended up pining for her failed marriage to the point of claiming to prophetically believe he would one day return to her. He recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with his 2nd wife and is happy. My mom's legacy is sad and one that I became determined early on to never imitate.

I don't want a super spiritual man. I don't care if my husband is not as spiritual seeming, or as good of a family leader as other women's husbands. I know I struck gold when I got him.  He may not have daily devotions or read the Bible every day to us, but when he does, it's all the more precious because it is of his own initiative and desire.

No, I don't want a spiritual man nor am I interested in promoting him as anymore than what he is. A hardworking, honest man full of integrity and simple faith.

Have you ever noticed that some men who actually do project a "super spiritual" persona wind up having some kind of secret sin exposed?  Doug Phillips is the latest calamity. I have no idea if his wife promoted him, but I doubt it. These types of men almost always promote themselves and put pressure on other men to measure up to their self-perceived status. Perhaps they overstate and over-compensate because they are trying to disguise and distract their hidden sin? Only God knows.
But there are women who see men like this and think he's ideal and wish their husband were more like him. They long for strong, godly leadership.

But ladies, the fast track for a wife to getting the kind of husband she wants, is being the kind of wife her husband needs. Resolve to stop taking offense. Be content and honor the man you chose to marry and love him just the way he is. He is your head. And God is the head of our husbands, so we can petition him for anything we need or want.

So pray for your husband every day! Pray the Lord will increase him in faith, strength, wisdom and godliness. Then get out of God's way and love your husband today just as he is.

3 comments:

Alyson said...

I am so glad I found this blog! Such true, unbiased information. Thanks so much for saying what needs to be said, and not worrying about hurting feelings. Keep it coming! :)

Simply Keeping Home said...

Thanks Alyson! That is so encouraging to me. God bless!

Eileen said...

Good post.