While last week’s chapters were discussing our heavenly duty to prioritize our husbands above all other human relationships, this week’s chapters expunge upon that concept with detailed ways on “how” to do so. I’ll be completely honest with you and say that when I first read these chapters, months ago, I scoffed a bit at certain points, and thought, “That’s a bit much”. You will understand more about what I mean as you read this week. Once I entertained the tips in my day to day life however, I found that they weren’t so difficult to complete, and the Lord blessed me with feelings of contentment when doing so. Ben isn’t the pickiest of husbands, and he could care less if Hattie’s puzzles are strewn about the living room when he comes home in the evening, but when I clean the blueberries off of her chin, and chase all of the puzzles into one collective area when I hear his truck rumbling down the drive, I take pride in knowing that he will walk into an organized home ready to greet him. The reality of expectations differs from family to family because the wife’s role is always different! Some work full time, some part time, some stay home, and some travel for their jobs, some even have to spend months away! The role that never changes, however, is our role of being a loving spouse. With the right planning, a “want to” attitude, and the grace of God, this is always possible! (The author is right about how a woman working at full speed can accomplish much in 5 minutes!)
Pride can at times keep us from treating our husbands like the king that God expects us to, but if we can recognize this, and set it aside, we can actively break down the barrier that keeps us from having not just a good marriage, but a great one! Sometimes we are just standing in our own dog-gone way! I love that the author mentioned God’s agapeo (uh-gah-pay) love, the unconditional kind, and also the phileo love, or the friendship kind. We are to love our husbands with both of these kind of loves. We are to delight in his spirit, just like we do our girlfriend’s or children’s, and we are to love him despite his faults. Our love is to have many layers! I try to remember often that even though I know that Ben is to be my #1 human priority, he needs to know it and feel it as well, as does everyone around me. This means that when someone makes a snide remark about him to me, jokingly, I am to defend him, not take part and add to the joke. I am also to defend him to the best of family when they accidentally slip up and put him down. Have you ever noticed how someone that you admire condoning something that your husband has done instantly makes you feel the condemnation as well? This means that you should bulk up your forgiving nature, and keep the negative out! I am at fault for this no-no, but it is improper to vent about your husband, as jokingly as it may sound, to your mother or his. I catch myself commenting to Honey, “Ben, that boy, I don’t know what I’m going to do with him….he can’t bring home receipts to save his life!” (We own our own business, in case you were wondering why receipts mattered!) We all need to stop before we speak at times like these, and instead pray! Ben’s mom can’t change his forgetful nature, only God can, so if I want things to change, or even have hope of changing, I’d better be talking to God instead! Or Ben for that matter!
I loved the reminder in the book that points out that we begin and end as a wife. How devastating that in the years that make up that beginning and end of our “wife life”, some choose to fill it with unfocused insufficient attention, leaving a void that will reveal itself as dark and daunting once the end is reached, and a wife is your only task once more. I would much rather know that I nourished and perfected that duty to the best of my God given abilities, so that when my time to be only a wife reappears, I naturally know exactly what to do.
Over-investing in our children and under investing in our husband, as the book points out, is the fatal flaw in one too many marriages. I think that it is a widely believed concept that doting on your children endlessly makes you a good parent. That never leaving your children overnight makes you a good parent because you just love them so much that you can’t leave their side! I struggled with this for a while, and had a breakthrough when I wanted to plan a surprise trip for Ben to celebrate our second anniversary, but was fearful to leave Hattie behind. My mom quickly reminded me that taking time for my marriage makes me an even better parent, because I cannot love Hattie fully if I cannot love my husband fully, and show her what loving your husband means. What a blessing to hear those words! We both missed Hattie for those 4 nights away, but boy, did we have fun together!
The 2 chapters this week offer a lot for you to absorb, so in light of that, I’ll end by providing my favorite 2 points from the last chapter:
-What you say when your husband gets home sets the tone for the entire evening. Isn’t this true! The old saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” leaves your husband out in the cold. Don’t live expecting. We aren’t to do to receive. We are to imitate Jesus, and that means that we do without expectation. Don’t forget, God knows your heart, so don’t expect in there either and think that its hidden! Instead change your mindset to, “When Daddy is happy, everyone’s happy!”
-Positive Sandwiches are how we should ALWAYS respond. Start with something positive, ask the necessary questions in the middle, and end with submission, accepting whatever your husband decides with positiveness again!
1. Readings: Chapter 7 and 8 of our book (Pages 91-113): A Heart That Loves, Parts 1 and 2
2. Activity: This week, take Mrs. George’s advice, and plan a special night for your special man. (If your husband is out of town this week, you can always try it again next week!) Make him a special dinner, or pick out a movie and prepare some treats and plan to spend time with just him. I always like to send Ben a text message throughout the day in the form of an invitation to whatever I have planned so that he can look forward to it all day as well, or make it a complete surprise! I love those too! Have someone watch your kiddos if you have any, or prepare your special time after they’ve gone to sleep. Get excited! This will be fun! Be sure to tag us with the #beebettermovement if you want to share your special plans!
And while you’re at it, please water your plant too this week
3. Verse for memorization: Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(NKJV-New King James Version)
Download for picture is here
I chose this verse because of obvious reasons. We can’t live wanting, but never trying. You can’t want a good marriage, but only put in when you know that you will get back. Selflessness is a wife’s foundation! Adopt that theory, and live in that theory. Only you and God know your marriage, so defend it with honor! If you treasure something, praying for it, uplifting it, protecting it, and loving it, your heart will naturally follow suit. Make every effort to have your heart in your marriage!
4. Discussion Questions: With the overwhelming amount of discussion that has developed in previous weeks I decided not to post any questions this week. Adaptation is an art, and I feel as if the group doing this study isn’t ready for open discussion and divulging of feelings, and that is totally okay! Instead I will offer just a topic sort of like I did last week, but more casual. If you feel compelled to discuss, let us offer one another insight into what makes our husband’s happy! The author gave a few examples in the book, such as keeping the top of the ice box clean, lighting a candle, or picking up toys, but each husband is different, and all of our husbands like something! My hope is that if we point it out and make it known, we will feel more compelled to spoil our husbands with it, which is exactly what we should be doing!
I am always available for questions, whether through email, or through the comments below. Happy studying!