Source for this image here.
Now regular readers here will know that Papa Bear most definitely has the key to my heart! I think I am a very lucky Mama Bear indeed to be married (and therefore owned by) such a caring, generous, attentive, hard working and HANDSOME man! And I'm sure that he feels the same way about me - for he tells me so every day.Our society makes it very easy for us to focus on each other's faults. It's all part of the "blame culture" which encourages everyone to cast off responsibility for their own failings or faults (and we all have them) to other people. We're led to believe that we're not culpable when things go wrong - that it's always the other person's fault, and not ours. This, coupled with the way that the marriage institution is no longer cherished as a life-long union by many people, means that it is all too easy to focus on our husband's faults and not on his qualities, and on how we can try to get him to change, and mould him into something else - some ideal we've seen or heard about, or that we believe other people's husbands are like.
In fact it's not possible to change other people's behaviour. All we can do is look at ways to change our own behaviour instead. As wives and helpmeets, it's not our role to be telling our husband how we'd like him to behave, or blaming him when things aren't the way we'd like them to be in our relationship. Remember what the Bible tells us -
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. " (Ephesians 5: 22 - 24).
Now of course, many of us Christian wives have this passage of Scripture imprinted on our hearts already - I know I do - but how difficult is it to put this into practise? In a world where we're encouraged by everyone around us to do the very opposite of what God exhorts us to do, it's so easy to start thinking rebelliously, and begin to believe what society says, instead of what the Bible does. And because these worldly views are reinforced everywhere that we go, it is very easy also find that our disobedience is reinforced by the behaviour and views of other people.
However, it's also easy to counteract this! One of the best ways - and the first way, if you're already having difficulty in this area of your marriage life - is to store in your heart some of the passages of Scripture which will help to reinforce the Biblical teaching about our roles as wives - and about the way we should behave. Proverbs 31 (verses 10 - 31) is an excellent starting point, as is the passage I have quoted above. Or you could try First Corinthians - the whole of Chapter 7 is a wealth of wonderful guidance and encouragement. There are many other passages too and one way to become more familiar with your Bible, especially if it does not have a concordance, is to spend some time studying themes like this, and noting down your observations and reflections.
There's another easy way to help you really appreciate your husband for the wonderful man that he is (he must have some qualities - or you wouldn't have married him!) and that is even simpler. Why not try to make a list of reasons why you think he's so precious? I find this a lovely way to really focus on the many qualities that my husband has. I won't share them here (that would embarrass him even more than what I've already written!) but one thing that I do often do, is when he has a birthday, I will write a list inside his birthday card, of all the qualities that he has, one for each year of the age he is celebrating that birthday! Now of course Papa Bear is still very young (he he!) so his lists aren't very long - but just think if you were celebrating your husband's 60th or 70th birthday, how lovely it would be to think of that many reasons to thank him for choosing you! Every day there are little things that perhaps go unnoticed - because you're so use to them, or maybe because they don't seem that special, until you stop and think about it - that you could begin to appreciate. Does your husband take good care of you and your children? Does he look after your home and your car if you have one? Is he successful at his career - or more importantly, hard working? What about caring for your pets or livestock? Has he some special talents that you admire? Is he very practical, and good at fixing things? How about his sense of justice, or generosity? Or does he have high standing in your Church or wider community? Is he modest, courageous, patient, resourceful, wise? Perhaps he uncomplainingly bears many difficult burdens each day through ill health or material concerns, or is always willing to help you when you are struggling with your own? These are things that we may take for granted - but we shouldn't! Let's take some time to sit and consider just how lucky we are! Our husbands chose us, not anyone else. They wanted to marry us because they could see all our special qualities. Now let's tell them how joyful we are, that they did!
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all". (Ephesians 4: 1 - 6).