On June 10, 2013, I guest-posted the following article on Jennifer’s blog – UnbrokenWoman.com.
Proverbs 31:28-29 says “Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Like the husband of the Proverbs 31 woman, I LOVE to encourage and bless my wife with words. She enriches my life so much, and I just can’t be quiet about it!
Hello to you, friends of the Unbroken Woman! My name is Jason, and I send you greetings from the great state of Virginia, where Tiffani and I make our home. She and I make up the two halves of the SongSix3 ministry, also known as “My Beloved Is Mine.” We were married in August 1987, we have 6 living children, and 3 more waiting for us in heaven. The Unbroken Woman approached me a couple of weeks ago to see if I’d be willing to share some of the ways my wife makes me feel respected and appreciated. As I never want to miss a chance to praise my lady publicly -(who strives hard to emulate the infamous Proverbs 31 wife)- I pray that what I share with you today will give you new ideas, and perhaps strengthen your current attempts at showing your husband respect and admiration.
Ephesians 5 is a fantastic chapter that covers a lot of behavioral issues in a short couple of paragraphs. Verses 22-33 really speak well to how husbands and wives should treat each other, and are VERY often where we take people whom we may be counseling. Here is what it says: “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”
In April 2012, I wrote a post called “As Christ Loved The Church“. I specifically addressed Ephesians 5:25 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…” This post was of course, intended for the husbands. (Feel free to read it yourselves, and share with your man!) Today, I would like to sort of zero in on verse 33 – “Nevertheless, each individual among you is also to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”
I know (Oh HOW WELL I know!) that there are some men out there – men who even call themselves Christians – who are very quick to hammer their wives with “Respect me! Submit to me! The Bible says you must!” All the while, they are completely ignoring the heart of the message, which when taken in full context show that God intended marriage to be a LOVING TWO-WAY STREET. But when a man who truly loves the Lord understands these verses for what they really are, and begins to live them out in his everyday life, it frees his wife up to see her man with the eyes of God. Many years ago I was at a Family Life “I Still Do” conference when I heard Crawford Lorritts talking about this very thing… I will never forget his words. He said (paraphrased) “Husband, if you are hammering your wife with ‘Submit! Submit! You’ve just got to submit to me!” then I would say to you, YOU need to give your wife something to submit TO! And what you’re doing right now IS NOT IT!
No, Pastor Lorritts was not in any way advocating becoming a weak-minded little wuss of a man. He was definitely telling men to LOVE and SERVE their wives in the authority of Christ, giving themselves up for her – as Christ did for His church. A man who learns to live like this has the potential to become a giant in the eyes of the woman who loves him.
Now before anyone gets the idea that it’s ok to say “alright, I’ll respect my husband after he learns to treat me that way…” I would ask that you re-read verses 22-33 again. Nowhere in there is such behavior given the green light. Our spouse’s wrong behavior NEVER gives us the right to behave wrongly. Each one of us will give our own account before God one day. He will ask us “What did YOU do with My Word?” We will not be able to hide behind our spouse, or how they treated us. These verses tell both men and women what their part is in the marriage. Our job is to obey God’s Word, regardless of what our spouse does.
So, with all that being said, am I always a solid fortress of Godly man-behavior? Well, I certainly try. But I also fail – often. What makes a Christian a success? That you stand up – one more time than you fell down. If I were to have a personal motto, that would be it!
I’m going to leave all the ways I try to love my wife for Tiffani to write about, at a point when children and farm life don’t have her so frazzled! So, what are some ways she shows me respect & admiration? Read on…
She cooks for me! Tiffani was brought up in a home where mom didn’t do much cooking, and her family ate out a lot. On the other hand, my mom taught me to cook early in life and I’ve always enjoyed doing it. We used to have a fun little joke between us, that Jason would toss Tiffani out of “his” kitchen. (Yes, it was all in fun!) But somewhere along the way, my dear wife decided she was going to get this cooking thing down, and she has done a WONDERFUL job of learning how to make great tasting meals – and even using healthy ingredients!
She homeschools our children. She spends hours of each weekday in the training of our 4 young ones still living at home. They are 11, 8, 7 and 5 years old. Living on a farm (with animals) offers up a multitude of life events that become awesome teaching moments. And the nicest thing is that we know EXACTLY what they’re learning, and approve of it all. No need for “permission slips” for questionable events!
She frees me up to minister. Ministry around here happens in many different forms. We have the “My Beloved Is Mine” ministry to run online – we send out daily encouragements via Twitter & Facebook, and (less often) write uplifting posts for the blog. We also minister to marriages within our own local church body… this means face to face talking, and the occasional emergency meeting with a spouse in crisis. I am also the senior worship leader in our church – I manage the scheduling of Sunday music teams & set lists which consumes several hours each week. Tiffani works hard to ensure that I have the time I need to apply to these things – all done in addition to my normal day job. She even freed me up to write this post for you today!
She keeps hot coffee in the pot! What else can I say about this one… Our coffee pot is pretty much running from 4am to 10pm, each and every day. It’s what keeps a worship leader going! 😉
My leadership of our family is important to her. Last November I wrote a post called “Thankful” where I told the story of the purchasing of our farm. I won’t re-tell the story here, but suffice it to say that Tiffani told me to buy this farm without she herself ever having set foot on it before. The reasons she gave showed me that without question, God had been teaching her to trust her husband. I was absolutely amazed at this turn-around from her. Read the post for the full story.
She asks me to pray FOR and WITH her. Those who follow us on Twitter & Facebook know that I am a HUGE advocate of couples praying together, and especially husbands taking the lead. Was I always this way? Nope. It was a foreign concept to me, and I know that a majority of men feel the same way. But some of the struggles we went through really caused me to rethink this particular area of our life together. These struggles are documented in my post “Do You Pray With Your Wife?” Though I do prefer to just take her hand and pray with her (BEFORE she feels she has to ask), it also feels great to have her say “Jason, would you please pray for me? Like, NOW?” It whispers to the deepest part of my heart, “I trust you.”
Tiffani gives herself to me… heart, mind & body. Having gone through some of the most serious fires a marriage can experience (including adultery – on both sides), learning what it means to truly be “one flesh” as spoken of in Genesis 2:24-25 has been a process for us. We have fought (bitterly at times), we have screamed ourselves hoarse while cursing at each other, we have argued over things from our past – things that hurt TREMENDOUSLY. I won’t sugarcoat this… adultery feels like someone has ripped your heart from your chest and stomped it into oblivion, yet leaving you alive to see and feel every hurt as it happens. It is pain unlike ANY other marital difficulty you can go through. But one of the greatest things that God gives us is HIS ability to love and forgive. As WE remember that God forgave US of our sins, it enables us to forgive our spouse for the pain they’ve caused us. These things happened to us years ago, and even though the devil tries his hardest to remind us of them OFTEN, it is our choice to leave those thoughts at the foot of the cross and remember that we CHOOSE to love and serve each other, to glorify God by honoring what He’s given us… each other. When Tiffani gives herself to me sexually, I am standing on top of the world. I think, I can’t possibly deserve this woman’s love… but here she is, giving her heart and body to me with passion. Wow. My.God.is.AWESOME, and I am SO glad that He chose to share Tiffani with me for this lifetime.
There are SO many other ways I could name that Tiffani makes me feel respected, loved & admired. This list is merely the base of the mountain. I’ll be watching the comments below, so I’d love to hear how you ladies show respect & admiration to your own husbands! If you have questions for me, please feel free to drop your thoughts into a comment, and I’ll do my best to respond to them quickly. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to read this post!
Jennifer, thank you so much for this opportunity to speak to your friends here on UnbrokenWoman.com! I pray that these words will minister to someone, and help them to better their marriage.
In Christ’s love,
Image used with permission from David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net