Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Husbands, Love Your Wives, v. 1
I have been thinking a great deal about love and marriage this year, for some reason. And - hey! I have a Masters degree in Theology of Marriage and Family! The least I can do is muse on the subject on my little blog.
Notice the title -"v.1". I hope to write about it from time-to-time. Not that I have a plan. I probably should not be allowed to write anything until I am fully awake (which I suspect I am not, judging by the heinous typos I am making. And hoping I catch. Sorry if I don't.).
And listen, I know it goes both ways, but for now, I am JUST writing about husbands loving wives.
The Gospel reading this past Sunday is one that actually makes me think about marriage:
"What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?"
Or, as we often hear - "or hand him a stone when he asks for bread".
The same applies to husbands and wives.
What husband among you would give your wife nothing when she asks for more time with you? Or a lecture when she needs your listening ear? Or coldness when she needs more intimacy? Or an argument when she expresses a need?
It is much more appalling to think of handing a child a stone when he is starving, asking for bread, than it is to imagine a husband not meeting the emotional needs of his spouse.. However, many wives "starve" in marriage and receive stones or scorpions in response to their requests for emotionally nourishing bread.
I know there are many men who seem to understand that their wives may have emotional needs (talking, encouragement, support, attention, affection) that demand a lot more attention that what they themselves need to feel whole (even if they do not "understand" the reasons for these needs); however, there are also many men out there that are so confused by these needs, or the frequency of these needs, or the depth of these needs that their response to their wives' emotional needs is the exact opposite of what she really needs.
A stone for bread. A scorpion for an egg. A snake for a fish.
The fruit of this is seen in the quality of the relationship. A wife who is emotionally starving is rarely a happy woman.
I like the think (okay, maybe giggle) that the constantly complaining wife of Proverbs is actually one who just needs her husband to pay her some da$#ed attention! I like to think of this series of statements not as a warning about marrying a grouchy woman, but a warning to husbands to care for their wives in every way. If they do not - even if they believe they do - they will know it. For one, their wives will usually tell them, but if they choose not to believe her, then they will be living with the consequences:
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife. - Prov. 21:9
It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful wife. Prov. 21:19
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife. Prov. 25:24
A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike; Prov. 27:15
It is almost like God is giving wives permission to make their husbands' lives a living hell if they chose to not address their wives' emotional needs! I know, I know - He isn't. I think.
(Or, I could be watching too many superhero movies, where a kind-of geeky under-dog gets special powers proceeds to annoy the heck out of those who ignored her before. Or, as previously stated, I could be writing before I am fully awake. Have mercy on me.)
A Christian wife, who look to her husband to love her as Christ loves the church, may even find her relationship with God challenged when her husband - who may be a good man in most ways - neglects her emotional needs.
The danger for women, of course, is to be overly-emotional or overly-demanding of attention and affection. No one likes a leech, girls. Don't suck the life out of your man!
Husbands and wives are called to model Christ's love to one another. They are to be Jesus to one another. We need to think about how we are representing Jesus in our marriage.
And pray. A lot.