“Those are pretty flowers. Who are they for?” he asked.
“Me. I had a horrible week and no one noticed, so I bought them for myself to cheer me up – they were the cheap ones at the grocery, so no worries, okay?” she responded.
She knew he just didn’t know what to say. It was okay.
She had thanked God for the jobs that provided and the knowledge that her husband wouldn’t mind if she spent $7 on herself this way.
“I’m sorry I didn’t think of that,” he said, frowning.
“No problem. I didn’t expect you to, and it’s not exactly something cool to ask for,” she replied calmly.
She knew he was processing. He probably hadn’t remembered that long ago, she loved getting flowers.
She knew he remembered now.
An email arrived, suggesting their tween girl sleep on the floor on a trip since the bed and breakfast didn’t have accommodations for all of them in the same room.
She knew he didn’t realize their daughter would feel slighted and that the experience would be demeaning to her. She knew he did not realize his little girl was growing up, and as her mom, she knew their daughter would not be thrilled with “camping” on the floor. Her brothers were much too old for that, as well.
Hmm…what to do?
James 1:19 again, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and even slower to become angry.”
Proverbs 31:12 also, “She brings him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”
Ephesians 4:24 last, “and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Hmm…all precious to God.
Righteous judgment taught her that her while husband did not know the right thing here, it would also be also just as wrong of her to be condemning in her communication.
She no longer felt condemnation, anyway, but compassion toward a smart man who struggled to deeply connect and communicate how much he loved those around him.
The “old her” knew she could react with anger at the insensitive nature of the question he posed.
The “new her” knew that most men simply lacked empathy and needed to learn it. She certainly had her own opportunities for growth in many areas.
The “new her” also knew this was an opportunity to be a help to her husband and sons, calling them to a higher standard.
So she replied, “I know you have thought through this extensively, and I appreciate all the trip-planning you are doing! I’m sure it is a lot of work with lots to consider. I remember the days when our little girl really enjoyed those “camping” experiences. I remember the boys loving it when they were younger, too. I miss those days, don’t you? We sure had a lot of fun! What you probably aren’t aware of is that she is in a growth period emotionally, where she is figuring out her identity in stronger, teenager-type ways, and I think we are past the days where her sleeping on the floor would be acceptable. It is likely she would view our asking her to do that now as demeaning, and I see an opportunity for the gentlemen in our family to rise to the occasion to communicate value to her, by not making her be the one to sleep on the floor.” (emphasis mine)
She hit “send.”
Discussion ensued later at home. He agreed and they discussed options.
She knew that years before, without her track record of respect and submission, argument and sarcastic retort would have ruled the day – for both of them. But she had hung in there for over a decade of hard lessons learned and mutual respect prevailed in their relationship.
Thank you, Father.
Dare you to dig deeply daily into God’s Word such that His voice is louder than the others. Dare you to read Proverbs daily, growing in wisdom and maturity as you continue to age.
Dare you to refuse to believe the lies that “respect” and “submission” mean becoming a doormat, invisible and even more alone than you are now in your marriage.
You are your husband’s equal. Yes, if you can’t agree, choose submission, and be mature enough to choose your battles wisely, and don’t be a chatty woman with an opinion on everything, running off at the mouth all the time.
Know that the above is just a place on someone’s journey. Dare you to believe that place is possible for you – where you allow God to take care of your needs when others miss the opportunity, and where you are mature and healthy in the relationships you have.
Think strength and dignity.
And listen and obey His Word. It will change everything.
But don’t give up on your marriage because you’ve “tried everything” and it hasn’t “worked.”
I’ll bet you don’t have your identity wrapped up in Jesus Christ’s opinion of you, and “strength and dignity” while doing “respect and submission” are foreign concepts to you. If you are like most of us, myself included, you’ve gotten in God’s way of working with your husband by not focusing on your own obedience. Stop doing that! Join us and start figuring this out – it’s where life abundant is.
Spend the next ten years being schooled with us in relationships. There’s plenty of room and we’re glad you are here. It’s a journey paved with tears, but totally worth it because there’s peace, joy, comfort and contentment in the middle and on the other side. Don’t give up just because things are hard. They’re supposed to be.
Love to you,