I spent the weekend doing a leadership retreat an awesome group of FUN leaders – at one point we all burst into a kids’ song, “Encourage one another, and build each other up… build each other up… build each other UP!” ( Sorry!)
Somehow most of us were familiar with the song, and the CD – and the scripture from today’s Dare ALSO has a song on the same CD – “Do everything without complaining, do everything without arguing, so that that you may become blameless and pure children of God,” Philippians 2:14-15.
What’s awesome is that I had a number of side conversations with the team members, and several online people while the retreat was going on. God used the opportunity to remind me of something and reveal something new to me. We talked about submission in marriage a little bit, but really spent a good deal of time talking about some of the behaviors of people in the organization. It wasn’t until I went running and had time to be quiet with Him, that He pointed out something obvious – many of the issues and problems that ALL organizations face are due to a lack of submission on the part of the people in the organization.
Hang with me for a minute and you’ll understand something about how this applies to you.
Let’s say you start a small business and hired some people to help you run it. You are the one held responsible for the outcome of the activities the business conducts, but some of your employees won’t come to work on time, so your customers are impacted and have to wait for their service. Maybe it’s a restaurant, and the customers have to wait because the guy scheduled and trained to be the fry cook for the day didn’t show up. OSHA requires training for operating the equipment, so you can’t fry anything until he gets there.
If the customers wait long enough, they are going to get mad. And then they’re going to want to talk to someone.
It won’t be the fry cook.
It will be the manager or owner of the company.
Or maybe some of your employees don’t get their work done on time or correctly, and the customers of your business are negatively impacted. Have you ever been on the receiving end of this? Like if the server lets your food order sit long enough for it to get cold? Or if she brings you the wrong thing?
Or even worse, what if you hired a manager to help you run the business, and the manager decides he’s going to do things differently than you want? What if he decides that instead of being a chicken sandwich restaurant, you should really sell hamburgers instead? What if you spent years developing what you really felt was the best chicken recipe, and you’ve done very well, so well in fact that you have a few restaurants and one day you visit this one particular restaurant only to discover it no longer makes chicken sandwiches?
How would you feel?
What if your stockholders found out? They had no intentions of investing in hamburger restaurants – they wanted the chicken restaurant. You’d have all sorts of issues, including potentially legal ones.
Even if the customers of the restaurant were not displeased, there’s a problem.
And the problem lies in submission and respect for YOU.
There was a time when I had someone on my team that was not interested in doing things the way I felt led by God to do them.
We had a lot of conflict, and honestly, I confess, I didn’t always handle things perfectly well.
But she continually refused to submit to my authority as the leader, continued challenging me in front of others, and was disrespectful enough that it started to undermine my authority and influence with the entire team.
Long story short, we parted ways.
And I felt like I wanted to give up what I was doing because it was all too hard, and nothing I did made it better.
Have you ever felt like that as a parent? Especially when your kids are trying to develop independence as individuals, around their teen years?
One reason we often have conflict with teens is we’re not able to work with them through these changes such that they will still respect our authority as their parents.
Often, we make things worse.
And yes, there are a ton of things we can do as parents, as leaders, that make it easier for people to follow us. But I’m not talking about that today.
In ANY given organization, whether it is family, church, ministry, or business, when people decide they no longer want to support the mission, there’s always conflict.
Sometimes the person responsible can fix it, sometimes they can’t.
In marriage, when the wife communicates a lack of support of the mission, her husband feels like the business owner. This then often sets up the cycle of that breeds divorce. Most times she doesn’t even realize that she’s communicating this way, and in her heart wants to be supportive, but simple things she’s doing feel TO HIM like she’s undermining him, against him, or being disrespectful.
And they become adversaries. And unless they stop the steps that begin divorce, they are in real trouble, or so goes the research.
In marriage, when the husband leads with a “my way or the highway” approach, the wife doesn’t feel like helping the family with the mission. This also begins the process toward divorce.
The thing that sets marriage apart from a business is there is a covenant with God. For the record, I also feel that ministry also fits this if God asks you to start one, although it may not be a vow.
Understand I’m not saying in any way, shape or form that the wife is in a position like an employee would be.
God’s very very clear that she is her husband’s equal.
He does give her a specific charge, however, and that is to submit and respect. God knows that marriage is tough and that it takes men a while to accept their wife’s influence. He gives us this information to help us get our ideas heard.
Know that if you are not submissive to the mission and don’t communicate this respectfully, you are creating conflict in your marriage.
Since God holds the husband accountable as responsible for the marriage (Genesis 3:9-11) and is considered “the head” of the wife (Ephesians 22-24), that puts him “in charge” from a responsibility standpoint.
But guess what? He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He needs his wife’s help.
I also believe God communicated that the husband and wife are co-creators in the family, with the wife being a crucial part to the family’s creation by having family be impossible without her from a physical standpoint. Children cannot even enter the picture (the man can’t even start the business) without her. (Please don’t mis-interpret my intentions here to be anti-adoption or harmful toward women who struggle with infertility – I’m not talking about that at all.) Sorta like a partnership where one guy has the idea and the other guy has the money to make it happen. BOTH are necessary or nothing is created.
I also believe that God took many of his “successful relationship elements” out of the man when He created Eve. I don’t believe He took simple physical characteristics alone, but rather made her different and unique, similar, but special. Man is special, as well, uniquely suited for certain things, different. He could have made Eve from dirt, just like He made Adam and the animals, but I believe He either made man deficit in the first place or removed them and gave those parts to Eve so that man would need woman in a whole host of ways. Our physiology certainly supports that notion, although it is just a thought on my part based on what I’ve read. And given that there are several places where the Bible says it is good for a man to marry, and whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, but an absence of this about what’s good for a woman could be indicative of who is on the bigger receiving end of the blessings!
Our own anecdotal evidence in ministry also strongly suggests that nearly all women are unhappy or disappointed with their marriage relationship in some way. Maybe you are one of them – most would agree that the marriage is more work than the friendships we have with our sisters and girlfriends!
And here’s the really important part – like every great organization needs people so engaged in the mission that they contribute great ideas, work hard to make it all happen, and verbally support the mission, God’s number one role for the wife is “helper” for the husband. This does NOT mean that she “helps” him by being his slave, but rather helps him Holy Spirit/Jesus/God style. The same word to describe these elements of the Trinity is used to describe the wife in the Bible – “helper.” That’s awesome! Careful about pride here, though.
Notice God created Himself in community, as He did the first organization, the family. And Eve is an integral part of that.
So today, as we walk through Dare 6 as wives, let’s not complain or argue about the things we’re doing, but instead, become blameless and pure children of God, by staying on mission. His mission. And in our families, that means not being contemptuous, disrespectful, argumentative and rude in the way we approach our husbands when we disagree. We make his responsibility easier for him by presenting our differing ideas (notice I’m not saying not to have them, nor to keep them quiet!) in a way that is easier for him to receive and hear – by speaking the “language of respect!”
What about you? Are you struggling in this area? What have you been learning?
And join us in the journey by doing The Respect Dare with us. We start Dare 7 next week, doing just one at a time, dialoguing with you as you journey.
And if you are parenting little people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year, or schedule one of our weekend retreats. 2014 is nearly full, but 2015 might be an option. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner. Come join the discussions!
Love to you,