I have a dear friend whose mother is mentally ill. The verbal assaults and criticisms my friend endures not only surprise but sadden me. When asked about it, however, my friend has an interesting response: “I know how she is. Her words don’t really hurt me, because she doesn’t know any better. Yes, I wish things were different and yes, I want more, but I can’t have that, so I just need to remember what I’m dealing with and not take her behavior personally.”
One of my kids has a super-soft spot in the heart for children with special needs of any kind. The gentleness, care, and compassion overflow for these special little people. When dealing with a sibling, however, there are times when one could wonder if compassion existed anywhere in this kid’s heart. When I asked about this, the answer returned that sibling “should know better,” whereas the special needs kids were just doing their best.
I find these things interesting.
As we launch into doing The Respect Dare together, and as the January Ecourse gets ready to start on Monday, before we even get started, yesterday we briefly considered our motives.
And I know I upset a few folks yesterday, and I’m sorry, but it is a question worth asking. “Are we obeying God’s Word because we want to fulfill the purpose of our lives, to glorify Him, or because we’re trying to purchase affection, or make our lives work?”
And you need to know there’s more to it than that.
Yes, we need to have the right motives. Yes, we need to be obeying God, learning to respect our husband because it is the right thing to do (even if it DOES change a marriage for the better in most cases). Ephesians 5:33 is clear – unless, of course, you don’t believe the Bible is a solid source of direction for our lives.
And yes, we need to have the correct expectations of ourselves and our husband (or a mentally ill mother) as in, not expect them to respond positively, not try to purchase affection, but rather expect him to be where he is in his journey with the Father – and leave it up to the two of them to sort it out.
I want to talk for a moment about hope.
1 Peter 3:1-6 talks in depth about putting our hope in God. The women in history who did this were beautiful to Him. And their husbands, whether believers who didn’t follow, or unbelievers, were won over by their gentle and quiet spirit.
These are women who spoke the Truth in love (which just to be clear, means your heart and motives are in the right place – there’s no pride, no intent to hurt, no bitterness or resentment – that’s how you can tell).
They didn’t lie, but they also built their husband up, encouraged him, appreciated him, respected him.
And they had hope – in what God would do, in His timing.
The bottom line is that it is healthy to hope, as long as your hope is in the right thing. It is healthy to want more for your marriage, for your husband, for yourself. This is different than having impure motives, or unreasonable expectations.
The sanctification process includes a “holy discontent” with sin in ourselves – and in our relationships. So know it is okay to want more, to long for health in your marriage, your husband, your parenting, in all your relationships, actually. But this is different from having expectations of other people’s behaviors, or attempts to control or manipulate, and health in terms of our relationships is discussed in Titus 2 – which, coincidentally, is also the chapter where older women are encouraged to teach the younger women how to love (friendship-style) their husbands!
Does this make sense?
I’m eager to get started.
Dare you to join us here by subscribing to the blog, especially if you are doing the dares with a group of women! Double dog dare you to share what He’s teaching YOU about expectations, hope, and motives in the comment section below, today.
Glad you are on the journey with us.
Love to you,