No matter what we read online, no matter how godly it sounds, no matter how much it resonates with us, we go dangerously astray when we fail to filter the advice and views we receive through the reality of the man God has given to us in the covenant of marriage. Further, if a husband is not asking his wife to do something that is clearly sinful, then she is to submit. The only issues where there clear Biblical directives for how we are to interact with our husbands are the issues of love and fidelity, sex, and respect/submission. You don’t have to take my advice on any of these (though you can find it here and here), but you do have to listen to your own husband and act accordingly.
We must also appreciate our men for who they are and not attempt to squeeze them into the mold of some blogger’s husband, a man we don’t even know. If your husband needs a half hour of down time at the end of the day when he first comes in the door, let him have it. It doesn’t matter if you read somewhere that an online Titus 2 mentor and her husband take time at the beginning of the evening to catch up on each others day. If it works for them that’s wonderful for them. It’s better for you to wait until the time that’s best for your husband. Appreciate your husband’s strengths and you will be less likely to look at him through critical eyes as a result of what you’ve read on another woman’s blog.
I realize some issues are much bigger than the one I described above, but I believe the principle still holds. I can hardly count the number of sisters I have encountered since I started blogging who have either commented or emailed me about the fact that they envy my large family. How they wish their husbands would relent and consent to having more children! I hope they can one day experience the joys of a large family as well, but I often also wonder: how many of these women were completely content to parent their 2 or 3 or 4 children before they stumbles onto the Christian mommy blogs? More than a few, I’m sure.
This is not to debate the issue of whether or not birth control is Biblical or not. If you want my opinion on the issue of children as a blessing you can read this post and leave a comment there. I implore you not to begin a debate on the issue of birth control here. That is not what we’re aiming to discuss. Rather, this is a discussion of that little phrase in Titus 2:5 that reads as follows:
“…obedient to their own husbands…”
Don’t you marvel sometimes at the wisdom and simplicity of the Scripture? God, who certainly could have given a concrete list of do’s and do not’s for every matter under the sun, chose instead to advise us to work these matters out in the context of our individual marriages. Even in those areas where you may feel your husband is off base Biblically, I would advise to pray and approach your husband with an open heart rather than a holier than thou attitude. Remember the admonition of Proverbs 21:19:
It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.
I was raised in a frugal family. My husband was, well…not. In our earlier years of marriage, I thought he was wasteful and he thought I was cheap. After many years of trial and error, we reached a comfortable balance financially. I have learned to appreciate that there are instances when you really do get what you pay for. He has learned that there are times when you have to prioritize. He’s aggressive about saving more and I’m less fearful when it comes to money.
Everything is going great. However, on several blogs one year I saw pledges of commitment to giving only handmade gifts that Christmas season. I could literally feel my heart rate increase with excitement over the prospect of a truly frugal Christmas. I could hardly wait for my husband to come home so that I could run it by him.
Just as quickly however, reality set in. This was simply NOT going to fly in my house. We’d already decided what we’ll spend and what we were going to buy the girls. A scaled back Christmas was already on the horizon as extended our new, more frugal ways into the holiday season, which is the one time of year when we were more inclined in the past to throw caution to the wind. Not racking up debt mind you, but still spending more cash. NOW I wanted to push it even farther by springing this handmade idea? Uh-uh.
Maybe with much prayer and more time to prepare, it might work in the future. But I know my husband. He doesn’t change over night unless he has concrete biblical reason to do so. Furthermore, it’s unfair of me to place some other woman’s expectations on my own husband. He has never done that to me. Probably because he doesn’t spend an hour every day clicking around on blogs about Biblical manhood!
Again, please know that I am not suggesting that we can’t introduce new ideas to our men as we become more enlightened and educated in any number of areas as a result of reading on line. If we have sound Biblical reasons for doing so, I think it’s a good idea. While I firmly believe that the best way to fulfill the Titus 2 mandate is in person, it would be foolish of me to assert that we can’t grow and learn something while reading edifying sites on the Internet. Of course we can! If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be here.
We do need to keep in mind however, that God has called for our husbands to be the heads of our homes. If our husbands are following the Lord, then we have a responsibility to joyfully follow their lead. Once you have made your requests and desires known, if he doesn’t respond right away, commit the matter to prayer and trust that if it’s meant to be, it’ll be when the time is right. If your husband is not a believer, you’re still to follow his lead, but you have bigger issues to pray about than whether or not to have another baby, homeschool, or even whether or not you can quit your job next week.
I sincerely believe that people who know you and your husband personally and who are invested in the success of your marriage are in the best position to offer advice that is anything more than suggestive if it isn’t clearly articulated in Scripture.
Now watch me offer prescriptive advice next week and have a reader call me out on that.
This post is my contribution to Wifey Wednesday, hosted by Sheila at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. Click on over there for more wifely encouragement.