50/50 marriage

Ephesians 5:21 – Authority is Delegated, Not Divided, Part 3

  • “Officer, I was only doing 5 kms over the speed limit and besides there’s no kids even at school this time of day, you’re not being fair!” Says the motorist to the police officer that just wrote him a ticket.
  • “I won’t wear these ones, I want Nikes.” Says the child to the parent that only has $100 left for groceries for the 4 of them.
  • “We’re not going to listen to you, we’ll choose the plays.” Says the players to the coach.
  • “You’re preaching it the wrong way, you should do it this way.” Says the congregation to the Pastor.

* * *

Wherever you turn in the world, there’s always a design for keeping the law – rules to maintain order, or acceptable codes of conduct.  We don’t get to break the laws of the world because we don’t like them, think we know better, find them inconvenient, believe they’re unfair, or think they don’t apply because we are the exception.

Nobody lives in a void so long as we’re on earth. Unless you’re Chuck Noland from Cast Away, you belong to some type of social construct that requires order.  For any sect of society to move forward in a cohesive group, there’s a hierarchy of power that’s been designated, by someone.  There are positions for leaders and followers in every group.

The laws, whether for our natural world or the spiritual world, are in place for a reason and when they’re not followed, they hold consequences.

The construct of marriage is no exception.

The Failure of Mutual Submission

Marriage is the most foundational structure of organization that we have; it also has a hierarchy of power to enable smooth function, unity and forward growth to its members. (Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 2:12-15; 1 Peter 3:1)  If we remove this authority structure and apply mutual submission, shared power, to any social structure … especially marriage … it devolves instead of moving forward.

God knew we’d need an example of this.  So, at the very beginning of the marriage narrative, He gave us a baseline of how NOT to structure the one flesh relationship – He showed us the failure of mutual submission in Genesis 3:6:  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

“… she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”  BOOMFailure.  Now we live in the consequence of it: death.

Why would anyone want to follow a marriage paradigm that was the catalyst for humanity’s spiritual death?  Adam was right there with her and had the responsibility and authority to assume the power, but he didn’t.  Instead, he shared it mutually, by deferring to her.

Adam submitted to Eve by following her lead instead of doing what he knew was right.

Mutual Submission:  Peer to Peer

I cannot find a verse instructing a husband to submit – to his wife, or instructing a husband to learn about submission – from his wife.  Submitting to one another is for all of us when we’re under the hierarchy as a group.

For instance, law enforcement hierarchy: the police are the role with the authority and the law applies equally to everyone else.  No one has more power within the civilian group, the law applies equally, all civilians submit to it.  Those are the roles that are being played.  Not the equality of any particular person.

Or, the education system.  Schools have changed a lot since the 1800s (see here and here), but what hasn’t changed is the hierarchal structure of the classroom:  The teacher is still the position of authority in the classroom.  Mutual submission is for the group of students that are under his/her authority.

Or, a church.  The Pastor is the head of the church.  He’s the one that prepares the sermon for Sunday and delivers it from the pulpit.  The congregation doesn’t instruct the Pastor by exchanging out the structure of power to equalize the subordinate role of the congregation with the authority role of the Pastor; mutual submission is for the congregation.

Mutual Submission:  Usurps Power

When you remove the governing structures of authority and submission, the result is never order and unity – it’s chaos and division. The police are never in submission to the motorist.  The guards are never in submission to the inmates.  The coach is the authority, the athletes submit.  The surgeon is never in submission to the nurse, the head chef always leads the sous chef … the patient never tells the EMS how to drive the ambulance or what roads to take.

Regardless of who is in the role – the role itself has the power of authority.  Can you imagine your child deciding that they don’t go to school anymore?  And you must submit because you believe in mutual submission of the family structure.

… our world just doesn’t function that way.  Someone sits in the position of power with the authority to make final decision – the same person carries all the responsibility.

Power by Proxy

Before I was married, I used to work for Corrections Canada.  When my boss was away, I ran the office for him – he proxied his authority to me before he left.  I sent memos and letters, sent and received inmate files, made phone calls; all on his behalf.  When he returned to the office, I stepped out of the position of authority, back into my designated role under his authority.  The name for this action of aligning yourself under an authority is called, hupotasso.  From Vine’s Dictionary, hupo means “under,” tasso means “to arrange.” – primarily a military term that denotes a position of subordination; our English word:  to submit.

Authority isn’t divisible – it’s delegated …

When Darrell arrives at work, he’s just moved into a different hierarchical paradigm:  he’s no longer the one with all the authority as he is in marriage and family.  He’s now in submission to the owner of the company.  However, his boss has transferred authority to him so when he steps into the plant, the men are in submission to him.  Not because he’s Darrell, but because of the position he fills by ownership’s authority: Plant Manager.

When my husband leaves for work in the morning, I step into that position for him.  In fact, refusing that proxy of authority is not optional for me – as his wife, I become the guard of the house (oikouros) in his absence.  As an unfortunate side note, the English translations have diminished the capacity of the oikouros by redefining the position to mean ‘what the wife does’ instead of ‘who she is.’  Primarily, I become Darrell’s eyes and ears while he’s away.  I am a guard – I do the domestics.

In his absence and with his full authority – he proxies me his power.  It’s not my decision to just take it because I want it; I receive it as a responsibility.  Nor do we share it, I’m acting on his behalf.  When he returns to the sphere of our marriage, the authority also returns to him.

Any hierarchy of authority has nothing to do with equality or fairness, and everything to do with positional structure of roles.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Eph 5:22-24)

Christ died for the church – He never submitted to her

Jesus submitted to God by doing His will by coming to earth to establish His headship by defeating death.  Founding His church on earth was the act of leadership … not submission.  Appointing the apostles as the foundational layer of His church was His first act of leadership; it was done with the full power of God’s authority.

The only time Jesus practiced submission on earth was in acknowledging the hierarchy of power within the family:  The authority of His parents.  (Luke 2:51)

Jesus is the head, the apostles are the body

Our clear example of how marriage functions isn’t how we broke it in Genesis – it’s the demonstration of Christ’s submission to God, and the relational dynamic between Jesus and His apostles.

If I want a clear example of how a wife should submit to her own husband, I need to follow the example of the body, the apostles who were the first members of ‘The Church,’ submitted to Jesus.

Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Eph 5:24)

The apostles never shared authority of headship with Jesus, He led them.  In fact, Jesus corrected two of them for thinking they could sit at His level.  Not because He thought He was better and they were lesser, but because He knew they would not be able to handle what He was going to do; He told them no to protect them.

Mutuality in relationship will never happen while we’re on this earth – as long as we are in human form, our fleshly nature will always get in the way.  The equality that mutual submission seeks will only be found in heaven … when all sin has been removed.  It’s not safe here on earth, in Satan’s world, that’s why God has given us structures to follow.

SOUL-utions

  • Stop thinking that your submission depends on your husband’s ability to daily emulate Christ’s execution.  Jesus didn’t die every day for his apostles, he died once for every believer’s redemption. 
  • Start studying true submission by following the pattern established by the founders:  The Apostles.  Understand how they responded to Jesus and interacted with Him.  How they trusted and obeyed Him.

 

 

 

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Ephesians 5:21 – The Muck-up Continues, Part 2

After reading PART 1, Ephesians 5:21 – The Muck-up, it’s obvious that we (Darrell & Robyn) aren’t fans of the egalitarian paradigm, it almost killed the both of us and our marriage.  In retrospect, we found it to be nothing more than a mechanism to negotiate a tally count of 50/50 – a way to gauge perceived equality and fairness.

The egalitarian paradigm appears to equalize power under the guise of sharing it.  But what it does instead is, systematically neutralize the power found in the role of a wife* – her femininity, by:

  • FEEDING HER FLESH:  It requires that we watch each other for fair treatment.  All of us have a battle between the flesh and the spirit that rages inside of us; the flesh demands equality for self, the spirit demands equality for others.  You could be right.  You might even be right, but your man won’t hear it** from you, he’s been instructed to remove your spots and wrinkles – the church doesn’t wash Christ, He washes her. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
  • KEEPING HER FEARFUL:  At the very least it’s immature faith – it’s childishness to believe we know what’s best instead of just exercising a little humility and acknowledging that we’ll probably be the ones to be deceived.  At most, it demeans your husband, it’s foolish to seek to govern over him the way you would a toddler – as if you’re training him (1 Tim 2:13-14).  At worst, it’s seeking to control even God because you don’t trust Him to work it out.
  • LOCKING HER INTO PROVISIONAL GIVING:  Keeping an eye for equality and fairness chips away at true generosity and kindness – it’ll be impossible for either of you to just to receive and enjoy the gift.  Generally, women are the more detail oriented of the two genders, that mental tracking and measuring spills over onto everything including every act of generosity and kindness, forcing suspicion with unspoken conditional strings.  Giving becomes restricted to depend on how your husband gives.  Instead of becoming more Christlike and living from the Spirit (1 Cor 13:7), you become more human-like – living from your flesh.

We’re still on earth – not in heaven

Trying to create utopia through equality on earth, thinking this foundation of marriage will set the stage for happiness is a recipe for disillusionment and disaster.  When it comes to humans, the world is a broken place, there’s widespread unfairness, inequality, and injustice.  We did that, not God.  We broke each other and the world when we stepped out of God’s hierarchy trying to make it better by our own methods (Gen 3:6-7).  Finding fair reciprocity in any relationship on earth is difficult, still, we strive for it. (Rom 12:16-21)

But it’s not going to happen in marriage, you can’t reciprocate with someone you are connected to.  One flesh means connected – marriage is two becoming one, it’s synergy. … not tit-for-tat.  Think:  three-legged race – there’s not 4 legs anymore, but 3 … two of the legs have become one.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s still not a natural world full of designed order that we can see.  Nature follows its design – a dandelion will always produce more dandelions. The environment follows its design – the moon will always control the tide. Even though these systems are complex they’re also clear and concise.  They are not equal, they follow a design of strategy created for a purpose – just like humans.  We were also created for a purpose, and it’s not earthly living.  We were created to live in the eternal:  in heaven.

With the focus on equalizing the gender roles, the egalitarian paradigm lends itself to a lot of comparing of who’s doing what in the roles of husband and wife, all in the name of fairness – even though we’re told not to compare ourselves to anyone except Christ (Gal 6:4).  In order to make sure that the 50/50 of no one being ‘in charge’ is maintained, the watchful eye of equality usurps Christ’s position as King of the marriage.

However, with a complementarian view, it’s about God, me and the role of wife that I willingly accepted the day I got married.  It’s not reciprocation – I don’t get to blame him and say, when he’s a better husband, I’ll be a better wife.  In her book, The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian, relays how she tried to get God’s attention off herself and onto her husband by praying, God, look at him!  Look what he’s doing!  Just look at how he treats me!  And God kept saying back to her, Stormie, look at yourself.  Look at what you are doing.  Just look at how you treat him.  (If you’ve not read the book, you should.  If you’ve read it, you know I was paraphrasing to make a point.)

Pleasing God in my role as a wife while I’m here on earth, has nothing to do with how my man fulfills his role of husband.  This technique of blame was already eliminated by Adam, he tried to pawn off his behavior by making God the excuse!  Eve also tried to excuse her choice by blaming Satan:

The man said,

“The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, SHE gave me the fruit, and I ate.”

The woman said,

“The SERPENT outwitted and deceived me, and I ate.”

(Genesis 3:12-13)

… God didn’t accept excuses from them – and He won’t accept them from us.

My role, his role … God does the growing

It was through complementarianism that we each began to thrive in our own rite:  me as a wife through respect and submission and Darrell as a husband through leadership and love.  The more we follow the complementarian paradigm the better spouses we become.  The better each one of us gets at our own roles – not concerning ourselves with what the other is doing wrong – the stronger God makes our marriage.  I’m not responsible for making our marriage better; Darrell is not responsible for making our marriage better – God does the growing:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. (1 Cor 3:6-7)

SOUL-utions

-A marriage license isn’t permission to poke around inside my husband’s heart and mind to change what I think needs to change.  It’s a visible invitation from God to stand by in support as God removes his spots and wrinkles.  Trust Him.

-Fighting for the scraps of masculine power from the table of worldly women, just changes you into a Red-eyed Ood.***  Accept that the design of a female is already endowed with super-abundant power from God – He created you in it when you were conceived.  You’re not a victim, know it.

NOTES

wife* – It also eliminates the real power from the husband as well but I’m not writing to husbands.

won’t hear it** – An invited opinion isn’t the same as unsolicited harping.

Red-eyed Ood***  In Fandom, Red-eye was originally thought to be a disease found amongst enslaved Ood on their homeworld of the Ood Sphere. Its symptoms were bright red eyes, rabid temperament and anti-human sentiment.

(now you all know I’m a Doctor Who fan) 🙂

Ephesians 5:21 – The Muck-up

“Why do so many people concentrate on Ephesians 5:22-23 and skip over Ephesians 5:21?” – asks Christian marriage blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire, in response to this Pinterest post.

***

Interesting question.  First, it’s not really a question, it’s a statement of assumption veiled as a question.

Second, I don’t think it’s a matter of, “so many people […] skipping over ….”   I think it’s a matter of Bible exegesis.  Some people (like Darrell and I) interpret the marriage paradigm as a complementarian, believing that verse 21 is a concluding sentence for Ephesians 5:1-20.  They’re not ‘skipping over it’ from ignorance or even fear, they simply believe it’s not part of the instruction to wives and husbands.  Others, that interpret marriage from the egalitarian paradigm, believe that verse 21 is a topic sentence for Ephesians 5:21-33.

Complementarian or Egalitarian?

It’s an important question that’ll make a big difference in your marriage:  Are you a complementarian or an egalitarian?

In simple terms, complementarians favour specific gender roles for husbands and wives, each with their own power and purpose.  Sometimes it’s referred to as Biblical hierarchy, bridal paradigm, or Christ’s bride/body.  While, egalitarians favour interchangeability of power and gender roles because they don’t define a leader; but also favouring a designated role split. It’s referred to as equality, mutual submission, or 50/50.

To be fair, the Bible doesn’t refer to either classification – we call them these names to differentiate between the two schools of thought.  Complementarians interpret verse 21 to be the conclusion of corporate instruction.  Egalitarians interpret verse 21 to be the preface for the marriage instructions.

The quick response to Sheila’s statement is:  Verse 21 has nothing to do with marriage and everything to do with the corporate body.  By hinging these two sections of Scripture on one verse, you not only blurr marriage into other relationships – lowering its significance, but, you also complicate submission into a dysfunctional mess.

A slower, researched response, is more involved …

GRAMMATICALLY

It’s repetitive and confusing to say:  “everyone submit to everyone wives submit to your own husbands,” see, it makes no sense.  In all of the thought for thought translations (modern versions), you’ll see verse 21 driven into to the next paragraph so it joins the marriage part.  To make it happen they’ve replaced the colon, semicolon, or comma with a period so that the section will complete with verse 20.  Yet in the word for word translations, (KJV, NASB) you’ll find the punctuation left intact making verse 21 the concluding sentence for the previous section.

VOCABULARY

In verse 21, Paul is concluding his general address that targets everyone in the assembly.  We know it’s a corporate address to a body (a group) of believers because he doesn’t name a subject by a noun, instead he uses pronouns in the plural form:

  • (v2) us – “… has loved us and given Himself for us …”
  • (v3) you – “…let it not even be named among you …”
  • (v5) you – “…For this you know…”
  • (v6) no one, you – “let no one deceive you with empty…”
  • (v8) you – “… For you were …”
  • (v14) you – “… Awake you who … will give you light…”
  • (v15) you – “… that you walk circumspectly …”
  • (v19) one another, your – “… to one another… in your heart…”
  • (v20) our – “…in the name of our Lord …”
  • (v21) one another – “…submitting to one another …”

Paul includes verse 21 with all the preceding plural pronouns

But in verse 22, he changes up his target audience. Notice how he signifies his change?  He’s not speaking corporately any more.  He’s not using plural pronouns anymore.  He could’ve said something like, “Now, all you who are married … “  Or, “Those of you who are married…”  Or even, “Any of you who are spouses …”  But he didn’t.

Instead, he distinguishes those who are married by calling them out separately from everyone as well as individually … he speaks directly to wives then directly to husbands:

  • (vs 22-24) Wives, submit to your own husbands …
  • (vs 25-32) Husbands, love your wives, …

Then in verse 33 he wraps up his instruction to all those who are married using a concluding sentence.  He signifies switching back to plural, but not everyone only corporately to those married.  He’s capturing the attention of, every husband and every wife, Each one of you in particular:

  • Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Paul makes special delineation for marriage, above the instructions for everyone else.  I think he wants us to know that the relationship rules that apply to everybody, similarly apply to marriage; however, there’s extra weight when you get married.  The aspects of love and submission he’s been talking about up to verse 21, that apply to everyone …  are now going to change.  Love and submission look different in marriage.

SOUL-ution

  • Prove it to yourself.  Let your own marriage be the litmus test, not what I say or what others say.  Yes, take in information – but see if it brings unity.  Find what brings the peace of Christ, the peace that you cannot comprehend or understand … even though you’re experiencing it.  Ultimately, that’s the light you want the world to see.

WHAT IS MARRIAGE AND WHY DO WE DO IT?

The Wedding

Do you ever think about your wedding day?  I think about mine.  Do you remember that morning when you woke up, I bet your heart wasn’t filled with doubts and second guessing, “Well, I guess it’s better than being alone.” Or, “I’ll give it my best shot … and see what happens.”  Like me, I bet your heart was full of hope for a great day and the expectation of a wonderful future with the man of your dreams!  I remember laying in bed that morning excitedly thinking, “Today, is the day!”
Generally, most of the weddings we attend, or hear about, unfold seamlessly.  The day is a blur of excitement starting with the ceremony itself leading to a great wrap-up party, the reception!  Lastly, the bride and groom are swept off to some exotic destination … just the two of them.  Life couldn’t get much sweeter!

The Honeymoon

During this beginning season the marriage holds such high hopes of promise.  Beginnings are like that.  In fact, we see the same delight at the inception of creation, everything is:  GOODx6 and a VERY GOOD marks the finale.  But then, within one and a half chapters into the story of humanity, something goes tragically wrong.  Adam and Eve free in the garden, lost in wonder and delight of all that was very good, had their eyes maliciously and irrevocably opened … and the first brick in the wall of separation was coolly placed between them.

The Marriage

It is the same pattern in our marriages, something … changes.  It happens ever so subtly.  Something has slowly crept in between the bride and groom that we didn’t expect and certainly didn’t plan for.  Somewhere between The Wedding and The Marriage, there has been a shift.
Isn’t it true that we wake up on our wedding day assured that we could conquer anything and that we’d grow old together?  But within a few short years we sense an UNsureness, we start to feel a little suspicious that our fairy tale wedding day isn’t delivering everything to our marriage that it promised.  Slowly our expectations are dashed one-by-one as reality is revealed, this slow creep causes the shift to become more prevalent and our marriage begins to get hard … along with our hearts, and it starts to show in our thoughts:  Why did I ever marry this personWhat was I thinkingMaybe they are the wrong person.

MISperception

I know it might sound silly but it never occurred to me that my marriage would be nothing like my wedding day.  In hindsight it became completely clear though, either no one told me or I failed to listen.  Either way reality proves the truth that the marriage and a wedding day are actually polar opposites!  A wedding day is so well planned that you might as well call it a script; everything falls into place perfectly and we work on that script for almost a year, sometimes longer!  Lots of hard work, planning and compromising with each other went into that script for that ONE day.
How did I miss that?  A marriage is not just going to magically happen when even a magical wedding day didn’t magically happen.  I think the knowledge is there for the learning, we just don’t believe the information applies to us when it says, “It could get ugly at some point, what’s your plan?”  Even though we read statistic after statistic that divorce rates have been climbing.  We can’t see past the euphoric pleasure of the present to comprehend any such conflict driving us apart.  And still, somewhere deep inside us we know it makes sense because marriage is the single most challenging adventure of all the earthly experiences.
Marriage is the most significant institution we will ever join and it is the relationship with the most consequential and far reaching effect in our lives.  Yet there are no courses on spousal selection and anyone can get a marriage license with zero training or preparation.  Sydney J. Harris captures the mindset perfectly, “Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves a great success in any field of activity, yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage.

Why Choose to Marry?

So … why do we get married?  It’s a question that begs self-examination.  Is it because of some innate fear of being alone?  Or is it because, it’s just what we do?  You know, you’re born, grow-up, go to school – fall in love and get married.
Fall in love.  There’s a phrase I find … curious.

Falling in Love?

It’s interesting, for a book that is full of love talk, I can’t seem to find anywhere that God speaks of falling in love.  Why do we say it that way?  It does have a romantic echo to the phrase, but it also has a sense of lack of responsibility, perhaps even commitment.  If the marriage gets too hard there is a pathway already prepared:  we can say that when we were falling in love, we fell for the wrong person.
We humans do that.  You can see it in Adam’s response to God when He was looking for accountability of Adam’s actions after eating the fruit.  Adam didn’t only try and shift the blame to Eve but also onto God Himself!  The woman YOU gave me did it.  And then with Eve, she tried to pass the buck too by saying that it was the snake’s fault.  It seems none of us want to take responsibility for our part, do we?
The most romantic description I’ve ever heard as to why people get married is from the movie, Shall We Dance, here’s the clip of the scene:

 

*SIGH*

Now, although that’s a beautiful sentiment and maybe even a worthy declaration, I don’t believe it’s entirely what God had in mind when He established marriage.

The First Marriage

The first marriage was an act of purpose.  The voice that spoke all life into existence then united a team.  It’s interesting that God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time.  He could’ve but instead He chose to create Adam in a vacuum.  This wasn’t a mistake.  He didn’t create Adam alone then realize, “Uh-oh, Adam is alone – I guess I didn’t think that one through, maybe one of the animals can keep him company.”
I think Adam was meant to experience his aloneness in the real time of watching the animals come and go in pairs as he named them.  God brought all the creatures to him, but … there was not be a suitable companion for him.” (Gen 2:19-20)  God could have just as easily told Adam that when he was done naming the animals that He would bring him someone special.  Someone just like him!  But God didn’t say anything.  Instead, He let a yearning grow inside of Adam; a yearning for his pairing.
Adam was meant to notice something special in Eve; something he needed.  And he did!  You can tell by his response to seeing her for the first time, “Finally!  Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!”  Or, in our present vernacular, “Finally!  Now SHE belongs with me!”
The both of them, were meant to see that they needed each other for the journey, that they had to depend on each other, lean on each other … not blame one another.

The Step From Bride to Wife

I think it’s significant that Eve was never a bride.  She was created as a wife.  We are brides for a single day, but we are wives for the life of the Marriage.  We can make make generalizations for the answer to the question, what is marriage?  And there are lots of different ideas, to be sure.  But in order to find out what your marriage means to you and why you got married?  Only you can answer that, because only you know the woman inside of you.  Only you know if she’s a bride or Wife.

 

 

 

Submission to authority – addendum

first-step

Apparently there was a kerfuffle about my post on submission and authority.  I tried to get a read from the marriage boards to find out the major points of contention, but the thread had been deleted.  However, several of the comments and emails I received were negative and from them I was able to generalize a couple of common points of contention.  In an effort to clarify, I’m going to address them now.

First, I’m saddened that people assumed the worse in our marriage testimony.  That they chose to focus on bits and pieces that they didn‘t agree with instead of choosing to see the bigger picture:  A marriage that has moved from death to life.

But that’s ok, this is our testimony of marriage, about how we crawled around in the dark and dirt fighting with each other, hurting each other, for almost 18 years.  And then, came out victoriously.  Learning how submission was the icing on the cake of freedom, and how our marriage became salt and light, rather than a beacon of death.  There is no way I’m going to bury this light under a bush!

Ok, here’s a recap of clearly defined disclaimers from my original post that were dispersed throughout my article, that I‘m sorry were ignored:

1)         I’m not saying I condone domestic discipline but neither am I saying that I condemn it. What I am saying, is that I don’t want to be so narrow as to disregard a couple or their marriage that has obvious proven longevity because some small part might ‘appear’ to be distasteful.

2)        OK now, onto what the email calls, What works for Robyn?”

3)        Second, my husband did not force me to become obedient to him. It was a breaking I experienced between me and God. My husband was (and is) the instrument that God used to make me obedient to Him.

4)        Please remember that I am not writing as a prescription, I am sharing what worked for me – for us.

5)         Finally, a word of caution: to want to have authority over your wife’s power is a good and godly thing; but to want to make your life easier or to just get your way because you are stronger and bigger, or thinking you are better or more privileged in any way just because you are the man, is not the way of the Lord – it is the tradition of men.

6)        If she doesn’t like it, tell her to take it to the church (Pastor/Elder/Leadership). If you’re validated by your convictions and conscience, you have nothing to fear. (1 Corinthians 6:1-5)

7)         Don’t stop until she backs up – even if she backs into a wall (or your motorcycle).  With me, it is not until I feel an object against [my] back and sense I’m being ‘fenced in’ that the negative emotion subsides.

8)        You are not trying to diminish her power – you both need that power to be an efficient force against Satan – but rather, trying to get back together on the same side so that Satan cannot come between you. As the husband this is your responsibility, clearly defined by the delegation of God’s authority.

Points of contention seemed to rally around the issues I have stated in italicized quotes.  Please find the appropriate referenced disclaimer listed underneath each one.

“If a husband is intimidating his wife to obey it’s bullying and it’s abuse”

#3, #5, #6

When God exercises His authority over us He is not bullying or abusive.  When we exercise parental authority over our kids we are not bullying or abusive.  When we exercise pet owner authority over our pets we are not bullying or abusive.  When the government exercises it’s authority by placing speed limit signs they are not bullying and abusive.

It seems that the only authority that is not acceptable is the masculine authority of a husband, this should be a red flag.

“She’s teaching husbands to abuse their wives.”

#2, #4, #5, #6

This presupposes that masculine authority is in fact abuse and therefore threatening, I don’t believe it is abuse and therefore I’m not threatened by it.  This also presupposes that male masculinity needs to be sacrificed because females are afraid of it, or don’t agree or don’t like it.  It presupposes we should disregard masculine authority because we don’t understand it, therefore it cannot fit in our frame work, so it must be abuse.  It presupposes that any authority from a husband is going to be wrong, therefore it will be abusive.  It presupposes a wrong heart in a husband.

“Physically forcing submission is a matter of the heart and shouldn’t be bullied”

#2, #3, #7, #8

This is not about forcing obedience, it’s about the wife who uses the power of out-of-control negative emotions brought on by bitterness, anger and selfishness.  It IS about abuse, but not by masculine authority; rather by the misuse and wielding of feminine power.  This is about husbands standing up to their wives, which is their responsibility before God, to bring her powerful emotions back down to earth.  This is not about a husband using his physical stature to force his wife to:  Read her Bible, attend the church he wants to instead of the one she wants to, watch the movie he wants to.  This is about him using his masculine authority in confrontation if she won’t let it go and nags and nags about not getting her own way, and is ignorant and rude in the process and wants to keep fighting about it.  It’s about keeping the communication open and on-going in a civil, adult, and loving way.  It’s about scaling the mountains of conflict in a marriage and overcoming them together.

Women who are so inured in the feminist mindset, like I was, fear and challenge anything that their husband does that’s even remotely masculine; because anything slightly masculine is wrong.  I used to see it as suspect and something that needed to be guarded against.

It got to the point in our marriage where even basic communication was breaking down and nothing was ever getting resolved.

It’s not an earthly mindset but a spiritual one

It’s one thing to learn something new, something that you didn’t know before.  But to have your opinion changed from black to white is a completely different thing.  It’s like having your mind freed from a thought prison.  Just like when I became born again.  I woke up Monday morning, like any other day- no intentions of thinking about God or Jesus or anything spiritual – There is no God, the Bible is just a book, great for moral teaching – and that’s it.  Wednesday my world changed: I accepted the truth of being a sinner – God was real and He was converting me.  By Friday my sanctification started – WOW God You REALLY ARE real!

In Christian circles there is a line of thinking that goes:  I could be right about God, salvation and eternity.  But if I’m wrong and God is not real, then there will be no change in me.  My sinner’s prayer will have bounced off the walls, gone into a void and amounted to zip.  But if God is real, then I’ve gained everything!

This line of thinking is the same for any of God’s truths – How do you know it’s really His.  You ask and you believe.  If it’s His truth, He’ll show you by changing your heart.  But nothing ventured nothing gained.

Before I became a Christian I believed that abortion was a completely viable option.  After all, I am the mistress of my own universe, it is my body, nobody owns me, I AM woman … etc, etc, etc.  I believed in owning myself so much that I had two abortions.  But now I know different – now I believe different.  I KNOW that life begins at conception – because I know the One who begins each life.  God freed me from another prison that my mind had been locked in.  I experienced truth.

I trusted God to show me that His existence was real and I trusted Him to show me the truth about abortion being murder.  Why would I doubt this new truth about submission?

The proof is in the pudding

There is only one way to get to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ, but there are numerous ways to operate marriages.  The end result is similar to something I read in a parenting book once:  don’t let people judge you about your parenting style, the final result is the end of that child’s life – and there’s a lot of time and distance between now and that end.  The proof is in the pudding.

I think the same goes for marriage, it’s up to each individual couple.  Some believe that egalitarian is the way to go – a shared authority that is identical between the wife and husband.  Others believe that complementarianism is what is best – a clear definition of authority and submission based on gender roles.  Either of these forms could work for marriage.

If husband and wife agree on everything and never have any differences that lead to conflict.  If all their likes and dislikes and differences, are equal.  If they are both savers when it comes to budgeting – egalitarian will work.  Or, if they both believe living off of credit is an acceptable way to live – egalitarian will work.  If they both desire sex once a day or if they both desire it once every two weeks – egalitarian will work.

But, anything less than total natural agreement between the wife and husband will call for someone to yield their choice.  Insert your last argument, disagreement, conflict, fight here: ________

Whether it was over Kraft Dinner or pizza for supper, what movie to go see, what colour to paint the bedroom, what to name the first born, or what new car to buy, what curriculum to buy, how much to spend, on and on it goes.  No two women are alike, and males and females are even further apart on the scale.

This calls for us to keep mental tallies, which humans naturally do, and it leads to keeping score.  It is opponents keep score, not team members.  Just because we do it quietly, hidden away in our hearts, doesn’t mean it’s not divisive.  We’ve had pizza last Friday night, why again?

As I said above, this can work as long as you never sin against each other or hurt each other and always agree on everything.  Always say the right thing and do the right thing where your spouse is concerned.  And as long as no one has any baggage from childhood or a previous marriage and as long as you are both at exactly the same level of maturity in life, equal conflict resolution skills, and growing with Christ at the same speed.  And as long as you both define ‘equal authority’ the same way.

With complementariansim a marriage could also work!  As long as the husband is perfect in his authority (as Jesus was) and is perfectly leading his wife in love (the way Christ does with the church).  And she perfectly submits to his perfect leadership.

A wife submits because of predefined gender roles, not because she wants to.  A husband is ‘never wrong’, he believes that he is perfect, along with his leadership, because he’s been given Christ’s authority.  In this paradigm a wife is actually holding back her power from the marriage and not allowing God to use it to train her husband‘s authority.  But, in this example, the power of a wife is not seen or recognized or needed, because the husband is already perfectly like Christ.  Circular reasoning, I know, but in our marriage when we lived out this model, in practical terms, that is what happened.  I bounced back and forth between shutting down and the Crazy Cycle (thank you Emerson for giving it a name) … with no end in sight.  I don’t have to submit to you because you are not leading me lovingly.  Submission and authority are seen as separate entities, in and of themselves.  The submission begins and ends with female and authority begins and ends with male.

Egalitarian and complementarianism are both fantastic ideas in theory.  But in the practicality of life – not so much.  They call for focus on the me/you paradigm and you can‘t grow if you are always focused on tally counting for equality or shut down from fear or bitterness.  In egalitarian there is, apparently, no conflict or pressure because everything is squarely equal.  This is a problem because we don’t grow without the embracing of trials and tribulations.  And with complementarianism, it’s all laid out for each gender.  We found in both of these paradigms, for our marriage, there is no elasticity for sin, errors and consequently – no spiritual growth and no unity.  Because we are not the same as each other and we don’t fit a mold.

Change is necessary for growth, just look at what God has probably changed in your own life in just the last year!  God is not static, life is not static, we are not static and neither is marriage.  And that’s what brought us to the view of synergy in marriage – NOT wife/NOT husband – but the marriage is what is important.  We had been doing the same thing year after year.  First nine years in the egalitarian mindset; that failed miserably and resulted in my two attempts at leaving our marriage.  We tried to pull it back together for about another nine years and shifted into the complementarian model. That just about killed me, literally – I almost committed suicide.

Neither of us were growing or changing in a good or positive direction.  We were both just becoming more self-focused.  Stronger, faster and better at looking out for #1, ignoring the frail and fractured unit of marriage that we were creating.

In the information age it has been determined that corporations that embrace strategic change are the ones that rise to the top and survive. The marriage arena is riddled with failed unions as evidenced by our busy divorce courts.  You owe it to yourself, your spouse, your children or the pets, to adapt and change.  Change isn’t popular, and you’ll know it’s change because it will feel awkward at first.  Divorce used to feel awkward too, but now it’s the norm.

Strategic change and the hunt for something better is what synergy is all about.  Blending.  Unity.  We say strategic because we had a purpose in mind: to stop fighting against each other.  It was a step of faith and we didn’t know if it would get worse than it already was, but we had to try something because our marriage was falling apart.

So, I chose to move in all of my feminine power and he chose to move in all of his masculine authority and we gave it up to God.

The proof is in the pudding.  If I had left Darrell any of those times in the past, we would be missing out on this most excellent adventure of growth that we are now experiencing together.  We are both very different now and our marriage is very different.

I’m not saying perfect.  Our marriage is certainly not perfect, we both have much more to learn; but at least we are going to make it.  The proof is in OUR pudding, the better really DOES come after the worse.  We know this is truth because we are now living in it.

If you are happy in your paradigm in marriage then that’s awesome, keep up the good work.  You don’t think about leaving your husband and you are able to resolve your conflicts, you are having more and more good times together instead of more and more bad times, and you are both growing steadily in the Spirit, then you’ve found the model that works for the both of you!

But let’s agree to accept, that if people find a way to make their marriage work and it is working for both of them, they are indeed happy and they are not a statistic, and are growing towards each other and God, it’s not a wrong way if it allows them to keep their promise to God and their promise to each other.

And just possibly, what they did could work for another couple on the brink of divorce.

 

Submission to authority

fear

 

April at The Peaceful Wife received this request and kindly forwarded it to me:

On today’s post, Robyn made the comment:  ‘I’m a recovering feminist and require a firm hand.’  I would like to know what that means to her practically, and how she feels “a firm hand” can help her to be a former feminist godly wife.  Would you please ask her to describe this with examples and/or consider writing a post on this?  There are many young men in the church who want to lead their wives well, but don’t know how to deal with arrogant, disrespectful, un-submissive, feminist women/girlfriends/wives in the church.  It’s frustrating when many women admire Sean Connery, sometimes even knowing that he hits his wife, but they won’t respect their own men who don’t.  I don’t want to hit any women, but there must be a godly response men may use to inspire women to want to obey.  What works for Robyn?”

 

Before starting, I want to get a few things out of the way.  I’m not going to address the feminist behaviours of all women or girlfriends ‘in the church’ because they cannot surrender to the authority of a husband which they do not have.  I am addressing this part of the request: There are many young men in the church who want to lead their wives well,”

Also, It’s frustrating when many women admire Sean Connery, sometimes even knowing that he hits his wife, but they won’t respect their own men who don’t. “  This seems to be in a negative vein to demean Sean Connery.  This is judgmental and I do not agree.  If you would like to view the video you can do so here.  Also, you can read an interview from 2011 from Sean and Micheline Connery here. I have recapped Barbara Walters closing statement to the video, which is given in her likeable Barbara Walters style:  “By the way, Sean Connery has been married to Micheline for 31 years, and we have not heard a single complaint.”   And just out of curiosity I Googled images of the two of them, and I could only find TWO in which Sean was not touching Micheline.  The connection of the two of them appears even warmer after you read their interview.

I’m sorry, but instead of criticizing the man or their marriage style, how about looking at the fact that in a world where divorce rates climb and women are leaving in droves (70% of divorces are initiated by women) and even with those in the public eye … Micheline stays.  I’m not saying I condone domestic discipline but neither am I saying that I condemn it.  What I am saying, is that I don’t want to be so narrow as to disregard a couple or their marriage that has obvious proven longevity because some small part  might ‘appear’ to be distasteful.

OK now, onto what the email calls, What works for Robyn?”

First, I’m not totally comfortable with writing to the male gender.  When I write, it’s… well, it’s to me and to women who are like me.  The extrapolations from my experiences come from a female mind for female readers.  I write in ways that I feel would have connected with me years ago had I been willing to listen.  So be patient with me if I dance around a bit as I attempt to find the ‘write’ voice.

Second, my husband did not force me to become obedient to him.  It was a breaking I experienced between me and God.  My husband was (and is) the instrument that God used to make me obedient to Him.

Third, I prefer to respond to such requests via private email, but at my husband’s direction I am doing it as a post.

A person needs for their ‘no’ to stand as their ‘no’ (or their yes as their yes).  This isn’t a male-female issue but an issue of person. It is carried out in marriage by a husband and wife, and we each do it differently.

If we are both a ‘no,’ or both a ‘yes,’ everything is cool, right?  It’s when we run into that inevitable (and unenviable) no/yes conflict that we run into problems, because what we are really talking about here is who is going to lead and who is going to follow.

When you have a wife who is, “arrogant, disrespectful, and un-submissive” like I was, as a husband you are going to need to be all man.  By that I mean know how to be confident in your masculinity.

Lots of Christian men generally don’t do this.  They move in their part of the curse – they back down, back away, withdraw – let her eat the fruit.  They call it preserving the peace or serving her with love.

Poppycock!  This is the reasoning of the lazy or the coward.

It boils down to the same end result:  You give in.  Your ‘no/yes’ is not respected, so therefore you are not really leading (which is love) – you are allowing your wife to lead in power, just like Adam let Eve lead.

To press forward in masculinity is to move into her space.  A method of doing this is to use physical stature to exert your authority over her so that you can rein in her power, pressing into her arrogance and disrespect by calling it into the open.

I don’t know what tipped the scale for my husband, and I can’t tell you the day, but I remember the calm coldness of the moment when he said, “If you were a guy I’d deck you, but I can’t because you are a female. But then another guy would never have said that.  If you were a subordinate at work I’d fire your ass, but you’re not, so that is not an option either,” and turned – very casually – and walked away.

(Please remember that I am not writing as a prescription, I am sharing what worked for me – for us.  I believe in the form of what I’m saying, but it is lived out slightly different in each marriage because each marriage is comprised of two uniquely different people)

Equality opposes synergy

Here’s my take on the equality issue.  Husbands and wives are about as equal as a banana and a peach.  A banana is 100% banana, equal to all other bananas.  A peach is 100% peach, equal to all other peaches.  To measure a banana against a peach would be foolish, because although they are both fruit, they are completely different.  A banana split won’t work with a peach and a peach cobbler won’t work with a banana.  Each is equal in its own rite.

We are duped when we think that marriage is about equality.  It isn’t. It’s about the synergy of masculine authority and feminine power.  It isn’t about 50/50 – ‘You chose last time so I’ll choose this time,’ or ‘I have equal say in this marriage and I have valid points, so you are going to listen to me’.  Views rooted in equality pit two people against one another, making synergy impossible.  The equality of men and women is not the issue, and it muddies the water when we enter marriage with that mindset.

That’s the problem with the feminist view: equality.  Authority and submission are not equal, because they are synergistic – 100% authority and 100% submission.  Equality calls for keeping score.  Synergy is about the bigger picture:  The marriage.  Equality is about division.  Synergy is about unity.

Failed masculinity

With the benefit of foreknowledge about the fall of humankind, what should Adam have done with his wife’s action that was disobedient to God and disrespectful of Adam’s authority?  You know the answer.  With her power she stepped into the space of his authority (she thought she knew better).  He should have pushed back into her physical space with his authority and said, “No.  God said no,” as he [Adam] took the fruit out of her hand.

If a wife’s response is, “arrogant,” anddisrespectful,” treat her the way she is acting:  She is unwittingly calling you to battle.  You are feeling her move in her God-given power.  She IS a worthy adversary, but she’s using it to destroy and not build up (Proverbs 14:1).  This move shows immaturity on her part and disrespect of God’s authority, because He gave His authority to you, you didn’t make it up. (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18)

Don’t walk away in anger, throwing your hands up; rather, press in with your authority.  Meet her at the point of her request, but not in her way which is with femininity, respond with what you are – with what you have: your masculinity.

  • The eyes – a direct ‘stare’.
  • The voice that is calm, cold and disconnected, a ‘tone’ that lacks any emotion.  Because at this point in the disagreement, conflict, fight, or whatever you want to call it, she’s probably got enough emotional power for 5 people. You need to offset that.
  • Physical stature that turns square on as if to face an enemy, which is what she is making herself to you at this moment
  • Physically start to press into her bubble of space, narrowing the gap between the two of you.
  • Don’t stop until she backs up – even if she backs into a wall (or your motorcycle).  With me, it is not usually until I feel an object against back and sense I’m being ‘fenced in’ that the negative emotion subsides.

You are not trying to diminish her power – you both need that power to be an efficient force against Satan – but rather, trying to get back together on the same side so that Satan cannot come between you.  As the husband this is your responsibility, clearly defined by the delegation of God’s authority.

I asked my husband where or how he learned to do this and if he realized it’s a pattern. He responded, “It’s battle mode.  It happens naturally for me.  My testosterone gets ‘jumpy.’  I know I’m a man, but I start to shrink inside like a little boy.  The problem was that I used to blame you for ‘making’ me feel that way with your lack of respect – it made me angry, which just made it worse. (Hulk is out.) When I realized it wasn’t so much your fault as me not stepping up to my authority, the pattern became much more effective.”

If she doesn’t like it, tell her to take it to the church (Pastor/Elder/Leadership).  If you’re validated by your convictions and conscience, you have nothing to fear.  This is the same thing I tell wives when they feel that their husbands are abusing the authority.  It’s the responsibility of the church – hold them to it.  It’s not about ‘counseling.’ It’s about a judge making a decision so that you can move on with life. (1 Corinthians 6:1-5):

Does any of you dare, when he has a matter of complaint against another [brother], to go to law before unrighteous men [men neither upright nor right with God, laying it before them] instead of before the saints (the people of God)?  Do you not know that the saints (the believers) will [one day] judge and govern the world? And if the world [itself] is to be judged and ruled by you, are you unworthy and incompetent to try [such petty matters] of the smallest courts of justice?  Do you not know also that we [Christians] are to judge the [very] angels and pronounce opinion between right and wrong [for them]? How much more then [as to] matters pertaining to this world and of this life only!  If then you do have such cases of everyday life to decide, why do you appoint [as judges to lay them before] those who [from the standpoint] of the church count for least and are without standing?  I say this to move you to shame. Can it be that there really is not one man among you who [in action is governed by piety and integrity and] is wise and competent enough to decide [the private grievances, disputes, and quarrels] between members of the brotherhood.

Women are multi-faceted powerhouses

In marriage I believe we are called to achieve a perfect balance.  Not to BE perfect, but to work towards a perfect balance with each other.

God gave the husband all the authority. When He created the wife, He did the same thing with all the power.  Husbands abuse their authority – they are human.  And wives abuse their power – they are human.  Without the blending of the two forces we get a continual loop of the scenario of Adam and Eve.  Please don’t let your ‘take away’ be that the husband is always right and the wife is always wrong. That’s not what I’m saying, and if you hear that, you are missing the point.

A husband needs the power of his wife to be a better man.  A wife needs the authority of her husband to be a better woman.

Here’s a really cool metaphor that God taught me.  The power God gives a wife is equivalent to an 18-wheel truck that is speeding downhill.  The husband’s authority is the air brake system.  Her power is so great that she will continue in it, because that’s what she was designed to do!  It is only the air brake system that can slow this massive moving force.  A wife in her power (speeding truck) must be willing to trust and yield to her husband’s authority (air brake system).  Now I’ll bet if you’re a wife reading this, your reaction will be similar to what mine used to be, ‘why does the husband get to be the air breaks and have the control over my power?!’  That’s the punch:  A truck didn’t make itself, and it doesn’t drive itself.  God not only manufactured the truck … He’s also the Driver.

Your marriage is the truck.  Neither one of you owns it – it belongs to the Driver.

Finally, a word of caution:  to want to have authority over your wife’s power is a good and godly thing; but to want to make your life easier or to just get your way because you are stronger and bigger, or thinking you are better or more privileged in any way just because you are the man, is not the way of the Lord – it is the tradition of men. This is the seed of feminism: men following the tradition of ‘wearing the pants.’

Satan twisted the direction and purpose of the authority God gave men because he could not diminish it, so men hated the power of femininity and abused women, seeing them as less valuable.  Women, being responders, have merely reflected that twist of direction and purpose; but they move in what they are – power – so women are usurping the masculine authority that originally hated their femininity.

Satan subtly shifted the direction of authority and power in marriage so that husbands and wives would be at each other instead of one synergistic unit directed at him.

Slippery isn’t he?

You must want to lead your wife with authority because it’s what God commands.  Because it is what’s best for her, for you and what’s best for the marriage.  Your success will depend on the motive of your heart.

 

 

 

Words set blazes (Part 2)

Firestarter1

Part 1 began with walking in faith instead of what you see happening in your marriage.  Ezekiel’s example of believing the impossible instead of trying to figure it out allowed him to co-operate with God as He raised dry bones to life.

(Continuing with Part 2)

DON’T give yourself an emotional lobotomy by pretending there are no problems in your marriage.  God didn’t ask Ezekiel to pretend that the bones weren’t dead.  In fact, He drew his attention to them:

God grabbed me.  God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones.  He led me around among them — a lot of bones all over the plain — dry bones, bleached by the sun. -Ezekiel 37:1-2 emphasis added

God allowed Ezekiel to see both of the options in front of him.  Would he trust what he saw in the natural?  Or would he choose faith and trust in Who God is?  It seems like God was asking Ezekiel to examine what his faith was rooted in – himself or God:

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” -Ezekiel 37:3 emphasis added

Through Ezekiel’s response it’s easy to see that he didn’t trust himself:

I said, “Master God, only you know that.” -Ezekiel 37:3 emphasis added

The problems in our marriages aren’t supposed to be the focus, because we can’t change or fix them – God should be our focus because only he can fix the problems.  God gives us the power to choose what we will focus on so the problems (of others) don’t consume us.  If you believe your husband has a problem with abc – do you not think that God also has a problem with abc*? Telling people about abc doesn’t encourage God to heal or restore. Complaining about the same problem only gives it more power over us by concentrating our focus on one area and closing us to the rest of the person.

DO set your husband free to be the man God has called him to be.  This is the true gift we give each other.  The freedom we’ve received is the freedom we are to give.  The choice is found in our free will to grow and learn – in all our humanness – as we become shaped into the destiny God wants.

DO accept God’s invitation to co-operate as He heals your marriage.

Work Towards a Positive Blaze

1)  Watch your focus.  Resist the temptation to concentrate on your husband’s faults.  Pray for ‘the way of escape from temptation’. A clearer vision of my own faults and the problems I caused was more often than not that way of escape. It takes two to tango.  Even if my responsibility is only 2%, I have to focus one hundred percent on that 2% – not my husband’s 98%.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice or consider the beam [of timer] that is in your own eye? –Luke 6:41

2)  Watch your words.  The focus of the mind leads your thoughts, thoughts lead your words, and actions are the manifestation.  Where the mind goes, the body will follow.  (Proverbs 23:7)  God has given my words the enormous power to affect my life and those around me.  The choice is mine:  Construction (Ephesians 4:29) or destruction (Colossians 3:8).

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21 emphasis added)

3)  Express your expectations to God.  Expectations are not demands.  Demands center around what I think is best.  Expectations center around what God knows is best.  Expecting God to act  will remove all limits!

And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect?  My hope and expectation are in You. -Psalm 39:7

I called a healing marriage into reality through confidence in God. God didn’t begin healing in our marriage because of my words. Neither did He raise those people from the dead because of Ezekiel’s words. Only when I spoke what He told me to speak – as Ezekiel spoke what he was told to speak – did God work in our marriage.

Speak positive sparks about your husband

and watch God build the blaze.

 

* This presupposes that abc is actually a sin against God and not just something you don’t agree with, like, or have a different opinion about.