Friday, March 30, 2007
To be Happy with his Wife
I have told you before about a wonderful friend of mine. She is a godly woman and a real sister in the Lord. We have become such close friends over the last year, mainly because she is one of the few people in real life with whom I can be really and truly honest. I have been having some difficulties recently with a few issues, but have been so blessed to be able to share with her, be accountable to her and pray with her.

I was so delighted when recently she and her boyfriend announced their engagement. This has led on to some interesting chats about biblical womanhood, marriage, singleness and family, so I wanted to share some of the articles we have been discussing to see what you thought. (It might also encourage her to comment here some day - I know she reads this, but has never added a comment before..!)

I always appreciate Carolyn McCulley's writings so enjoyed Faith for the Man He'll Become from Boundless. It's a gentle reminder to us girls that we won't marry the 'perfect man' but that there is a big difference between men aged 25 and men aged 50 in the church so we can't judge them by the same standard. We have a huge part to play in the growing in spiritual maturity of our brothers in Christ and of our (future) husbands, encouraging them and uplifting them in prayer. She writes:
You may see some of the husbands and fathers in your church and think to yourself that you'd like to marry a man just like them. Those are great aspirations to have! But first you may need to talk to their wives.

Why? Because these women didn't marry the husbands they have today. Typically, they married less seasoned men. Thanks to the Holy Spirit's refinements over time, as well as the feminine counsel, influence, and encouragement of these wives, their husbands are different some 20-plus years down the line.

Now take a look at the young men you know. Can you see them with eyes of faith? Like trees in springtime with an impressionistic haze of buds, the potential for growth is strongly evident but it's not yet fully realized.
Another Boundless article looks at Deuteronomy 24:5. Jonathan Dodson in First Year Off extends the law that allowed Israelite men not to be sent to war during their first year of marriage to a more general principle of a taking a year off from other responsibilities to "to be happy with his wife". He talks of being careful not to over-commit to work, church or other people when the focus should be developing and deepening the relationship with your spouse.

My friend and I are both busy doctors, so what does this mean practically for us as potential wives? I know I find it difficult enough to keep up-to-date with everything just on my own, so I can't really see me managing this while trying to get used to married life! We discussed this in a previous post, A Helper Fit for Him, and I liked what Sherrin had to say:
I do believe that home and family are to be the priorities, but that will look different for each woman. God has made us finite - and we cannot really "have it all". Something has to give, and we do not want that "something" to be the role of helping our husbands.
Our friendship is bound to change over the next year, but we are both committed to maintaining a close sisterly bond. (Thankfully, her fiancé is very understanding and encouraging of the fact that sometimes you just need your girlfriends!) What of my part in their marriage though? Lauren Winner writes about our responsibilities to a friend's marriage in Beyond Being a Bridesmaid:
I will no longer take the responsibility of witnessing marriage vows so lightly, for witnessing a marriage vow is not a frivolous thing. Now, before I attend a wedding, or stand up with a friend, I will consider what I, too, am committing to: a lifetime of support, of sometimes hard words, of prayer, of upholding.
When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.
Deuteronomy 24:5

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  posted at 22:06  

At 31 March, 2007 08:12, Anonymous John Dekker said...

The year off after marriage is very important. This is, IMHO, exactly what the WCF means when it says the "general equity" of the OT civil law is still to be observed.

I still don't know what I think of the "faith in the man he'll become" concept...

At 31 March, 2007 13:24, Blogger Ashley said...

Wow what great articles! I had actually saved the links to those second two in the intention to write a post on it someday. (Yeah, someday never came!)

I think it is important to take the first year off!! I'm in my first year right now, and we have limited our outside activities to a minimum. We spend a lot of time together just ENJOYING each other! We both work full-time and attend church, but that's about it except for a few months in a Bible study and a few months dog training. I read somewhere that it was recommended that newlyweds refrain from buying a house until after they've been married at least a year.

I also really appreciate the idea of being a bridesmaid being more than just the dress and shoes. It's an honor and a privilege! And a responsibility too.

At 31 March, 2007 13:37, Blogger Robert said...

Carolyn's article looks interesting and I will read it tomorrow when I get time.There was a good article from Boundless that I read on Kristy's Just My Journal blog from Oct 20 '06.It's called "Brother,your like a six" by Scott Croft.It's about the Bibical view of attraction and how people look for perfection in a husband/wife.

At 31 March, 2007 13:54, Anonymous Ellen B. said...

Maybe "faith" for who the two of us will become (as one) might be healthier in a marriage relationship. I think I'm with John on wondering about the "faith in the man he'll become" concept. Does that idea put expectations in front of what God is actually doing? Could it add to discontent? Hope for continuous service and dedication to the Lord throughout our sanctification process, whatever that ends up looking like might add to more contentment in the relationship. I hope I'm communicating well. It will be good to consider this topic, thanks Keziah, (the 1 who bears a unique name!)

At 02 April, 2007 02:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lauren's article is BRILLIANT! I'm gonna have a bit of a thinker on that one. :)

As for the "faith for the man he'll become"...I've always taken that as taking note of the direction he's headed in now. Is he growing there? Is he seeking, learning, walking? Then have faith that he'll make it, though not perfect now. I've never taken it as some type of belief that would breed discontent by you mentally designing what you want/hope for.

At 02 April, 2007 13:26, Anonymous Ellen b. said...

Thanks for that insight Aussietigger, that makes better sense to me. Faith and hope are good things!

At 06 April, 2007 19:15, Blogger Keziah said...

I think Kristy has described my thoughts on the spiritual growth on the young men in my life better than I have or could.

I think Carolyn McCulley's point is that we as young women want to marry the John Pipers, CJ Mahaneys, CH Spurgeons of the world without remembering that a lot of maturing has gone to grow them into the men they are today. We need to make sure that the men we marry are on that path and growing (just as we should be as women of God) while having faith and trust in God that he will not leave a good work unfinished.

At 07 April, 2007 02:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We as Christians must keep the definition of marriage between a man and a woman. I just read where Disney is allowing "gay couples" to wed at their parks. We should boycott Disney and show our faith.

At 17 July, 2009 10:24, Blogger busymomof10 said...

Neat post! I like your thoughts and your writing style.

I like the idea of the "Faith in the Man He'll become" concept -- but of course, you can't take that too far. One of the oldest and worst fallacies out there is the "I'll altar him." concept!! :)

I'll have to check into that book. Well, not for me!! (big grin!) but for my oldest daughter, who will be 24 tomorrow and still waiting for God to bring the perfect husband along . . .

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