How often has hope for a happy marriage loomed like a cold and forbidding mountain far beyond your reach or desire to scale? Straining your neck, you can’t imagine how you’ll ever get there. The task seems so formidable you believe turning back and finding the nearest sunny valley to traipse with someone new (or saunter there by yourself) is the only path to peace.
You never imagined life with your man would be this hard or that marriage would lose it’s charm so quickly after the honeymoon. But it is and it has, and if you ever want the balm of peace to grace your marriage, you need to find a way to climb that mountain.
Welcome to Christian Wife 101
This series is meant for all wives, newly married and decades married, living the oft-times difficult journey of marriage who want to rediscover the blueprint for joy and peace that God made possible and laid out in His word.
I’m in no way an expert on godly marriage nor am I a perfect wife. Far from it. But thanks be to God’s merciful Spirit, He has taken my past mistakes and opened my eyes to how I was sabotaging my desires for a peaceful life. When we try to rewrite God’s design, we will fail every time. But, oh, that illuminating moment when we finally get it: only God’s way works!
Christian Wife 101 is about getting back to the basics of what God says marriage is. Getting back to what God says a “help meet” is. Christian Wife 101 is a study for wives who want to thrive (not merely survive) in their role as a Christian wife.
Peace is not your right
Like air and food and water that we need and expect every day, I believed early in my marriage that marital peace was my right as a human being. I wanted peace to be mine without the effort. I wanted to bask in the light and airy warmth of achievement without lifting a finger. But peace isn’t like the air that surrounds us the moment we’re born but more like the after-effect of the birth itself. We have to push out the selfishness and the entitlement and the worldly attitudes we brought into our marriage first before peace can emerge. Peace is the by-product of letting go of ourselves and embracing the word of God.
Peace takes work. It does not just happen. Once we accept that peace is not our right, but a product (aka work) of love and honor toward a husband and obedience to God, we begin to see what God had in mind for a married couple. Oneness, peace, and joy. Not conflict and tears.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Isaiah 32:17
“If you don’t work, neither should you eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) could also apply to your marriage and desire for peace. If you don’t work on yourself as a wife, if you refuse to do the “work of righteousness” laid out in God’s word, why do you still expect to have a peace-filled marriage in quietness and assurance? It doesn’t work that way.
But what if I’m going it alone, you say? What if my husband isn’t working toward peace in our marriage? I’m not strong enough to do this by myself.
That’s true, you’re not.
When we try to take on the monumental task of husband changing, our goal of a happy marriage will be forever out of reach. Husbands don’t take well to any form of manipulation, however well-intentioned it may be.
Throughout the Bible, we are told to repent and turn to God. We are responsible for our own behavior and can only change ourselves. If you do the hard work of self-denial without keeping score, your husband will notice the yoke of disapproval lifted off his shoulders and he’ll soften his heart towards you (believe me, it’s true). If he is a man of God, he already knows his responsibilities. He’ll make strides in overcoming his faults without his masculine pride getting in the way. But constant reminders from you about all he needs to change will only steel his resolve to resist and slow the progress of marital peace you both want.
The beauty of being a godly wife is we have the power of influence. Godly feminine influence is a good thing, but we must be aware of our carnal tendencies to morph that good influence into control and ugly maneuvers.
This power, this influence, doesn’t work by blunt force or flattery or cranked-up volume, but by quiet example and truth spoken in love. This influence takes great spiritual strength to wield. You have to harness self-control and forgive over and over again.
Remember when you said, I’m not strong enough to do this by myself? It’s true, the strength you need is found in Christ who dwells in you (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 3:17). Daily ask to receive the power of God’s Spirit so you can use your influence rightly, cast aside the sins that so easily beset you (Hebrew 12:1), and break free from the world’s influence that says your happiness is all that matters.
Peace along the way
Don’t think you have to reach the pinnacle to finally reap the rewards of a peace-filled marriage, dear wife. With obedience to God, you experience peace along the way. But you must keep trekking. Peace awaits you on the mountain.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25
Life with your mate is a trek; joy in marriage is a process. As long as there’s breath, there’s more road ahead, and more for the two of you to learn and overcome.
When it comes to life and marriage, lean on the staff of Philippians 4:8 while you hike your mountain tightly holding your husband’s hand.
Whatsoever things are . . .
- True: God gave you a man to love. This man may hurt you with his words and thoughtless actions, it’s true, but he adores you more than you know. Ask God to help you look past the imperfections that grace your life with him.
- Honest: Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). God is for your marriage and wants it to thrive in His Spirit.
- Just: Your role as a wife is holy, righteous, and worthy of all you sacrifice for it.
- Pure: This marriage you cry over is from God. It is clean despite the mess. There is no better place for you to be.
- Lovely: Forgiveness when he doesn’t deserve it, smiling when a scowl or eye-roll would be your first response—lovely.
- Of good report: Your marriage is not just for you. You and your husband represent the union of Christ and His bride, the church. Give those around you something to marvel over.
- If there be any virtue—and there is, even though it is hard to see through the blur of emotion you spill at the kitchen sink. Marriage does not feel excellent while you’re plodding through the dry valley times together, with raised voices, misunderstandings, and fears. Or feel good at all when you’re hiking the steep and difficult trails of loss, and loneliness, and tears. But God promises you a breathtaking view when you persevere.
- If there be any praise . . . Everything you endure in faithfulness is praiseworthy, dear wife. These difficult marriage moments have purpose. They draw you closer to the One who loves you both and who longs to see the two of you adorned with crowns (2 Timothy 4:8).
Think on these things.
Christian Wife 101
There is no better view than the one you persevered together to see.
May the God of peace bless your journey and surround you in the light and airy warmth you long for.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Abiding on the Vine,
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