By Carole Sparks.
It’s a natural thing for married women. We get together. We talk. And often, the talk turns to our husbands. Then the talk of husbands turns downward. We begin to joke or complain about them. How often do you hear a wife praise her husband when she’s with her girlfriends? Not often? Me either. Perhaps it’s humility that stops us; no one wants to brag or be thought prideful, but perhaps—and let’s be brutally honest here—it’s just more fun and makes us feel superior to share their failures.
When you’re hanging out with your church friends and your husband is also their pastor, you simply cannot play this game! In order to fulfill his God-given responsibility as the church’s leader, he must be respected by the membership. In order for your girlfriends to submit to His leadership, they must honor him. Detailing your husband’s faults, however humorous, derails that respect.
This is one of the biggest challenges I faced as a new minister’s wife. I wanted to be accepted in my ladies-only Sunday School class. I wanted my peers to treat me like “one of the girls,” not like a party-pooper pastor’s wife who frowned on their fun. I had already learned, however, that husbands need respect in their marriages more than anything else. Emerson Eggerichs, in Love & Respect, encourages wives to guard their tongues and never tell stories that demean their husbands, neither in his presence nor in his absence.
It was hard, though, because my husband has committed some doozies, and they are fun-ny! I learned to ask his permission before sharing any story that was even slightly negative, and to be sure I included how he resolved the situation as part of the story.
But more importantly, I learned to think about my husband differently, to “take captive every thought” about him in particular (in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 10:5). Honoring my husband had to start in my heart.
Over time, I commandeered Philippians 4:8 for my purposes. While this isn’t exactly what Paul intended when he wrote it, I think this application fits into the purpose of the text. Try it with me. I’ve added blanks to the verse. Put your husband’s name there.
Finally, …self, whatever is true about _____________, whatever is noble about _____________, whatever is right about _____________, whatever is pure about _____________, whatever is lovely about _____________, whatever is admirable about _____________—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy in _____________—think about such things. -Philippians 4:8, with additions
Can you think of one true thing about your husband? One lovely thing? One praiseworthy thing? By stopping each negative thought and instead willing yourself to “think about such things” as these, you will gradually transform your perspective on your husband and find you don’t even want to tell the embarrassing stories.
The wife must respect her husband. -Ephesians 5:33b
I still have to apologize to my husband sometimes because I’ve spoken without thinking and dishonored him among friends, but this practice of thinking on the positive things has protected his honor and—bonus!—improved our marriage.
Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her website, http://carolesparks.com or her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.com.
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