A Matter Of Style

Steve Arterburn

Men, when I talk about becoming a servant to your wife, I’m not advocating a surrender of your God-ordained calling to provide leadership in your marriage. That would merely be trading one expression of unfaithfulness and one set of problems for another. Instead, I’m talking about giving up misguided and flawed styles of leadership for a more biblical pattern; a pattern that won’t trample your wife’s spirit, but will provide the context for your marriage to blossom.

Guys, the posture of your servant-leadership in marriage is two-fold. You’re both servant and leader. The balance is delicate. Overemphasis or misunderstanding of either aspect creates imbalance and distortion. For instance, if you lead by being a king of the realm, and lording that role over your wife, resentment is sure to be a result. At the same time, if in serving you abdicate your role of male leadership you may force your wife to assume that role and that creates problems in the marriage dynamics.

Both extremes are damaging because they distort God’s design for marriage’that is, marriage no longer parallels Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church.

Men, true, biblical, servant-leadership doesn’t promote either of these extremes. True servant-leaders lead, but do so in a manner that creates oneness and radiance in their wives. 

Shouldering Her Weaknesses

Steve Arterburn

What baggage does your wife carry? She’s surely no more immune than you. Therefore, she may be burdened from any number of traumatic events in her past.

 

Are you allowing for your wife’s weakness, loving her for who she is today, and not for who she might be at some point down the line? Sure, you may be shocked and dismayed at the weaknesses in your wife that were hidden until marriage exposed them. Maybe she comes from an abusive and dysfunctional background. Maybe she isn’t a very strong Christian. Maybe she was even promiscuous before she met you.

Any of these things may be true. But some other important things are true as well. Your wife did forsake her individual freedom in taking you as her husband, believing you would provide love and strength for her. Your wife is still God’s little lamb, regardless of the pain she’s been through and the wounds she carries. Don’t forget: God has entrusted her to you. Will you resent her? Or does your heart warm at the task of restoration? Is there any nobler act than pouring out your mercy on your precious bride?

Men, relate with your spouse based upon who she is today. Not upon what you want her to be. So what if she isn’t who she should be today? Are you? Besides, it’s not important that she becomes everything you expect. It’s important that she becomes like Christ. Impart to her the same grace, mercy and strength that Christ imparts to you.

Where Your Commitment Shows

Stephen Arterburn

If Christians were on fire for God, it would show in our marriages. Don’t you think the fact that rates of adultery and marital dissatisfaction in the Christian church are no different than the rates outside the church reveals something about our hearts that needs to be addressed?

 

Very few of us are consumed by our marriages, and fewer still are consumed by purity. Yet both are God’s desire for us. God’s purpose for your marriage is that it parallels Christ’s relationship to His church’that is, to be consumed with self-sacrificing love for our wives, and lay down our lives to make marital oneness a reality.

 

But when this doesn’t happen as we’d like, we get frustrated. ‘Well, if this is how she’s going to be,’ we think to ourselves, ‘why should I go through all the effort of serving her, and of being pure? She doesn’t deserve it.’ We’re tempted to retaliate and withdraw from our responsibilities.

 

Men, we all need reminding that our marriages are unconditional covenants, not conditional contracts. That means that amidst ever changing conditions and emotions, our commitment must never waiver.

 

Perhaps you’re finding it difficult to cherish your wife’to treat her with tenderness and hold her dear. Warm, romantic feelings are great, but fleeting. What if you don’t have them at the moment you need them? Lean upon your commitment to God. Be faithful to your commitment made before God and witnesses and don’t let your marriage covenant be dictated by feelings alone.