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. 

Loving Through Impasses

Steve Arterburn

Men, just like with you, your wife’s weaknesses will create impasses and threaten marital oneness. What will you do to bring oneness from such impasses? Demand that she straighten up and fly right? Surely there’s a more effective way to help her when she needs guidance. Why not lay down your ‘rights’ as the leader and graciously love her through these impasses?

 

Men, I want to present you with a challenge today: Stop evaluating your wife and resenting her because she doesn’t perfectly measure up to your standards. Instead, start accepting and appreciating her’and show her that in practical ways. When you demand that she change, or manipulate her into changing, you actually cause her to dig in her heels in order to defend her ground and the person she is. But when you accept her and love her no matter what, she drops her guard. She stops digging in her heels because she feels free to be the best she can be. Free to change. Free to be the wife you need.

So if your approach has been to crow like a rooster over every one of your wife’s imperfections, I suggest you eat some crow. Confess your unloving attitude to God and to her, and watch what happens. If she’s like 98 percent of all women, she will draw closer to you. And your relationship will continue to grow for as long as you appreciate and accept her’imperfections and all.

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.