When my divorce was imminent, I felt as if my faith had been pointless. I felt there was nothing left of me to give, I was beat down in despair.
Ten years ago, my marriage of sixteen years came to a close. One might think that I would have held my anger and contempt against my ex-husband for his lies and unfaithfulness. The truth is, I felt relieved that the truth was finally told, I had found justification to end the marriage. Feeling such a great burden lifted from my shoulders, I felt no anger towards my ex-husband. However, angry I was, but my anger was directed towards God. I felt that I had certainly worked hard at giving, giving and giving more to my marriage. Despite the extreme hardships that seemed never ending, I held on to what I thought was faith, that it would all prevail itself eventually. Upon the initial failure of this marriage, I felt as if my faith had been pointless. I had given so much of myself until there was nothing left of me to give, I was left beat down in despair, holding the bag of all our financial burdens and alone to raise my little girl who was barely four years old. Faith had failed me.
This anger I carried for several years, turning my will against the will of my Heavenly Father. Beat down and tired, I certainly had not strength left to give into that faith thing either as it was obviously pointless! Living my life my way, I made many immoral choices and was determined not to feel guilt for doing so, I closed my ears. One random day, despite my efforts not to hear, I did hear the voice of our Lord. “Joie my child, why do you do the things you do, which you know are against me?” In my defiant little attitude I replied, “Lord, you listen to me! As you know, I suffered extreme hardships, lived in great misery, and for 16 very long years, I kept holding on to that faith, that pointless faith. I feel as if I have wasted sixteen years of my life for nothing!”
I could hear His sigh, before he responded. “My child, I have a few questions for you in regards to this ‘faith’ that you speak of. Prior to your decision to marry this man, did you come to me in faith, asking me if this be my choice for you?” As my head lowered in reply, “No, I suppose I did not.” “My child, during this 16 long years of marriage, was your focused faith upon me, and my will for you?” Again, “No, I suppose it was not.” “Please explain to me child, what is this faith that has failed you?” Now I am thinking, I have some explaining to do! “I guess I had placed my faith into my husband, thinking that if I gave into his will, that it was faith enough. Hoping that through my faith in him, that he would eventually be the Man and Husband that I needed as a Woman and a Wife. If he had been striving to live according to your will, then such faith could have been trusted, because we both together would have been faithful to you. However, he was not, therefore, I was not, and I was a blind fool, putting my faith into a blind fool. Oh Lord, please forgive me!” and … He did!
In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
Too often we set out to blame God for our circumstances. More often than not, our circumstances are the results of our own choices and decisions made with out consultation with Him prior. We are impatient people and our answers are not always answered immediately. It is wise to wait patiently for the will of God to transpire, than it is to act out of foolish faith of one’s own desires. My first and biggest mistake was leading with my own will, second big mistake was living those sixteen years being lead by the will of my husband.
So what exactly should our roles be as a woman, a wife or a man as a husband? Realizing that I basically was a submissive woman, because it is in my nature to be pleaser, not only to my husband, but to everyone around me. My great awakening transpired due to two specific occurrences in my life.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
With the help of a male friend of all creatures, and through prayer to understand these scriptures, my eyes were opened to a clearer picture of who I am, as a woman to a man, and as a Christian woman striving to serve my God, my Father.
These scriptures define the roles of ‘Christian’ husbands and wives, certainly if neither are Christian’s, these words mean nothing to them because they do not believe in Christ, nor do they understand the love of Christ. Should one in a marriage be Christian and the other is not, although it is not wise to marry a non-believer, we often lead with our own desires, finding reason within our own hearts and minds, why it is justified to marry according to our own will and not that which is Godly.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
“Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Live for Christ
Even though my ex-husband and I both proclaimed our faith as being that of ‘Christian’, neither one of us were truly living our lives as Christians, nor were we modeling our marriage according to God’s plan for us. Certainly I believe I was the submissive wife, striving to please my husband, but one very important element was missing. That element was the reason that justifies my submissiveness. A woman should be submissive to her Christian husband, if he is living his life striving to live in God’s will! If both are Christians, both understand that God always comes first and foremost in all things. Both being equally yoked in their faith and their purpose, both will strive to live accordingly, in their actions and in their choices, together as one. The husband’s role was not to be one who is dominant, over bearing, cruel, nor to treat his wife as a mere slave and servant! As one studies and begins to understand the scriptures in Genesis, woman was created to be man’s partner, companion, helper, equal in their desire to serve as one, our Heavenly Father.
The happiest time in my marriage, was a brief time that my husband actually worked very hard at being a provider. The majority of time spent in our marriage, was me spending my time trying to get ourselves out of the messes we were in financially because he was never willing to take much responsibility. It became my responsibility to carry the full burden and load of all of our hardships, and my responsibility to take charge of fixing things. I continued to be submissive giving into his wants and desires, even though, the choices that he made were the initial causes of our extreme burdens. During this brief time, he was working very hard, very long hours to provide for our needs. I never loved him more and my respect for him, knowing his sacrifices, my desire to please him grew beyond measure. Catering to his every want and every need, and I was delighted to do so. I was so proud of him and he deserved a wife who appreciated all that he was working to do, and being a submissive wife was a rewarding pleasure.
As I mentioned, this was a brief time in our marriage, when this job ended, so did his desire to do whatever necessary to be a strong man and husband. How can one be submissive to a man that you can’t trust? How can you submit to ways that are wrong? How can you give praises and be proud of a husband that is not living his life as God has instructed him to do? Resentment begins to swell inside of you. I needed a Man for a husband, a man that could love his wife as Christ loved the church. To love with great respect, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and selflessness.
Christ loves Church
A Christian man who loves his wife as Christ loves the church, will do whatever is just, right, and necessary to protect her and provide for her, because he loves her this much. And a Christian woman who has been blessed with such a man, should willfully always be submissive to this man, understanding that he leads with the will of God in his heart, be trusting of his choices, obey his choices because you know, that despite what hardships may come, you are together walking in the will of God and your marriage will be greatly blessed.
Divorced I have been now for ten years, with no future of marriage in my life, my daughter often tells me, “Mom, you are too picky!” One of the reasons I have been picky is because I was left with a young daughter to raise by myself. A child does not need a roller coaster ride of emotions that they are often put on while divorced parents begin dating. I opted not to put my child through this while she was young and vulnerable. The other reason I may be too picky is because I don’t want to be the one who does the picking! I’ve been there, done that and lived accordingly. Yes, I would like a good marriage partner, one of companionship, respect, mutual goals, one that is equally yoked in their faith, and it is something that I do pray for. However, I also understand that if it is to be, it is to be the will of God, not that of my own. Should God bring to me such a partner, he will do so and it will be so. In the meantime, my purpose is not to live my life with that being my goal and focus. My goal and focus is to continue striving to become me, as an individual, to become worthy as a person, the child God intends me to be. That in itself, can be my life long mission, that may be God’s intent for me, as we all know our need for self-improvement on this earth, will be never ending! Perhaps there is a man right for me, however I am not yet the right woman for this man. If he truly is the man I pray for, then he too deserves the very best.
Mentioning earlier, that there were two specific occurrences in my life that changed my view of being a submissive, or that pleaser person in general. The first no doubt was my misconception of what that actually means according to God’s word. The second element transpired when I began to understand that God loves me! Yes, ME! He does not love me because, I am like everyone else. He does not love me because I try to please everyone else. He does not love me because I am perfect in every way, in fact finding any perfections within myself are impossible. The only thing within myself that I find perfect, is Christ’s love for me. That one and only perfection within me, is the only perfection I need. Despite my inability to please everyone, despite my many blunders and mistakes, despite my own lacking too often in faith, he still loves me perfectly. It is with His perfection, not mine that deems me worthy to love myself, to appreciate the good qualities that he has given, to strive to become the person He desires me to be as an individual. As I learn to become submissive to God first and foremost, he will continue working in my life, molding this imperfect piece of clay, into a Masterful piece of the Master’s art!
Not everyone has yet been taken to this place of understanding. Not everyone has been released from a bad straining marriage or will be. Not every Christian made the wise choice to marry one that is equally yoked in their faith. Our desire is to be pleasing to our Lord, but our burdens often are great when we marry non-believers, or in marriages that are not walking ‘Christ’ centered. This great separation from our faith, often creates great conflict in our marriages and in our lives.
To those who find themselves in a straining marriage, if you are both living with Christian beliefs, I pray that you begin praying together. I pray that you will seek counsel with one who shares your faith as Christians, not to seek secular counsel. As a Christian man, I pray that you strive to be the Man that God our Father intends you to be towards your wife. To love her, to honor her, to respect her, to cherish her and to do whatever is right and just towards her, to be the Man worthy of her submissiveness. As a Christian woman, it is not only your duty, it is your honor and joy to love, respect, cherish, adore and be submissive to your Godly Man and Husband. If his intent is the will of God, you must submit and trust him, as it is God’s will.
If you have made the choice and married outside of your Christian faith, living your life in God’s will has not changed. Your first and foremost purpose as a Christian is to serve your Lord God above all others. We should never submit ourselves to our spouses, if doing so requires disobeying God. Our relationship we have with Him our Father, is the most important!
1 Corinthians 7:12-15
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
We as Christians, need to show our non believing spouses, our love of Christ through our godly behavior. Serving and loving our spouse, will give them an excellent example of how Christ served and loved the church, and continues to love each one of us, despite our own inabilities to be worthy of such love, we are deemed worthy through His perfect love for each of us.
May 5, 2009
Originally posted on Christian Article Bank which is no longer available.