God has been working some things out in my heart about the beautiful role as a wife and a woman of God and I feel strongly to share this as a word of encouragement for you!
How we’re designed
God created us to be maternal, nurturing, boo boo kissers, comfy cuddlers and gentle assurers, right?
Honestly, I confess…sometimes I battle with insecurity because I’m more of a bold, passionate, loud, fiery fixer, rally starter, bossy cheerleader and like a personal trainer that pushes for the next rep when you’re fatigued. One that doesn’t let you take your eyes off the mission even when you want to quit.
While I’m neither a wife nor a mother (in the natural anyway), I am a wife in training. I advocate for prayerful premarital preparation yet fully understand that as much preparation as one may embrace in become a wife and mom, it won’t be UNTIL you’re actually in those roles that you can really walk it out. Additionally, our Heavenly Father along with our husband and kids will continually work on us to shape us into the wife/mother that God needs us to be for them, right?
So whether you’re a wife in the waiting (like me) or a wife in the making…there’s some important points I’d like to present so that we can prayerfully process and prepare our hearts for these important roles.
Healing Heart Wounds
For me, I truly value, appreciate and honor the strength of healthy biblical masculinity. I want it. I crave it. How about you? We must learn to value and encourage the men in our world to be all that God designed them to be. It would be good to allow Holy Spirit to heal the wounds of our heart left from other men who may not have modeled this in the best way. God wants us to heal so that we don’t allow our heart wounds to infect our current (or future) relationships.
Healthy Biblical Masculinity
It would seem masculinity is under assault in our current age. Men are getting beat up, falsely accused, dishonored, disrespected, devalued, and manipulated. Personally, I attribute this to a few factors: unhealed wounds of women, the hyper feminism movement, and demonically influenced tactics to deteriorate family values including emasculating men.
For more on this, check out my recent post “Another Expert Speaks: Are Unmarried, Childless Women Really Happier?”
Okay, I’m going to take a lesson from Brene Brown, and choose to be courageous and confess something pretty deep here. And it may seem like I’m hypocritical and talking out of both sides of my mouth. I acknowledge that. Be merciful with me as God ministers to me. I’ve been convicted. Though I refuse to partner with shame, I do have regret. Here it goes:
I admit, in the past, I have been unkind, dishonorable, and sometimes flat-out mean when I’ve been in a relationship with a man and he’s shown me weakness. I’ve distanced myself, pulled back and have broken up with many guys after they revealed a pattern of (what I perceived as) weakness. I didn’t know how to handle it. And I didn’t do it right. I hurt people, and for that I’m genuinely sorry and hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
I didn’t have enough emotional resilience of my own to be able to handle their emotions.
I’ve always viewed my future husband as one who is emotionally strong, resilient, reliable, assured, confident, secure, a leader, a warrior, fit to fit the spiritual war we’re in. I’ve glamorized King Leonidas in the movie 300. Ah, Hollywood deception strikes again. But here’s what I’m learning through evaluating my mistakes and preparing for who God has prepared for me:
Men have wounds too
Inside every wonderful warrior of a man is a little boy who constantly questions, “Do I have what it takes?”
Just as inside all of us powerful women is a little girl who is asking “Am I worthy?”
Allow me to remind you, no man wants to look weak…ESPECIALLY to his beloved wife. But he’s human, not a machine. He has doubts, fears, and insecurities just like we do. He’s not bulletproof. He’s built to carry a lot of leadership and responsibility and just like we have hard days, he does too. He might be questioning his ability to provide and protect. He might be getting really down on himself when he knows he’s disappointing you. He wants to spend more time at home and help you too but he’s under pressure at work. Most of the time, he just keeps the things to himself because 1) He doesn’t want to look weak or 2) Because he doesn’t have confidence that you’re able to support him when you’re constantly criticizing him and complaining about the burdens and stressors in your world.
Becoming the Safe Place
I hope God continues to work on me so that I will be the safe place for my future husband to offload his worries and stress. I hope to gain enough emotional intelligence and compassion so that I can hold space, show support and partner with Holy Spirit to edify, uplift and encourage my man at his low points.
Know Your Role
Though we’re maternal, we’re not his mother. Just as he is not our father.
The role of a mother is to partner with Holy Spirit to raise up powerful sons and daughters to be all God designed them to be. The role of a wife is to partner with Holy Spirit (which, characteristically, is quite maternal in nature as counselor, guide and advocate) to lift up, honor, build up, encourage, support, and value our guys.
Our husband is deserving of a wife that abides in Christ and who will echo the voice of Holy Spirit and remind him of his identity. They want to hear that we believe in them, that they’re brave and courageous and that he can count on you to be his partner. He needs regular reassurance that you’re with him, for him, and not against him. He needs to know you’re connected as ONE with God and that you are grafted together, a cord of 3 strands that cannot be easily broken and that together, you will get through anything.
The most vulnerable thing for a man to do is to stand before his bride when he is beat down, exhausted, worried, feeling insecure and defeated and choose to let you in to that emotional space to see them in that state. That’s courage. That’s intimacy. That’s risk. And it’s sacred to him and on reserve for few to see.
You have to honor those moments and decide in advance - How will I respond?
In these moments, how we respond or how we react may create a lasting impact. It will either communicate that you’re a safe place for him to process or that he has to find other ways to offload his stress and emotions. This moment of intimacy is an opportunity to become more interdependent and connected or broken in need of repentance and healing.
So you messed up…
You might be sensing the Holy Spirit’s gentle conviction right now. Maybe you’ve just realized, “Ah, crap…I really blew it.” Okay. You may have messed up…but you’re not a mess up. It happens. You’re not expected to be perfect. I speak to the spirit of shame and say “Shame OFF you in Jesus’ name!” This is where you get to embrace the mercy of God. You know what to do. Own it. Confess. No excuses. No defenses. Acknowledge where you messed up. Ask for forgiveness. LISTEN. Give him time and space to process if he needs it. Then go deeper. Ask how and what needs to happen for reconciliation. Be open to his response. It may be a process. Let him lead. Work through it. Trust God through it. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). Let Holy Spirit counsel you and build you back up.
Here are are a few of my favorite relationship and marriage books: