Saturday, July 25, 2009

Honoring My Husband ~ Or ~ Not Married to Cliff Huxtable

I grew up watching the Cosby Show. It was and remains to be one of my favorite shows. Back when we had cable in this house, I was known to stop on Nick and make my kids watch old re-runs of the show with me. Unfortunately, Bill Cosby's character on the Cosby Show was always portrayed as being sort of. . . well. . . not totally respected in the home. Cliff Huxtable was the butt of laughs and rolling eyes. Even as a child I knew that was just not the way it was supposed to be.

Though I fail, repeatedly, I know that my first responsibility in my home is to honor my husband. Though it is hard for me to admit it at times, J is full of wisdom and great ideas; and, quite frankly, the only time it is hard for me to admit that and honor him is when I am feeling the full force of conviction from something that he has said.

The first step in honoring your husband is to commit yourself to submitting to his authority. I've said before that I am *terrible* at submitting. I'm just not good at it at all. It is a constant struggle for me to get past my independent, strong-willed personality and not argue back. Oh, I'll obey, alright; but I'm sure gonna let him know what I really think of his ideas and their impact on my comfort and plans. This isn't submitting, though. This is like when I tell the kids to clean their rooms, and they whine and complain and drag their feet the whole time. It drives me nuts, and makes me feel anything but honored and respected. True honoring submission is listening with eager, teachable ears and then obeying or backing up your husband with true conviction that God will honor your submission.

The second step is to listen. I have, in the past month, begun writing down J's suggestions. I have a little notebook full of lists (I'm a compulsive lister): lists that I've gotten out of books or off web-sites, lists of homeschooling and homemaking goals. . . But the first list in my notebook is a list of suggestions that J has made to me. I try to go through my various lists, beginning with J's suggestions, and work one item off each list into my week. You see, I've come to realize that my husband really does know what he's talking about most of the time. He is on my team, and he makes valid suggestions that he believes will really benefit me and the family.

The last step is to allow the Holy Spirit to use your husband to guide and teach you. This is unbelievably hard to do sometimes. As a wife, you naturally see all your husband's weaknesses and shortcomings. There is a bit of a temptation to roll your eyes and think, "Who does he think he is? I know what he said this morning when he slammed his finger in the door. . . or the last time he didn't pick up his Bible. . . or (gasp) what I caught him looking at on the computer last weekend. . ." But God can and will still use your imperfect husband to lead you closer to Him and grow you in your faith and walk with Christ.

As a practical example. . . This evening, in the middle of a little spat, J told me, in what I felt was a rather rude and somewhat loud voice, that I should stop trying to figure ways out of my exhaustion and begin finding joy in it. He said that I wanted to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four kids; and that that was an exhausting job. He said that I should, ideally, be finding joy in the exhaustion I feel at the end of a long day; but, instead, I am trying to figure out how to eliminate the unavoidable exhaustion and becoming irritated and snippy when I can't.

Now, I know my husband, and I know that he gets irritable and snippy too. My initial thought was, "Why should I listen to this?!" But, you know what? That suggestion is going on my list tonight because he is right. God does not want me to be focusing my attention on eliminating or alleviating my exhaustion. He wants me to find joy in the exhaustion that comes from the blessing of getting to stay home and raise four beautiful children. When I learn to find joy in this calling, I will set a tone of peace, contentment, and love in our home. So, I will submit to my husband (and, consequently, to God) and surrender to the weariness. I will find joy in my circumstances instead of trying to change them.

I'm not Claire Huxtable; though I often treat my husband with much less respect and honor than I should. I know I ought to listen to his suggestions and submit as the Holy Spirit uses him in my life. And I make it my daily, and even hourly, goal to listen, submit, and be led by my husband.

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