1 Williams Place
Is Your Spouse
My teaching notes fo
I was lying in bed this morning meditating on what I would talk about tonight, and the Lord began to show me an historical sequence of events that began with Lucifer’s prideful rebellion and ejection from heaven. Isaiah 14 tells of his fall as he proclaimed, “I will exalt my throne ... I will be like the Most High.”

In Christian dogma, “pride,” sometimes called “vanity”, is defined as “excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.”

From Lucifer’s pride arose rebellion and betrayal of his heavenly position that led to his final separation from God. Might we call it a divorce?

This pattern of pride and its downward spiral toward divorce has continued down through the centuries and is still operating today, right here, right in our own hearts, if we are not careful. It can work in any relationship, not just marriage. I have seen it in marriages, parent/child relationships, friendships, employment, and even in ministry. It’s steps are always:

Pride Æ Rebellion Æ Betrayal Æ Divorce.  The ending of a relationship—marriage, friendship, job, etc.

Could pride be the root of an observation I have made over the years—a strange and troubling dynamic in many marriage relationships? I have experienced it in my own life, seen it in my daughters’ lives, as well as other relatives’ and friends’ lives—what began as potentially great marriages transformed into a hostile battleground with their mate becoming “the enemy.” We all know the enemy can’t be trusted. He must be fought at every turn. His desires must be resisted, his needs punished, and his headship destroyed. It’s a very subtle phenomenon rooted in the dark world, but it is pervasive in our society and in the Church. I’m sure everyone listening has seen it or experienced it.

In an effort to understand some of the dynamics of this tragic dynamic, especially in marriage, I went to Ephesians 5. I pulled a few statements from that chapter that are a total contrast to pride, rebellion, betrayal, and divorce. I read:

• Follow God’s example in everything you do.  
• Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.
• Be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise.
• Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.

As I meditate on those four points, I can’t help but think about how different things would be in many relationships if both partners, or even one partner, practiced just those four things. Pride cannot operate when those four godly characteristics are being practiced.

Moving on in Ephesians 5, verse 33 explains what a wife’s attitude and behavior should be toward her husband. This is from the Amplified Bible.

However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband.

Being the Amplified version, it amplifies “reverence” to mean that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.
Does that sound like what is happening in your home and marriage? You may be saying, “Yeah, but he’s supposed to love me as he loves himself.” I ask you, “Do you see an ‘if’ in that verse? Do you see anywhere that it says, ‘you do this IF he does that’?” No, God does not operate that way. We each stand accountable no matter what others do. First Peter 3 gives us insight about how important our behavior toward our husband is. He said that the husband can be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Verses 8-9 (NIV): Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers [and sisters], be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. [added]

Verses 12-14a (NIV): For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

Does that fill you with determination to do right? It does me.

I started out by sharing my observations, and I will conclude with my observations. I have observed that men have needs that women don’t understand. Hello? Is anybody here from Mars?

Men have God-given needs. Some of those needs are that Men need to be noticed; in other words, they need to be the center of our attention (does this sound familiar?). Men need to be regarded and appreciated. They need to be honored. They need to know they are the priority in our life. Men need to NEVER EVER be corrected in public, even if they are wrong. And my observation is that it’s better to limit any correction to praying for them. Men need PRAISE! Men need to know they are loved and desired. And as the Amplified version says, they need to be admired EXCEEDINGLY. Please keep in mind that these needs are embedded in their very nature. They are from the image of God.

I told one young woman when I heard her berating her husband in my presence, “Honey, if you don’t sweet-talk that man, somebody else will!” Not too many days later, she found out he had been seeing another woman.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but for the majority, if we practice these things, we will see our husbands flourish, and we will reap the rewards. I’m sure this is what 1 Peter 3 is talking about. Let’s read the Amplified scripture:

IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over, not by discussion but by the godly lives of their wives, when they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence. You are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband.

I recently went into the bathroom and found that the toilet seat was up, as it usually is after my husband has been in there.  My first reaction was the usual annoyance, but immediately God checked me, and something happened inside my heart that has affected all of the other little annoyances in my life. I suddenly became grateful to see that toilet seat up because it meant that I had a living, breathing, imperfect, loving husband to curl up with at night, to wake up with in the morning, to do the ten thousand other things that we do together on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis, and who forgives me the annoyances that I cause him. When I told him what had happened to me and how grateful I am that he is in my life, we grew closer. It’s amazing what a little gratitude of heart will do.

Ladies, check your attitude for any pride that might be operating in your heart toward your spouse. Then check for rebellion. If you find the tiniest bit, go to the Lord with a humble heart in repentance, and ask Him to give you an attitude adjustment and help you love and respect your husband as His Word says. It really is a choice.

It’s very hard to be humble when you’re angry, but remember that the Word says in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  With the divorce rate as high as it is in our society and so many kids having to raise themselves as latch-key kids, let’s try living out our marriage relationship as The Covenant-Maker teaches us, with a heart of humility and gratitude, not pride. Let’s walk in the spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, whatever they are!

When you have learned to enjoy and appreciate your husband, he just might change from being the enemy to being your very best friend.

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