Monday, October 20, 2014

You've Got To Be Kidding Me! Part 2

   So, I recently posted the first part to this post.  If you want the background, click here.  This is a two-part response to something I read recently that made me think "You've got to be kidding me!"  (More than once, actually!)

   So to continue with Point 2: All men are unable to be responsible for their thought processes and they all secretly desire young, naive girls as opposed to mature, wise women.

   And make no mistake, in the context of this book, the word "desire" was intended in all its intimate meanings.  The book basically stated that the more "childlike" we behaved as women, the more our husbands hearts would be turned to us, and we would awaken feelings of deep love and tenderness in their hearts.  And I am practically quoting the author here!  The word "childlike" was used several times.

   Let's just say, this creeped me out.  I possibly had a bigger problem with this initially than the first point I covered in the last post.  (Although it is easy how one could lead to the next.)  How could this be considered an appropriate Christian marriage?!

   First of all, it struck me as a very disrespectful attitude to take towards your husband.  This is the man God placed in your life as the leader of your home, and you are supposed to basically think of him as a lecherous, boorish person with an inability to control his baser instincts?  And not only are you to think of him this way, but you are to encourage him to feel this way--only about you?!  You have got to be kidding me!  How disrespectful of your husband!  How disrespectful of yourself!  How disrespectful of the sacred marriage God gave you!

   As wives, we are to be our husbands helpmeet.  This does not mean that we are to manipulate him or deceive him!  As I am not a man, I do not lay claim to know how much they struggle with the challenges of maintaining a pure thought life is this world of sin that they are forced to go out into every day.  I have been told that men are more visual creatures than women, and that what may not affect us is something that can cause them many years of heartache.  Every day your husband is bombarded by  visual images that can cause his mind to wander into sinful thoughts.  So rather than thinking, "Well, that's just the way he is, so I will become those images in order to help him," we need to pray for protection for our husbands.  Protection from images, thoughts, and even other people that would lead him astray.  This is being a wise helpmeet.

   As far as behaving in a "childlike" manner in order to awaken certain feeling in our husbands...just ewww.  I mean, really, is that what you want your husband to view you as--another child that he has to care for?  How is that following God's plan to be a Proverbs 31 woman?  I doubt her husband thought of her as "childlike."  Do you think David would have married Abigail if she had behaved in this way?  Not likely! What about Mrs. Noah?  Do you really think that Noah had time to deal with a "childlike" wife as he prepared for the world to end?  I mean, who do you think organized the stocking of the Ark?  Getting the food ready and stored?  Gathering the necessary items for 8 people to live on a boat for and indeterminate amount of time?  Well, who packs for vacation in your house?  Probably you--the wife--right?

   These women did not "simper" around, constantly asking what they should do next.  They did not questions, whine, complain, or behave in otherwise childish ways.  They didn't bat their eyes and say, "Oh, I just don't know how I managed before you came over to help me..."  And, ladies, neither should we.  The Bible is pretty clear that as we grow, both physically and spiritually, we are to put away childish behaviors.  Titus 2 tells the older women to be teachers of the younger women.  Well, no matter how young you are, you are always older than somebody else!  There is always going to be someone who is looking up to you.  Are you teaching them that it is okay to behave in an immature way, as long as it gets them what they want or makes someone else (a guy) feel superior?  Are we really supposed to pander to the men in our life?  Respect them, care for them, help them, pray for them--yes.  Indulge their every whim, never disagree with their behaviors, allow demeaning treatment of ourselves--no.

   Many women complain about an apparent lack of maturity in their husbands and other men in their life.  "They're so juvenile! They are just crude!  He is so spoiled...I have to have everything just right for him."  Well, it sounds to me like they are talking about an over-grown toddler rather than the man they are married to!  How is it helpful to encourage that behavior?  How is that fulfilling your purpose a a help to your husband?  After having parented several children through toddler-hood, I can tell you am I glad I am not married to one!  Is it wrong to treat your husband specially--make him favorite treats, forgive annoying habits, etc?  No, of course not.  But it is wrong to encourage him in selfishness or other immature things that have no place in a Christian's life.

   So, as I wrap up this post, I want to encourage you to look carefully at your attitudes and actions as a wife.  Are you encouraging your husband to sin--even unwittingly?  Are your actions making it easier for him to have trouble with his thought life?  Are you praying a hedge of protection around him, yourself, and your marriage?  If not, start!  There are several good Christian books out there about how important our actions as wive are to our husbands.  Get in God's Word and study what the wise women in the Bible did and how they responded to situations in their lives.

   And if you come across a book or speaker-even if it is meant to be Christian--that doesn't seem to mesh with the Scripture...drop it!  Be discerning of what you allow to influence your thoughts and life.  Stay in the Scripture so that false teachings will sound like a note out of tune in your life.  Don't be a "silly woman!" (2 Timothy 3:6)         

   If you have made it this far, thanks for reading to the end!   If it gave you something to think about, I'm glad...thinking leads to growing!  I hope I can encourage you to grow a little closer to our Saviour!  :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

You've Got To Be Kidding Me! Part 1

   So, I've been writing a blog post in my head for a while now.   It is a tough subject, so I have been giving it some extra thought.  But I think I'm ready to throw it out there, so here goes...

   It all started when I skimmed through a book recently.  It seemed to have been written from a Christian viewpoint, but it didn't "click" with me.  I couldn't put my finger on a specific thing exactly, it just didn't seem to "mesh" with my spirit.  Its intended purpose was to strengthen your marriages.  It was written by a woman and aimed at women, so I thought it was just going to be another book like the many books on the topic that I have read and been able to glean wisdom from.  No, I am not going to be telling you the title, mostly because I don't want any one reading it because they learned about it from my blog!!

   This is an unusual thing for me, because I am a very eclectic reader, and am not a big supporter of the "book burning" mentality.  (You know--the "if it's not Christian fiction by Janette Oke, then you shouldn't be reading it" school of thought.)  But I just couldn't get on the same page with this lady.  (Pun intended!)

   At this point, I began to ask some questions.  Was I having these problems with this book because I was spiritually immature, and not ready for this "next level?"  Was it the writing style itself?  Was I unwilling to look at my life through the lens of this book, written by what was supposed to be a mature Christian woman?  Did this make me unwilling to be teachable; unwilling to give up my preconceived ideas on marriage and how I responded to my husband?  (the main point of the book)  As I pondered what I had read, and compared it with the Scripture I knew, the answer to these questions seemed to be "no."  But maybe I wasn't being objective enough...too close to the situation.  So, I asked the person that I could guarantee wouldn't lie to me or sugar-coat what they would say--my Hubby!

   So, I explained to him my issues with the book--1.  It seemed to me to be encouraging women to basically deceive their husbands concerning their own (the wife's) intelligence level, opinions about things, etc. 2. It seemed to paint all men with the brush of secretly (or not so secretly) desiring a young, innocent girl as opposed to a mature woman with a functioning mind and opinions of their own.  3. Well, I may have had more issues, but as I couldn't get past these two, I guess I'll just cover these.

   As I explained these concerns to my husband, I asked him what he thought about said things.  Because we were riding in the car, First-Born could hear some of the conversation.  His response from the back seat: "That sound kinda dumb to me!"  Out of the mouth of babes!  I agree!  Hubby asked, as any good spiritual leader would, "Well, what does the Bible say?"

   So, this is what I have come up with in response to these ideas.  You might be wondering why I am taking time to write about this.  I guess it's because I see this insidious idea being taught and preached in some Christian circles.  I believe there are men who are pushing this idea because they have a need for control.  Control of their wives, daughters, even the women in their church. And this is dangerous because these women are unable or unwilling to think and decide for themselves between right and wrong.  They just go with whatever the current authority in their life thinks they should do.  This is so dangerous!  And I think if you look around and think about situations you know of, you will see this mentality at work and realize how easily this power is abused and the damage it has caused in the body of Christ.

   If I write about both points in one blog, it will be way too long for you to want to read, so I am going to break it up into two posts.

   Point one: the idea that we, as women, should basically practice deception in our lives concerning our intelligence levels, opinions about things, etc.  

   Well, my main problem with this is obviously the push for deception here.  The Bible is fairly clear on the matter of deceit, lying, guile, or any of the other various forms of dishonesty.  It is wrong.  Period. End of discussion.  Oh, and your motivation has no bearing on it.  "I didn't want to make him feel bad." or "It makes him feel manly to be able to do such-and-such for me...if he finds out I can do it, he will be hurt."  REALLY! I am not joking...this book actually told you that it would help your marriage relationship if you basically pretended you were helpless, confused, and unable to understand even the most basic of life's processes.  How is this a Godly relationship?!  How is basing your marriage on a deception going to work out for you in the end?  Jesus said "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life."  (emphasis added)  How can God be a part of your marriage if it is based on a lie?

   That's the spiritual conflict I have with this point.  On a purely mental level, it just annoys the mess out of me when girls (and women) pretend to be stupid.  GRRR!  God has blessed each of us with different mental abilities, and that is His plan for our life.  How can you take the talent He blessed you with and bury it in the dirt?  Pretend like it doesn't exist?  I'm pretty sure there was a Bible parable about that too...

   You may be better at something than your husband. (gasp!)  In our house, I am the reader.  I can read faster, with more comprehension, than my husband.  Does this mean that just because I don't want to bruise his sensitive male ego, that I never read in front of him?  Or that if I do, I pretend to struggle, just so he can swoop in and "rescue" me?  Does it mean I don't speak to him intelligently about the things I have read and learned?   No!  And precisely because I value my marriage is why this cannot happen.  My husband needs to be able to trust me.  How can he trust someone who practices deception on a daily basis? (Not to mention seems to struggle with the most basic concepts?)

   Now, a wise woman will learn quickly the value of discretion and humility.  If you are constantly showing off your knowledge, or bragging on your accomplishments, or always talking about how much better you are at something, of course your husband will begin to take issue with this.  Pride is not what I am talking about here.  The Bible says, about the Proverbs 31 woman, "She openeth her mouth with wisdom..." (verse 26)  It also says in verse 31 that her own works will praise her.  Pride or boasting is not becoming of a woman of God.

   However, neither is false inability.  Look at examples from God's Word:  do you think Deborah dithered around, wringing her hands and saying, "Oh, dear,  I just don't know what to do, Barak!  You're so much stronger than should just handle it however you see fit."  Ummm, no.  The Bible speaks of her wisdom.  Oh, and she was married! (Judges 4:4)  Do you think she hid her God-given wisdom from her husband?  Not likely!   He no doubt counted his blessings every day to have such a wise and Godly woman as his helpmeet!

   There is an example of a woman in the Bible who did practice deceit to  get what she wanted.  Although, not for her husband's benefit.  Delilah was obviously a smart girl who pretended to be something she wasn't to get Samson to cough up the secret of his strength.  This should be a cautionary tale to those of you who use your "feminine wiles" to get what you want...her husband was destroyed by her hand.  I'm sure her life didn't get better after that.  She may have never loved Samson, but her selfish desire for wealth blinded her long before he was blinded by the Philistines.  She may have even been destroyed when he pulled the temple down on the worshipers.  Do you think she could have resisted an opportunity to gloat over him?  It doesn't seem very likely looking at her lifestyle.

   So, my encouragement is this:  girls, if you are pretending to be something you are not to impress or get a guy's attention--STOP!  If he is the one God wants in your life, he will love you for your strengths as much as your weaknesses.  Don't base your relationship on a lie!  You will be sowing seeds that will only bring a harvest of trouble later on.  Ladies, I encourage you to  be honest with your husbands.  If you have an opinion, respectfully share it.  Yes, he is the leader of your home, but what kind of follower are you if you see a situation that will lead to trouble, and say nothing?  Then put all the blame back on him?  I have seen this happen, and it is so much more shaming to a man.  Don't worry ladies--your husband is an adult...he will be able to deal with your honest opinion much more than with your deceitful manipulations.  Be careful of the message you are passing on to the next generation--are you teaching a young girl somewhere that a Christian marriage is based in deceit?  Be a Titus 2 woman--a teacher of good things!

   I hope you read part two of this post.  Prayerfully consider how you are treating your husband...begin practicing honesty in your marriage.  I guarantee that it will be healthier than one based in deceit! :)