Housewife Theologian

The Gospel Interrupting the Ordinary

Husband-Training

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Oct• 17•12
Train up a husband in the way that he should go,
And when he matures, you get the credit.

Oh wait, that’s not how the verse goes? Are you sure? Because sometimes I think that well-intentioned wives operate from this mantra. I’m not sure if it all started with the changes the Industrial Revolution made on the relationships in the home, or if women have always been in the business of “improving their man.” We joke around when a guy does something thoughtful by saying, “You’ve got him well-trained,” or we point out when our own could use better training. Are we really joking? Sometimes I think we take our “helper” role a little too far.

I’ve been married for 15 years now. That isn’t super-long, but long enough for me to make some reflections. My husband has grown in ways that I could never have imagined. I am so blessed by the man who I get to say goodnight to every evening. And in his graciousness, he would probably accredit some of his more noble traits to me—but it just isn’t so. My ideas for my husband’s improvements can’t even compare to what God’s plans are for his holiness.

As we are finishing up chapter 11 of Hebrews in my women’s Bible study, we discussed the passing of the Israelites through the Red Sea, as well as the walls of Jericho falling down. We talked about how completely different God’s ways are than our own. Faith looks to God’s faithfulness, and holds tight to his promises (Heb. 10:23). This kind of faith can boldly move forward and expect God to act according to his Word.

Somehow, now that I am soaking in the aftermath of our lesson, I began thinking about how little faith I have had as a wife. My own expectations for my husband’s improvement have been mediocre at best. Here was my picture of the all-improved Matt:

While I am busy with my day I find little love notes hidden in the house for me to discover while he is at work. When he returns home, he is energized by my mere presence. Greeting me with a smile and a kiss, he PUTS HIS DRESS SHIRT AWAY, and helps me finish dinner (you know, because he just wants to be with me, no matter what we’re doing). He then makes sure to enlighten our minds with theological conversation over the meal (while complimenting my culinary skills), or perhaps a Bible reading while we all eat with perfect manners…

Instead, I get a real human being who may sometimes do some of those things (usually not the shirt putting away part), but has thankfully refused any of my training attempts. Matt looks to someone much more equipped for the job of husband-training—our heavenly husband. And unlike me, Jesus Christ is not satisfied with an ostentatious veneer—he transforms the heart. That isn’t always pretty.

There’s an obvious wrong assumption in husband-training—the wife is placing herself in God’s righteous position. It glorifies her. In our role as a helper, we should first seek God’s glory for our husband. God promised that he is going to make both me and my husband holy—nothing less. How would we behave differently if we had God’s picture of our holiness before us? How much different does holiness look than my candied fantasy of the perfect Matt? And am I willing to go through God’s training for both of us to get there? I’m mom to three little people already. I’m happy not to be my husband’s mother. I’d rather be his wife and let God be God.

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5 Comments

  1. Helen Montgomery says:

    Erm God has made each and every child of His holy. Strange thing to say, that we are not now holy because the opposite must come into play. We are holy because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, or are we to say that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is an unholy thing?

    The inner man is more perfect and holy than we can ever imagine. The flesh will never be fully holy until it is changed from corruption to incorruption at death (1.Cor.15.53). Until then we are informed, due to indwelling corruption of the flesh, to daily renew our minds (Rom.12.2), straighten out the bent by rightly understanding the word of God, and so gradually obtain the mind of God upon issues of life, and not to be influenced by the world around us. How much corruption comes into the understanding by the telvevision, preaching to us the mind of the world, its standards, its ideals, with morals and ethics, and how often do you hear parrots in shops, work places, upon the street, parroting the latest political ideology.

  2. Tim says:

    “My ideas for my husband’s improvements can’t even compare to what God’s plans are for his holiness.”

    That’s something for husbands and parents to keep in mind too, Aimee. Thanks for the guidance.

    Tim

  3. Melissa says:

    Oh, engrave this message on my heart, dear Lord!

    • Alan says:

      Good point, Helen. As we continue to reside in the temple of God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, we naturally are as holy as we ever can be. It is only now the body that needs to be changed to fit into heaven.

      • Helen Montgomery says:

        Yes! I noticed that myself. It is a shame that others decry our perfect state. I do believe that they do so because they are not perfect themselves, that they have embibed the heresy of commitments, rather than having been born again.

        We cannot be any more perfect than being found in Jesus Christ. And it also shows in our waring against the flesh, we, the true us, taking up arms against the old man.

        Thankfully the old man shall one day be dealt with, the old corrupt, external nature, done away with, we free from this body of corruption.

What do you think?