Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So You're Married, Now What? Use Your Gifts

No blushing bride goes into marriage thinking that it’s going to be hard, or even that sin will rear its ugly head shortly after she says “I do”. But the unfortunate reality is that it does. Sometimes right away. But sometimes a few moments of bliss is enjoyed before real life sets in. Either way, there will come a point where the “honeymoon phase” is over. Two sinners living under the same roof is a hard adjustment. For many it’s the first time they have ever been hit head on with the sinfulness of their condition. And it’s painful. It’s crucial that the church and godly families help young brides-to-be prepare for what to expect, and how to respond.

The culture unabashedly tells young women to seek a career and climb the professional ladder. There are a host of television shows, message points in the classroom, and mainstream media publications that encourage girls towards this end. Unfortunately, many in the church do too. They might not state it so bluntly, but often the expectation placed on young women from a very early age is find out what you want to be when you grow up and educate yourself accordingly. It’s a subtle encouragement to the impressionable girl that your dreams, goals, and pursuits matter most. And it’s up to you to make them a reality. The message is rarely one of helping young women learn how to serve a family as a wife and mother one day. That, my friends, would be a waste of her intellect and dreams, right?

Don’t get me wrong. Women have incredible talents, gifts, and strengths just as much as men. It’s part of being created equally in the image of God. But God never designed any of us to use our gifts to seek our own glory and gain. And in his good plan, he uniquely created married women to primarily be a help and service to their husbands (Gen. 2:18, Gen. 2:20). But this looks different for every wife.

We would do young brides a great service by helping them fully understand their gifts and talents (and they have them), and how to harness those gifts to support and help their husbands. Sound crazy? Counter-cultural? It is. But it’s exactly what we as women need, and what a watching world needs to see. What can happen when young brides have not grasped this great truth is what would happen to any relationship when both are seeking their own way. Conflict.

I didn’t understand this when I first got married. Sure I believed that I was supposed to be a help to my husband, but I didn’t understand what it meant to be a “suitable helper” to my husband. I thought he was a hindrance to me fully exercising my talents and living my dreams. What I failed to realize was that God had gifted me in the exact ways my husband needed to be helped. He made me perfectly suited for my husband. And not for my own gain and my own glory, but to serve and support my husband in such a way that he is freed and equipped to fulfill his calling in life.

This is how the family is supposed to work. The family is one cohesive unit, with every member having a role to play. Some have more prominent roles, some have more behind the scenes roles, but all matter in the Kingdom.

So next time you talk to a young girl about her aspirations in life, don’t squash her desire to be a wife and a mother. Instead help her learn how to cultivate her gifts, dreams, and abilities in a way that will bring honor and blessing to her future husband and glory to her heavenly Father as well.


Trisha said...

I struggle with this. I know that it is right for women to be the helper of their mate but sometimes that means being the provider to. Unfortunately in this day and age an education is not just important but crucial in order to do this. My husband had a hidden sin and when it reared it's head after 11 years of marriage it took him away to prison. This leaves me a single parent with three children. I now have to work full time and constantly struggle with how to be the Mom that God wants me to be because of it. I did not finish college so I know first hand how difficult it can be to find a way to support us on my income. I would also have to say that God can do anything and that he is taking care of me and my boys. He is so much bigger than we can ever imagine!
Perhaps, we should encourage young girls to seek God's will! Maybe that looks different for everyone. Just a thought.

cdt said...

Thanks, Trisha. I'm so sorry for your family situation. I truly believe that God gives special grace to women in sad situations like these, and I pray that he has put you in a good church that will encourage you and support you as you walk this hard road.

I do agree that we need to encourage young girls to seek God's plan. I went to college and even spent two years in seminary,so I'm not opposed to continuing education at all. I think families are served by well-educated mom's and wives. What I was hoping to convey in my post is the idea that our educational and professional pursuits should not be for our own glory and gain, like the world tends to promote. Being a helper to our husbands looks different for many women, so it can't be a cookie-cutter description. Some women never go to college and that is okay for them. Some go to graduate school and that is okay for them. If our primary heart focus is to help and support our husband and family, that is what matters. I do think there is wisdom in thinking through what to major in and where to go to college (financially speaking). I think practical is best, especially if called upon to have to work outside of the home. I hope this makes sense. I did not want in any way to imply that women shouldn't go to college. I just wanted to challenge conventional thinking. Thanks for commenting and reading!

Trisha said...

First of all I want to say that I enjoy reading your posts! Also, I completely agree with you. I think the world has moved us far away from what the bible tells us about being a woman. Thank you for bravely going there! God has blessed my family with a great church. We have alot of support and I am so thankful. I wanted to also say that I am so thankful that all of this happened to us becuase it has completely changed my faith! God knew this is what it would take to bring me to the end of myself. Thank the Lord that he will do what ever it takes! Blessings to your day! (I blog too if you would like to check it out.) godscontrol.blogspot.com