Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Walking As Wives

The current book that we are studying, Walking As Wives, by Judy Gerry has been a wonderful study so far. We are learning about how to love our husbands which means everything from learning his likes and participating in them to making physical intimacy more of a priority in our marriages. Some of these things come naturally to us as women and others do not. And we have had some great discussion because of it!
The first few chapters have been more about ourselves as wives, being sensible and temperate. What does that mean? Well, being sensible is about our thought life, what goes on in our minds. We talked about not being mastered by our feelings and letting them control us (1 Corinthians 6:12). We also looked at 2 Corinthians 10:5 which talks about "taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ" and how thinking this way should enable us to live Godly lives at home and in front of others.

Then we talked about being temperate; "Exercising the self-control that is necessary to do what I know is right" as the author put it. And we discussed what it means to be "a slave to sin." (2 Peter 2:19) The bible warns us to stay clear of "certain practices and activities because they are harmful to us...His motivation is His great love for us." (again quoting the author) And she asks probing questions like, "In your marriage do you ever excuse wrong attitudes or behaviors by saying, "My husband will just have to accept it because that's just the way I am?"" Learning to be both sensible and temperate are attractive qualities that your husband will be thankful for and blessed by.

In Chapter 3 we talked about loving your husband and what that entailed. We read Song of Solomon 5:16 which says, "This is my lover, this is my friend..." And we talked about the meaning of phileo love. Phileo is "emotional in nature and cannot be commanded, but can be developed." It is also described as "fellowship love requiring enjoyable interaction through comradeship and communication." Which means we may not always feel those lovey, mushy feelings, and that it is going to take work to keep the flame of love alive.

Some practical ways we talked about showing this type of love to our husbands were:
*Going to sporting events with our husbands
*Accompanying him to his favorite stores, even if it's not where you like to shop (hardware/ electronic/sports equipment stores)
* Expressing sincere interest in how our husbands spend their time at work, making eye contact with him when he talks
* Joining him in projects around the house, "cheering" him on as he works
*Taking care of his daily needs such as making sure he has clean clothes, preparing meals that he likes, creating a home that is welcoming to him and allows him to relax

We also talked about "Loving at all times" (Proverbs 17:17) and making sure that we don't point out all of our husband's faults, only to ignore our own. (Matthew 7:1-5) "Nurturing a "phileo" relationship with our husband is often the catalyst that stirs him to become the man that God has called him to be," suggests the author. And what woman doesn't want that result? She also suggests that if we learn to love and accept our husbands as God created them that we in turn will "become women that God has called us to be."

Chapter 4, our last discussion, was on becoming "one flesh" with our husbands. We looked at a lot of scripture from Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs, whichever your bible says). We talked about who created the sexual relationship. We discovered that if God created it, then it must be good (Genesis 1:27-28, 31) and is for our enjoyment (Gen 24:67), not just procreation. However, we did also discover that in order for these things to be true we must regard the parameters around it and not go beyond the boundaries of those parameters or else we would experience harm to ourselves and others. The author reminds us that we should enjoy freedom and God's blessing in this area of our relationship with our husbands, even though Satan and many in the world have taken this gift in marriage and perverted it.

Some practical ways we talked about loving our husbands physically were:
*Wearing lingerie to bed that he likes or that is new
*Taking care of our physical appearance so that we continue to look attractive to him
*Wearing our hair that is in a style appealing to him/ clothes that are appealing to him (not constantly wearing our sweats and t-shirts!)

These things, we learned, are important not because of conceit or male chauvinism, but because God created our husbands to be visually stimulated. We can do much to help them battle the temptation they face (to look at other women with lust/desire) if we will only use the power we posses as women to remind them of where they can go to fulfill those desires! We then learned that arousing these feelings in another man is like taking advantage of him because we cannot righteously satisfy those desires. So we must be careful of how we act with other men (flirting) and what we wear around them.

We agreed that can really be a challenge when we want to look good for our husbands. I suggested that when going to church or out on a date or anywhere for that matter that you ask yourself (or even your husband), "Would this outfit cause a man to stumble? Does it allow him to focus on my face or will his eyes be drawn to other parts of my body?" This can be a difficult question to ask and still feel like you can wear "fun" and "attractive" clothes, but I think it can be done. Wearing modest clothes for others to see and then revealing yourself for your husband's enjoyment is a gift we often forget we have to give.
These lessons are restated in a fabulous book I read by Dennis and Barbara Rainey titled, "Rekindling The Romance." I have the highest of praise for this book because not only is it written in two sections, one for the husband and one for the wife, but the authors are candid and give great suggestions to an often hushed topic in Christian circles. I hope you will check it out!

a daughter of the King,