Passive Men & Overbearing Women
Chris and I have made no secret of our marriage struggles; we feel we are to steward that season with transparency to share hope and Jesus through it.
If you are trying to do marriage without Jesus, we are concerned. There is nothing natural about marriage – two independent, selfish people living together for fifty or so years, raising needy, dependent children amid the stress of scrapping out a life together. Its only hope is the supernatural. We shouldn’t at all be surprised by the state of marriage. Even Christian couples who take their eyes off Jesus – even briefly – can and do easily end up in a ditch. We are convinced Jesus is the ONLY hope for a healthy marriage that lasts. We don’t think it’s possible any other way.
The fact that Chris Cawthon and I are still married is the work of Jesus.
We’ve been married seventeen years, and we spent a year in Christian counseling (individually and as a couple). We want all marriages to win, and we’re not afraid to tell you we sucked it up real good before we discovered what God intended for us all along.
Chris emerged from the fray with a dogged fervor for the restoration of manhood – particularly in the church. So much so that he’s hosting M*A*R*C*H, a real-talk event for men only, next week (Thursday, September 10). We are both committed to facilitating honest conversation between men and women to help couples succeed in their relationships.
Let’s dive in….shall we?
Fellas, hear me……..We women want you to be men! We want you to lead. We need you to love Jesus more than you love us. And we need you to find your validation in Him. That’s a weight we cannot bear.
Duty and obligation aren’t your best looks. Neither is bully.
Jesus looks good on you.
Adventure looks good on you.
Laughter is dashing.
Leadership looks strong on you. And we need you to know, if there is a leadership vacuum in our relationship….we’ll fill it. Even though that’s not supposed to be our role. And deep down, we really don’t want to.
And if your idea of leadership focuses on the Biblical command for wives to submit more than you take seriously your mandate to serve, your definition of leadership is inaccurate. Jesus is the example. In fact, Dr. Tony Evans says, “[w]hen a husband refuses the authority of Christ and attempts to follow his own way, he forfeits any expectation of submission from his wife” (I’m still testing that against Truth, but he makes a compelling point).
We want you to be our safe place. Even though we sabotage that by hurting you. In response to being hurt by you.
We want to feel fought for.
And we care about feeling beautiful….even if we say we don’t.
We want you to regularly plan dates – arranging the sitter and making the decisions. We want you to create space and time and quiet for us to invest in our sanity and our souls. Your forethought and intentionality make us feel loved and led well.
Ladies, I love you. You’re my people. But we bear a responsibility for the state of our relationships that I don’t feel we accept. We’re pretty good at being blamers [rolling of eyes, pointing of fingers].
When we treat our men like one of our children, we are out of line.
And whether we know it or not, if our husbands “do what we tell them,” it makes us sad in the inmost closet of our hearts. Because we are standing in a role God never intended us to fill.
So if you want your man to lead, get out of his spot.
When we bark and sneer at him publicly, when we disrespect him in front of our children, or even in private, we emasculate him. There is no more grievous offense against a man.
We also dishonor the Lord with our contempt. Which puts us in a scary place before Him (Psalm 111:10).
Our guys want us to know they are often haunted by a fear of failure. And when we aren’t their biggest fans, we hurt them in a way no one else in the world has the opportunity to do. AND, we need to know they become more susceptible to the attention of someone who may cheer them on.
Victimhood doesn’t look good on us. Insolence is not in style. Chris is not driving home thinking, “Man, I hope Cookie is frazzled and tyrannical when I get there.”
Girls, I do not minimize the difficulty of raising young kiddos. I know showering is a legit struggle, but if we are not trading childcare with a friend, forking out some dollars for a sitter, or asking nearby relatives or the husband to watch the children so we can recharge, we don’t get to complain. In fact, we are often given to a martyr-complex, and we need to knock it off.
You are a woman before you are a wife or a mother. Your identity isn’t in either of those roles. Your identity is only secure in Jesus.
This is hard business, people. This kind of talk isn’t much fun, but hopefully it pushes the ball forward and can possibly serve as a conversation starter in your marriage.[Feature image: Valentina Mabilia]