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Book Jacket

1590521102
Softcover
300 pages
Jan 2003
Multnomah

The Politically Incorrect Wife

by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Excerpt:

What Is a Politically Incorrect Wife?

You’re probably wondering that right now, aren’t you? The politically incorrect wife is a woman who is married to her husband—and not married to popular American culture. How she views her husband and how she treats him are not determined by society’s popular ideologies. In fact, she firmly refuses to bend to mind-sets that would ultimately damage her marriage. It’s not that she doesn’t hold herself to a set of standards; she does. But her standards are different—higher, actually—than standards considered politically correct because they do not offend people who hold to popular thought.

The politically incorrect wife does not buy into modern-day thinking that says:

    1. You are in control of your own life.
    2. Marriage is a fifty-fifty proposition.
    3. You should treat your husband like he treats you.
    4. Your feelings are your guide.
    5. Your husband needs to earn your respect.
    6. You should make him pay for your forgiveness.
    7. There’s no such thing as a happy marriage anymore.
    8. Your husband’s job is to make you happy.

The politically incorrect wife does hold to these spiritual principles, which transform from the inside out:

    1. Doing things God’s way is the key to having a joyful life.
    2. I am 100 percent responsible to God for my behavior as a wife.
    3. I’ll love my husband unconditionally.
    4. I will act the way I want to feel.
    5. Respecting my husband brings glory to God.
    6. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.
    7. A Source of power is readily available to help me!
    8. My joy is not determined by another human being.

When it comes to both of these approaches to being a wife, you can be confident that we (Nancy and Connie) speak with voices of experience. Between the two of us, we bought into modern-day thinking regarding marriage for nearly forty years! During that very long and arduous time, we flowed right along with emerging cultural values and became more entrenched in the idea that our husbands had to earn their way to our hearts. Over the years we became stingier about how much love, affection, care, and concern we doled out to our husbands. In our minds, it made perfect sense for us to suspiciously measure the amount of love we thought our husbands were giving us and then treat them accordingly.

Our modus operandi was faulty for a number of reasons. For one thing, we were clueless to the fact that our measuring tools did not take into account that a man’s way of showing love to a woman oftentimes does not directly correspond to how a woman perceives love. Because we were using the wrong measuring tools, we didn’t realize that our husbands had been expressing their love to us all along—but from their male perspectives (imagine that!).

And we held it against them!

Of course, looking back now, it’s easy to see just how selfish and self-centered being love misers (or 24/7 scrooges of love) really was. It’s also easy to see how our mind-sets were molded by society’s present-day messages, which basically say, “Me, myself, and I only do something for you if me, myself, and I can get something out of it.”

Until we discovered God’s plan for marriage and began to follow His set of standards, our husbands felt like they couldn’t win no matter what they did.

So they stopped trying.

And so did we!

Being politically correct kept our marriages in “stuck” position for years—so much so that if you had taken a snapshot of our marriages during that time, you would have found cold hearts, bitter spirits, and unhappy husbands who were resigned to living with emotionally distant and often angry wives.

By God’s grace, we discovered a life-changing truth: Political correctness doesn’t work in a marriage. We were shocked to learn this! After all, we had spent years shaping our lives around this faulty view. Now, however, we consider that view to be utter foolishness and thank God every day for showing us the spiritual principles in His plan for marriage.

Sharing the Fruit with You

Not long after discovering God’s scriptural “job description” for wives, I (Nancy) realized that if I wanted to have a passionate relationship with Christ, I needed to do what He said. Since that’s what I wanted, I began being a wife God’s way—a wife empowered by the very One who created marriage. This turned my world upside down! Within weeks, God changed my heart of stone into a heart of love for my husband, Ray. I now have the best of both worlds. I love the Lord with all my heart and have never loved Ray more!

For me (Connie), becoming politically incorrect in this area changed not only my marriage, but my life as well. I developed a genuine love for my husband, and I no longer treated him in an in-kind manner. This liberated him to love me in a fresh way. It softened his heart toward me beyond description. Our daughters comment on this regularly. Most of all, becoming a politically incorrect wife opened the door to an intimate relationship with God. I believe my treatment of Wes stood in the way of that for years. Why would God shower His blessings on a stony heart? He didn’t! Before, I loved God in a casual sense. Now, I love Him with a passion.

After we (Nancy and Connie) met and got to know each other, we discovered that each of our lives had been radically transformed when we began to follow God’s ways in the area of marriage. We also discovered that we have a similar passion for helping women develop an intimate love relationship with Jesus and walk in the freedom of having their primary ministry—their marriage—in order.

The Road Less Traveled

So how did we come up with the concept of the politically incorrect wife? Not long ago, we were talking with a woman who was unhappy in her marriage. She wanted to know what she could do to get her husband to change. After all, she mused, aren’t husbands the ones who need changing the most?

We began to share our thoughts and ideas about what fulfills a woman in marriage. And to her amazement, it had nothing to do with changing her husband.

She grew quiet and mulled over our words for quite some time. Finally she announced, “You know, the trouble with what you’re saying is that it’s so politically incorrect to act that way.”

“Certainly it is that,” we agreed. “But the real problem isn’t that it’s politically incorrect. The problem is that political correctness simply doesn’t work well in a marriage.”

We then challenged her to consider becoming a politically incorrect wife. She said she just didn’t know if she could do it because her way made so much more sense to her.

“Tell us again how well your way is working,” we responded, with a bit of amusement in our voices.

She burst into laughter! Obviously her way wasn’t working at all, for her answer began with the words, “I’m so unhappy in my marriage I could die.” (To say it wasn’t working was a huge understatement!)

So the woman agreed to consider changing her course. We seriously wondered if she’d forsake the familiar for the unfamiliar. However, she was so unhappy in her marriage that we thought she might.

Then, two weeks later, one of us received a call from her.

“I can’t believe it,” she exclaimed. “I’m happier than I’ve been in years. We still have a long way to go, but I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel like the five-hundred-pound gorilla is no longer sitting on my back. I feel like I’m becoming me again—I’d lost me for such a long time.”

What Has Been Lost Can Be Found

Have you lost “you”? Are you wondering where the woman your husband married went? Do you sometimes look in the mirror and wonder where that radiant bride who walked down the aisle has disappeared to? Are you tired of running in place and going nowhere in your marriage? Perhaps it’s time you considered becoming a politically incorrect wife. Don’t allow anything to impede your forward motion a minute longer! Allow truth to get you back on track in your marriage and in your life!

We remember again the words of our friend: “You know, the trouble with what you’re saying is that it’s so politically incorrect to act that way.”

No, that’s not the problem…that’s the beauty!

Implementing the spiritual principles described in this book can help turn your marriage around too. Being politically incorrect will strengthen you and your marriage.

We’re not going to tell you that living out the high calling of being a politically incorrect wife is easy. Actually, it requires tremendous strength! But you will see as you read through and apply the principles in this book that you don’t have to muster up the strength to do it on your own because God wants to help you every step of the way.

May God shower His blessings upon you as you begin your walk down this exciting path of freedom in Christ.

Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby

Part 1

Titles Are Important

Do you have the aptitude, the capacity, for learning how to become a godly wife? Of course you do! Have you ever wished that there was some kind of job description telling you just how to do that? There is! It was given long ago in a garden called Eden to a woman named Eve.

God’s plan is far different from the world’s.

It is harder. It is higher. It is holier.

His plan for marriage isn’t hard. It’s impossible! You can never be successful on your own. But the impossible becomes possible because of Jesus. He alone gives us the power to be who He designed us to be—godly women and wives.

Can you do it? Of course! All that’s required is your willingness to follow Him.

Look to Christ…and let the changes begin in you.

Chapter 1

Men Need Help

The turning point in a marriage is often so small and unheralded that you can almost miss it.

There it was. The suitcase. Sitting at the top of the basement stairs. The very sight of it made her angry. Her husband had just returned from a business trip and had left the suitcase there, assuring her that very soon he would take it downstairs and put it away.

A week later the suitcase was still there. Since the washing machine was in the basement, she was forced to step over it time and time again as she did the laundry. Before long, the way she treated her husband was directly related to the number of times she stepped over the suitcase. It was the middle of January, and outside the temperature was dropping rapidly. Inside, it was plummeting as well.

One day she decided to move the suitcase. No, she didn’t take it downstairs and put it away. Helping was the last thing on her mind. Instead, she carried it into their bedroom and put it down in the middle of the floor where her husband walked, effectively blocking his path to the bed. Now he would see firsthand how irritating it was to arrange one’s life around a misplaced suitcase.

She returned to the kitchen, expecting to feel a certain amount of satisfaction and relief. She felt neither. Nor did she feel the least bit smug. What she felt was an overwhelming sense of sadness and grief. She knew her husband had not intentionally left the suitcase out; he had simply forgotten about it. Yet even knowing that, she clung to her “right” to feel offended and hostile.

She stood in the kitchen and thought about the suitcase. Had it belonged to guests, she would have happily taken it from their hands and insisted on putting it away herself. So why, she wondered, was she unwilling to help her husband in the same way? Why was it so much easier to serve others than it was to serve her husband? She took a good long look at herself and didn’t like what she saw. No wonder she felt grieved. Something needed to change, all right, and it had nothing at all to do with a suitcase.

A Wife’s Calling Is from God

If someone asked you what the most satisfying aspect of your life is, what would you answer? Is it being a:

Mother?

    Teacher?

      Friend?

        Career woman?

          Grandparent?

Where would being a wife fit? Would it make the top five, or would it fall miserably toward the bottom?

For many years, our marriage relationships were the least fulfilling, least satisfying, and least successful relationships either of us experienced. Though we didn’t know each other at the time, our lives were amazingly similar in this regard. We got along well with everyone else in our lives—our families, friends, neighbors, the postman, bank tellers, store clerks. Everyone except our husbands. This was troublesome and discouraging, but at some point along the way, we let ourselves off the hook by deciding that this surely must be “their problem.”

But it wasn’t our husbands’ problem; it was ours. We had no idea what God’s job description was for us as wives, so we weren’t doing what we could to be the wives God wanted us to be. It was only when we discovered this job description and began applying biblical principles to our marriages that we began to find satisfaction and happiness as wives and as women.

God never intended for us to be frustrated or confused. He was clear and exact about our role when He stood in His freshly formed Garden. And He hasn’t changed His mind. Popular opinion would have us believe that as the world progresses so should our thinking. But that simply isn’t true in regard to God’s Word. It remains the one steady thing in a constantly changing world.

God Knows Our Differences

In testing the market for this book, we went into a large, nationally known bookstore and asked the manager what books were available on a wife’s job description.

“After scanning five hundred entries, all I can find on wife is listed under fiction,” she said.

We told her of our plans to write such a book, and a doubtful expression crossed her face.

As we left the store, she called out, “Be careful!”

We asked her what she meant.

“Every woman is so different, how can you possibly write one job description that would fit all women?”

Of course God knew just how different we are when He specifically spelled out His expectations, promises, and blessings for a woman who takes on the role of wife as He created it. Just as His Word does not change in a changing world, it does not vacillate according to our differences.

Three main points will be discussed in this chapter.

    •The Role: Helper
    •The Reason: Man’s Aloneness
    •The Relationship: Marriage

As we look at these aspects of our job description, we will see that they are perfectly designed for us by God.

The Role: Helper

God’s plan for us was revealed as He put the finishing touches on His creation. It’s found in Genesis 2 and is simple and straightforward:

    It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. (v. 18, AMP)

There it is, God’s perfect plan for a wife! To be a helper. God’s role for a wife today is the same as it was in the Garden of Eden. Why would God create and bless all He had brought into being, from the skies and seas to the plants and trees, comment that “it is good,” and then deliberately shortchange women? He would not, and He did not. We were called by God to a role that only we could fulfill. In God’s eyes, creation was not complete without woman.

And God Created Woman

God had created the heavens and the earth and all things that existed therein and declared them to be not only good, but very good. Then God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed life into his nostrils, and Adam became a living being. God gave Adam the responsibility of rulership and of cultivating the Garden. He was given the freedom to eat from any tree but one. God warned him that if he did eat from the forbidden tree, he would die (Genesis 1:26–31; 2:7–8, 16–17).

Then God said that it was not good for man to be alone (2:18). Adam’s aloneness was deemed to be “not good” by a perfect God. Have you ever thought about that? This was the first time He said that something about His creation wasn’t good.

He had Adam uncover his own need by first directing him to give names to all the animals. In doing so, Adam discovered that there was no one suitable for him (vv. 19–20). Woman was then created (vv. 22–23). Many are surprised to learn that this role was given while the world was still in its perfect state—before sin entered it.

The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and as he slept, God took a rib from him and fashioned Eve. God then brought Eve to Adam. When Adam saw her he said, “[She is] bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (vv. 21–23). In effect he was saying, “I am complete when I am with her.”

A High and Holy Title

How does it make you feel to know that you are called to be a helper to your husband? Do you like it? Or do you wish it were different?

We seem to love the idea of God tossing out the stars and calling each of them by name (Psalm 147:4). We are speechless at the very thought of Him, God Almighty, knitting us together in our mother’s womb and ordaining all our days (Psalm 139:13–16). We are awed when we read that He measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens by His hand’s breadth (Isaiah 40:12). These things only confirm to us what we already know—He is God. Awesome, almighty, and perfect. Yet we tend to balk at our role as helper.

In fact, this role is a reflection of who God is.

A Precious Name

Helper is a title God uses of Himself over and over again in Scripture. The term helper is a precious word. There is nothing inferior, demeaning, or second-rate about it.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10). In this verse, God is reassuring His people, telling them not to worry or fear because He, the God of the universe, will be their helper.

A friend told us, “Never once have I thought about being a helper in this way. I thought of it as one of the many things I do. But now I see it as who I am. I no longer see it as doing something; I see it as being someone. I realize that I’ve never given it the priority it was meant to have because I was never taught to do so. If Jesus considers being a helper a worthy calling (Hebrews 13:1), then I want to aspire to that calling as well.”

This woman had grabbed hold of what being a helper is all about. It’s not something you do after you’ve done everything else. It’s not about what you do at all. It’s about who you are.

Helper: One who gives assistance or support to another, making life more pleasant or bearable.

Helper is a title God uses of Himself over and over again in Scripture.

Would your husband say that because of you, his life is more pleasant and bearable? Would he say he can depend on you for assistance? For support? Or does he shy away from making even the simplest request, fearing your reaction?

A Stubborn Heart

When I (Connie) first heard this teaching, I thought to myself, You must be kidding. Are you sure about this? God’s will for me in my marriage is to be a helper to my husband? And that’s all? Simply a helper. Only a helper?

The verse had a familiar ring to it, yet there was little doubt in my mind that the words “helper to her husband” weren’t meant to stand alone. There must be another phrase qualifying those words. There had to be more to that verse than just that verse!

When I got home, I looked at this verse in other versions of the Bible. They all said the same thing. I was thinking, Why has no one brought this to my attention before? And why now?

Little did I realize that I was rapidly approaching the turning point in my marriage.

I was less than excited about the idea at the time, however. If being a helper was what it was all about, I’d far sooner have a helper than be one. What a compromise, I thought, and what a misuse of the abilities God has given me. I didn’t understand what there was to be excited about. If all the job titles in the world were listed on a sheet of paper and we could choose just one, I frankly didn’t think there would be a mad scramble for the title of helper.

In the early years of my marriage, however, I actually had been a devoted helper to my husband. Not because I was focused on God’s Word, but because of my deep love for my husband. I delighted in making him happy, and I looked for opportunities to lighten his load. Somewhere along the way, though, I got tired of helping. My enthusiasm faded, and I no longer enjoyed doing this. My delight was no longer found in making him happy, and soon I began to keep score.

Surely, I thought, it’s time for my husband to do his part. I’ve done my share. Now he can do his. My plan was quite simple. I would just slip my heart into neutral until my husband caught on.

He didn’t catch on very quickly. This could take longer than I expected, I said to myself. I dug my heels in a little further, determined to wait him out.

And so began the long journey of waiting for my husband to change. My heart no longer felt like it was in neutral. It was definitely in reverse, and the engine was cold. The young wife who had taken pleasure in tending to her husband’s needs was a distant memory. Over time my heart had grown hard. And harder. And harder still.

Things were not working out the way I had envisioned. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I was trying to rewrite God’s job description to benefit myself. I discovered that neither our hearts nor our wills are able to slip into neutral. They go one way or the other. We are either obeying God, or we are disobeying. At best, using the word neutral was an attempt to cloak my disobedience.

When I learned more about God’s job description for me as a wife, my heart was stirred. I believe it was the Holy Spirit convicting me of my need to change. It was a humbling time as I considered stepping back into being a wife God’s way. I found myself taking small steps, even half steps. I was still uncertain, perhaps because of my lack of knowledge, lack of trust, or not wanting to be the one to change. Probably it was a blend of all three. But my way obviously wasn’t working. So I confessed:

    my pride,

      my disobedience,

        my contentiousness,

          and my scorekeeping.

I told God that, shaky and unsure as I was, I was willing to do things His way. With a prayer in my heart, I began to reclaim the calling God had given me. I set out, wobbly legs and all, to be a helper to my husband. Once I chose to do that, I began to feel a joy and peace I had not felt for a very long time. I began to experience a deeper relationship with my husband, and with my Lord as well.

How About You?

If you have been resisting God’s Word, what is your reason? Could it be pride? Or bitterness? Or an unforgiving spirit toward your husband? In my case (Nancy), it was ignorance.

I feel that I’ve had two lives in my marriage. For the first twenty-three years I was busy being a wife in whatever manner suited me for the day. I let my emotions rule my behavior. I didn’t know God as He reveals Himself in Scripture—I didn’t own a Bible until I was forty-one. I certainly had no idea that He had a plan for me as a wife. For the past seventeen years, however, after discovering what God’s Word has to say about marriage, I have practiced the principles in this book in my marriage, and with His help, I have changed.

The Reason: Man’s Aloneness

It was when the Lord God looked upon the aloneness of Adam that He created Eve: “It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him” (Genesis 2:18, AMP).

In researching this book, we asked a male friend to ask his Bible study group to fill in a response to this statement: “If there is one thing I miss in my marriage, it is _______________.” One of the most frequent answers was companionship.

Men desire companionship with their mates. They long for someone with whom they can share life’s experiences. The men’s personality traits, income level, and education had nothing to do with their answers. Almost every man in the group listed companionship. Our friend later told us, “I believe that men are lonelier today than they have ever been. With all the electronics, video games, reading material, sports programs, and endless lists of things you can do to fill up your time, most men have never felt so alone.”

Men are lonely today just as Adam was in the Garden of Eden. Because of this aloneness, woman was created. Could it be that man’s loneliness today may be in part because women have abandoned their God-given roles and are busy doing their own thing and going their own way? Has this contributed to man’s regressing back to the lonely state he knew in the Garden? The question “Would your husband say he feels less alone because you are his wife?” haunted me (Connie). I remember physically cringing as I contemplated this thought. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think, I told myself. So I asked my husband about it.

He replied, “I’ve felt alone many times in our marriage. I remember a point when I felt more alone when I was with you than I did when I was by myself. I have never felt more alone than I did at those times.”

This was not the reassuring answer I had hoped to hear, yet it came as no surprise. There was a time in our marriage when we both felt that way. There was no talking, no touching, no shared glances, and no laughter.

It is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and love that this changed. This occurred when I began to work on my marriage and apply biblical principles. My heart began to soften, and I saw my husband in a completely different light.

Putting Words into Action

What can a woman do to make sure her husband isn’t lonely? Simply being there for him is a wonderful way to begin! One way is to show how important he is to you by your attentiveness. How others respond to us shapes the way we see ourselves. Men thrive on positive responses—from their bosses, their coworkers, their customers, but especially from their wives. Is your husband thriving in your home or barely eking out an existence?

My (Connie) grandmother’s eyes lit up every time she saw me. She didn’t have to utter a single word for me to feel welcome. I could see the sparkle that radiated from those hazel eyes whenever she looked at me. It didn’t matter if I was dressed for church or if I’d just come in from making mud pies in her backyard, I felt special every time we were together. She lived on a meager income and left next to nothing financially when she died. But she left me with something that no amount of money can buy—the knowledge that I was of great worth to her.

Do you show your husband that he matters greatly to you? Does he feel special in your presence? It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and push him further and further down on your list of priorities. It may seem that he doesn’t notice or that he doesn’t mind. But he does.

Does your face soften when you look at your husband? Does your countenance become brighter when he enters the room? Do your eyes convey warmth, or do they send him a message that says he’s a long way from where you think he should be as a man, a father, a provider? When he’s feeling uncertain or worried, can he look at you and feel encouraged?

What would happen if you began to notice your husband again? If you let him know that you no longer want him to feel alone?

An easy way to get started with this is through something we call “blastoff” and “reentry.” It is one of the most effective and powerful things you can do for your husband.

Blastoff

What are mornings like in your home? Just as there are two critical periods in the voyage of a spacecraft—blastoff and reentry—there are also two critical periods in your home each day.

When your husband is feeling uncertain or worried, can he look at you and feel encouraged?

Blastoff is our term for when you and your husband say good-bye to each other in the morning. A dozen other things are probably going on in your home as he (and often you) is trying to get out the door. This is especially true if you have young children.

Mornings are the perfect time to make your husband feel that he is not alone. You may be thinking that there is not time for one more thing in your schedule. Make time! The few minutes you spend sending him off will be one of the best investments you can make in your day—and his.

In chapter 5 we’ll go into detail about practical things you can do to control your time, but for now here are a few tips that will help you create more time in the morning and put the “good” back in “good morning.”

    •Go to bed at a reasonable hour. If you have young children and haven’t established a set bedtime for them, do it now. It may be a battle at first, but it is a battle worth fighting, and everyone will benefit once a routine is established.

    •Set your snooze alarm to give yourself five to ten minutes of extra wake-up time.

    •Get up fifteen to thirty minutes before your household for a quiet time with God. Pray for your husband and your marriage during this time.

    •Take some juice or coffee to him as he’s waking up or as he’s getting ready for work. You’ll be surprised at how much this small effort is appreciated.

    •Kiss him, hug him, perhaps say something like, “Welcome to your morning,” “Good morning,” or “I love you.” Your attempts may be awkward at first, but you will be amazed at how quickly the awkwardness goes away and a sense of closeness occurs.

    •If you can, fix him breakfast. You might set out a pretty tray the night before. Put the dishes, glasses, and silverware on it. In the morning, arrange his cereal, fruit, juice, vitamins, and whatever else he needs. If you have fresh flowers in the yard, include them occasionally. This entire process takes only about three minutes! It’s well worth the effort, and it makes many men feel loved and special. You need to adapt these suggestions to fit your circumstances, however. One young bride did this for her new husband. After three weeks, he confided that he wasn’t a breakfast man and not a morning talker. So she avoided both, much to his delight.

    •If you can do only one thing, when he leaves (or before you do) go to him, look in his eyes, and smile. Give him a loving hug and a kiss. Tell him that you love him and that you hope he has a wonderful day. The tone of your voice should be warm and sincere. It may have been a long time since you’ve done this, and you may feel awkward at first. Don’t worry: Before long it will seem like you’ve always done it this way.

As a side note, statistics have shown that a successful blastoff is a safeguard against accidents on the way to work.

Reentry

Reentry is the second critical time in your home. This is when you and your husband reunite at the end of the day. The first five minutes you are together set the tone for the rest of the night.

In one installment of the comic strip Drabble, Ralph, the husband and father, is pictured coming home from work. He is met at the door by his wife, who says, “Ralph, that faucet you fixed in the upstairs bathroom is still leaking.” Then his two younger children greet him with complaints: “Daddy, Patrick’s been calling me a fenderhead!” “Have not!” Next, his teenager confesses, “Dad, I parked in a tow-away zone today. Can I borrow $160?” In the last scene, Ralph is staring into his bathroom mirror, talking to his image. “Welcome home, Ralph. Good to see you. How are you doing? Fine. Thanks for asking!”

Is this typical of reentry in your home? Do you look forward to your husband’s homecoming each evening, or do you inwardly sigh and think to yourself, Is he home already? It is a sad statement if the dog is the only member in his welcoming committee. If your husband gets home before you, find him! Let him know how happy you are to be back with him. Maybe you don’t feel happy. You can still greet him with kindness and welcome him home.

Here are some tips to help you with the task of reentry:

    •Pray for a warm, loving reunion.

    •If you’re home first, watch for his return, and if possible walk out to meet him as he gets out of the car. This shows that you actually anticipate his arrival.

    •Greet him with warmth and affection. Make it a priority to be the first one to greet him each evening.

    •Give him a few minutes to unwind. Men frequently say they need time to “deprogram” after working all day. You may be thinking that you’d like a few minutes to deprogram too because you’ve worked all day as well, either in or out of the home—or both! Ask the Lord to help you find the time to do that prior to your reunion. It’s amazing how refreshing just a few minutes to yourself can be.

    •If your husband is a talker, stop what you’re doing and talk with him about his day. If he’s the nonverbal type, don’t press him for details.

    •Don’t tell him everything that went wrong during the day the minute he steps through the door.

    •If your husband enjoys the newspaper when he gets home, don’t begrudge his reading it. If he asks whether you’ve seen a certain article in the newspaper, don’t be tempted to tell him that you’ve been too busy to sit down all day, let alone look at the paper. This kind of self-pity is no fun for him, you, or anyone else within hearing distance.

    •Make it your goal each evening to create an atmosphere that you and your husband enjoy.

Successful Launches

Two women we know decided to try this idea of blastoff and reentry. The first woman said:

    I was afraid my husband would fall into a coma if I tried this, so I decided to start slowly. When he left in the morning, I simply said, “Good-bye,” which was a big change from totally ignoring his departure. A few days later I added, “I hope you have a good day.” Though that sounds simple enough, it had been so long since I had wished him a good day that it was difficult for me. Next, I began walking my husband partway to the door. Then all the way. I began to wave to him from the window as he left. Over time I began to watch for him when he came home. I’d start waving at him when he pulled into the driveway. One day he waved back! Before long, I found myself going out to the car to meet him and ask how his day had gone.

    To my astonishment, he began to tell me. Not much at first, but over time he told more and more. He has never said anything about the change that has taken place, but I know he notices. Our home is a much happier place.

Said the second woman:

    If you had told me this could make such a difference, I would have laughed out loud. But I was desperate and decided to try. Truthfully, my heart wasn’t in it, and I wondered why I should be the one doing the work. I didn’t feel that my husband deserved it. He’s usually irritable in the mornings because he’s tired and irritable in the evenings because he’s tired.

    Why bother? I thought to myself. I work as well, and I saw this as just one more thing to do before getting out of the house and on my way. Still, I began. Prior to this our paths had rarely crossed in the morning as we both got ready for the day. I think I made him nervous. I was nervous too.

    But I continued on. Though change came slowly, when it did occur it brought with it a long-lost feeling of peace and of knowing that what I was doing was right. Over time, this small thing changed both of us. God used my willingness to minister to my husband to soften my heart. My husband noticed, and his heart changed as well. Now it’s such a normal part of our day that not doing it would seem strange.

Begin Today

Women have shared with us that blastoff and reentry have been two of the easiest ways to effect change in their homes. What’s it like in your home? Are your morning departures for work and arrivals back home smooth? Or are they more the crash-and-burn variety? Is it time for change? What would happen if the change started with you? This is a wonderful, non-threatening way to introduce genuine warmth back into your home. And there’s no better time to start than today!

God Helps Us Change

If you’re seeing that you’ve made some poor choices in your marriage, don’t feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or alone. Praise God that He is stirring your heart to address some of these things now.

Are you willing to do what you can to show your husband that he is not alone? Would you consider moving into the role God created for you? Your answer may be no right now. Are you willing to be made willing? Maybe your prayer should be, “Lord, please help me be willing to be willing.”

If you feel God tugging on your heart in this area, set about today to make things right. Whether you’ve been married for a few months or for decades, it is never too late to begin showing your husband how much he means to you and what a privilege it is to be his wife.

The Relationship: Marriage The Original Wedding

We have seen that God, not wanting Adam to be alone, fashioned a woman from Adam’s rib as he slept:

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:21–22)

How lovely she must have been. She was created in God’s own image! We can almost feel God’s personal joy as we read the words “He brought her to the man.”

When did they first catch sight of each other? Who saw whom first? Could it have been Adam who, awakening from his sleep, heard the rustle of footsteps and noticed the lovely gift God had given him? The first recorded human words were spoken by Adam: “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23, NASB). Then the Lord God taught the bride and groom His principles for marriage. They were not only for them, but for all generations to come. Now, as then, marriage is to be a commitment of the heart, the will, and the body.

Commitment of the Heart

For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother…” (Genesis 2:24, NASB)

Have you and your husband done that?

Man is the one that God singles out regarding this issue, but it certainly applies to both of you. This is one of the hardest, but most necessary, things a married couple must do. By “leaving” your mother and father, you put your husband in first place in your heart.

Are you a “daddy’s girl”? Do you value your father’s opinion more than your husband’s? Would you rather spend time with your mother than with your spouse? Your husband can resent this to the point that he no longer seems to care for your parents. Would you choose to give your full allegiance to your husband before any other person? Don’t cling so tightly to your family and their ways that you put a wedge between you and your husband. You are to be working toward unity with your husband and building your own marital relationship and traditions.

Commitment of the Will

“…and shall cleave to his wife.” (Genesis 2:24, NASB)

You are to effect a close, loyal, unwavering, permanent relationship with your husband. You are to be faithful to one another until death. This involves choices.

Ed Wheat, in his book Love Life for Every Married Couple, describes the choices like this:

    When God planted the garden of our nature and caused the flowering, fruiting love to grow there, He set our will to tend them as a wise gardener. This operation of the will is agape love. Agape love is plugged into an eternal power source and it can go on operating when every other kind of love fails. Not only that, it loves no matter what—no matter how unlovable the other person is.

Some of the things you might consider doing:

    •Ridding your mind of the words separation and divorce
    •Refusing thoughts of men from your past
    •Refusing to be self-centered
    •Never getting in touch with an old flame
    •Not telling others about your husband’s faults
    •Always being faithful (faithfulness is a choice that begins in the mind)
    •Upholding your husband’s good name
    •Not comparing your husband unfavorably with others

Commitment of the Body

And they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:24–25, NASB)

Isn’t this a wonderfully explicit sexual picture? Sex is God’s wedding gift. He created you to relish this aspect of marriage. God’s speaking about sex to Adam and Eve was the first thing they heard together as a couple. He intended for them to love each other. One precious expression of their love would be delighting in each other physically. Perhaps that is why Eve’s wedding dress was simply her body.

To deny the physical aspect of your marriage is to diminish one of God’s greatest gifts to you and your husband. To withhold yourself from your husband, except by mutual agreement, is destructive and wrong (1 Corinthians 7:4–5, NASB). A lack of physical closeness can greatly affect emotional and spiritual closeness. There is something mysteriously wonderful about the physicalness of marriage and touching.

When I (Nancy) lie down in bed each night with my husband, it is with deep elation and thanksgiving for him. I often tell him that this is the most wonderful moment of my day—to experience his nearness. Many couples that have been married as long as we have sleep in separate rooms. This seems sad to me. There is something special about sleeping side by side, touching. In the coldness of this world, the warmest place you know should be your marriage bed.

Reconsidering Your Role

We have examined the wife’s role, the reason for this role, and the context in which this God-given role can be fulfilled. Are you willing to reconsider your role in your marriage? Are you willing to pick up the role of wife, God’s way? Are you committed to carrying out this role, regardless of what your husband’s response is?

There are no limits to what God can do through a heart that is yielded to Him in obedience and trust. In the following chapters, we will review why we struggle with our helper role, examine two foundational principles that will empower us to fulfill God’s will for us as wives, and look at some suggestions about how we can deal practically with this wonderful calling.

God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

We are called to be that helper.

What a challenge… What a privilege… What a Creator!

Choices! Choices! Choices!

We start making them as soon as our eyes open in the morning. Should I sleep ten more minutes or get up? What’s for breakfast? What should I wear? What will I do today?

Some are inconsequential, but some have consequences that can forever alter your world—because some choices are really veiled temptations. The mother of mankind, Eve, faced one temptation that quickly tripled. She saw that the tree was good for food—the lust of the flesh. That it was pleasing to the eyes—the lust of the eyes. And that it would make one wise—the pride of life. She chose the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3; 1 John 2:16).

Jesus was tempted in the same three ways. Yet He overcame temptation, saying: “It is written…it is written…it is written.… And the devil left Him” (Matthew 4:6–7; 10–11).

Arm yourself and resist temptation. In doing so, you will be blessed!