2 Ways A Woman Can Strengthen Her Man
My husband and I married in May of 1999, therefore we’ve almost been hitched for almost 20 years. When I first met my husband, I wasn’t sure if I thought marriage was worth it. Not only had I experienced multiple marriages with my mom and dad in my childhood, but I also watched many friends’ parents divorce.
Did I want to get married and love someone?
But, I was more afraid of a wounded heart and a broken life than being alone. I didn’t have faith that marriage was for me in my early twenties until God used a sweet family to plant a small seed of hope in my soul. I spent a two months with my campus pastor and his family on a mission trip to Romania and Poland. When we returned to the states, the my apartment complex was still being constructed, and therefore I was homeless.
Thankfully, this family kindly took me in. I lived in their nine-year-old daughter’s room. They insisted I sleep in her bed, but I truly felt uncomfortable so I often camped out on a mattress on her floor. As I lived with them, I saw them love one another, mom, dad and children. Their home was the most peaceful place I had experienced, although they were not perfect. When they argued, I was afraid everything was going to fall apart, but it never did- they embraced the awkward and always worked things out.
I watched a mom love her husband, a husband love his wife, and both of them treasure their children. A seed of hope filled my heart as I watched the godly example of a man and wife work together to build their family.
When I met Clayton, a seed of hope for a good marriage had been planted but was not yet rooted. I was still afraid. I did not melt into his arms because I did not want to make a mistake. I did not make it easy for him to win my heart. My motivation was not meanness, but caution.
But, when I said yes to my husband 20 years ago, I was committed to keep things real, honest and open. I have challenged him, and he has challenged me- sharing the responsibility of building our marriage has made us stronger.
If you have been keeping up with the Overcoming Monday podcast series on Ruth, you know that I read a book by Carolyn Custis James called The Gospel of Ruth. In this book, she described a moment when she asked her seminary professor if he believed that when men in the Bible “interacted with strong women” that they “became stronger themselves?” She goes on to say, “In Christian circles, there is sometimes the assumption that when women step into the spotlight, the men will pay the price.” But when Boaz is challenged to step up, “he is not diminished, marginalized, or feminized in the slightest by being outnumbered or influenced by Ruth or Naomi. (The Gospel of Ruth, p.30)”
If I would had read Carolyn’s quote when I was a young girl, I would have been uncomfortable by her question for two reasons. First, I would have been afraid for her- and the possible backlash her question might ensue. Second, I did not know any Christian woman who challenged men in this way.
But after 20 years of ministering side-by-side with my husband, and almost 20 years working hard on our marriage, I do not see how a man can carry both of those alone without a confident woman by his side. Ministry is hard. Marriage is hard. And life is hard.
There have been times I have wanted to tap out of the hard situations, thinking that my lack of input would make it easier on my husband to lead, but this has backfired on us. We work better as a team. It’s easier on a marriage to fight things out and make a unified decision in the beginning than to blame and point the finger afterward. But, even with this knowledge, I know it’s not any easier for Clayton to submit to me than it is for me to submit to him. So I thought it would be useful to give you three things a woman can do to strengthen her man. All of these examples are from scripture, but not all of them are husband and wife relations, but they are male and female interactions.
1. Use wisdom to Avoid chaos
In 2 Samuel 20, David sends his first in command, Joab, after a man named Sheba because Sheba has been stirring rebellion against David. Joab and the Israelite army was prepared to invade the city of Abel where Sheba is hiding until a “wise woman” decides to intervene. This wise woman keeps her city intact by offering Joab a peaceful solution to the situation. Below is the conversation between the “wise woman” and Joab.
The wise woman says to Joab, “In the past they used to say, ‘Seek counsel in Abel,’ and that’s how they settled disputes. I am one of the peaceful and faithful in Israel, but you’re trying to destroy a city that is like a mother in Israel. Why would you devour the Lord’s inheritance? ”
Joab protested: “Never! I would never devour or demolish! That is not the case. There is a man named Sheba son of Bichri, from the hill country of Ephraim, who has rebelled against King David. Deliver this one man, and I will withdraw from the city.”
The woman replied to Joab, “Watch! His head will be thrown over the wall to you.” The woman went to all the people with her wise counsel, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the ram’s horn, and they dispersed from the city, each to his own tent. Joab returned to the king in Jerusalem.
Instead of hiding from conflict, this wise woman saw danger approaching her city, demanded to speak to Joab, and took the necessary actions to save her city from devastation. When the wise woman acts, neither Joab nor David are “diminished, marginalized, or feminized in the slightest” by her boldness (The Gospel of Ruth, p.30)”
I’m going to assume your city is not under siege, but you might feel like you are in a battle; a battle to build a strong marriage and a thriving marriage. We are not fighting a battle against people as this wise woman, but we are constantly fighting a spiritual battle (2 Cor 10:3-6). The battle you fight within your marriage is not against your spouse, but against your flesh and against the enemy’s plan to divide your family. Therefore you and I must be alert and ready to “demolish” and “punish every proud things that is raised up against the knowledge of God” and “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Cor 10:3-6).
We guard against the enemy of adultery by not developing close friendships with people of the opposite sex.
We guard against the enemy of lust by refusin g to watch shows which have full nudity because I'm a very visual and artistic person and those images vividly stay in my mind.
We guard against the enemy of distrust and doubt by affirming each other of our love for one another often.
For further study: Take some time to read these verses for yourself. Then list some ways you can use wisdom to avoid chaos in your marriage? In other words, what are some current or perceived struggles you might encounter and what actions can you take to pre-empt a negative outcome?
2. Listen and Obey the Lord
In Luke 1, a priest named Zechariah is visited by the angel of the Lord while he is burning incense in the sanctuary. The angel announces to Zechariah that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would be having a child. Since they were beyond childbearing years, Zechariah became understandably shocked and confused by this announcement. So, he responds “How can I know this? ” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” Because of his doubt, Zechariah’s speech was removed, but he did return home and he and Elizabeth conceived a child.
Months later the baby was born and at the customary time, friends and family gathered at the priest’s house to name the child. The guests assumed they would name “Zechariah, after his father. But his mother responded, “No. He will be called John.” Their relatives “said to her, ‘None of your relatives has that name.’ So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote: ‘His name is John.’ And they were all amazed. Immediately [Zechariah’s] mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.
We do not know many details of this story. We do not know how Zechariah communicated the angel’s message to Elizabeth, or how she initially reacted, but we do know that she and Zechariah had to team up to obey this calling. They listened and obeyed the Lord not only in naming their son John, but also in raising him to be the messenger announcing Jesus’ Christ’s arrival (Luke 1:13-15, 67-80; Mark 1:1-10).
When the family and friends wanted to name John, Zechariah had no voice. Therefore, Elizabeth speaks up for both of them and Zechariah affirms her voice. In this actions, Elizabeth’s boldness does not “diminish”, “marginalize”, or feminize” Zechariah “in the slightest”(The Gospel of Ruth, p.30). Instead, her voice and his agreement pave the way for his tongue to be loosed, and to deliver a beautiful prophecy over his son (Luke 1:67-80)!
How does the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah apply to your marriage?
Well, the fact that both parties of a marriage struggle with sin often hinders our ability to listen and obey. Because neither the husband, nor the wife are immune from sin, each will inevitably experience doubt or confusion. When Zechariah showed doubt, Elizabeth poured faith into their situation so they were both able to fulfill the grand calling of raising John the Baptist.
For further study: Read this scripture for yourself. Take some time to list situations where you’ve experienced doubt. How did you react? How did your spouse react (and vice versa)? Discuss steps each of you can take to encourage one another through the doubt instead of succumbing to it?
I hope these scriptures have given you some tools to strengthen your marriage!
For Further Study
I hope these scriptures have given you some tools to strengthen your marriage! This blog was written to expound on the Overcoming Podcast season on Ruth. If you want to lean in and learn more, you can listen here!
© 2019 Sharie King. All rights reserved
I hope this blog has given you some useful tools for your marriage! If you have a story you’d like to encourage others with, please share it with us in the comments below. The next five blogs will also center around the book of Ruth if you would like to study along with the blog, use this next week to read through the book and I will write another blog/teaching next week. I hope you have an amazing week friend!
With Love, Sharie King