Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Encourage the Man in Your Life- Chapter 5: What Not to Do- or the Worst Mistakes You Could Make

Once again, this another great chapter from H. Norman Wright.  As I read this sometimes, it is hard to believe that a man is writing this.  Although this book is a handbook for encouraging our husbands, he makes it very clear that there is a fine line between encouraging and appeasing, and that we are not to cross that line. As always, quotes taken directly from the book are printed in bold type.

Sometimes in an attempt to be an encourager, you end up becoming a pleaser.  My mother always taught us not to be a "yes" woman.  By yes woman, I mean just going along saying yes to everything, not giving our opinion, not letting our voice be heard.  Think of the great women of the Bible.  Very few were yes women.  Think of Esther.  Had she been a yes woman, she would never have approached the king about the decree that he had signed, and the Hebrews would have been wiped out.  The fine line here is that we are to voice our opinions in a way that honors God and respects our husbands as the heads of our homes. 

Avoid becoming a controller in your relationship and also avoid letting yourself be controlled.  Because many of us have the opportunity to be home, much of how we do things is controlled by us.  However, when we take that same attitude towards our husbands, it can be repulsive and demeaning to him- especially if we do it publicly. 

He needs a woman of strength, a helper who will respond to his leadership as he sets out to subdue and populate the earth.  This quote really struck me.  We are to be strong women spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally so that we can respond to him as he does what God has set him apart to do.

An alive vibrant woman gives zest and excitement to her husband's life.  Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Little Women, they are all books and movies that I absolutely love.  They show the beautiful, genteel, cultured woman that our society has worked so hard to destroy.  And yet, the heroine's of these stories have those beautiful qualities and are also alive and vibrant and the hero always falls for them.  Our husbands are our heroes, and we must be their heroine.  We need to have that inner beauty that God records for us in 1 Peter 3:1-4, and be alive and vibrant.  Sarah (Gen.) is a great example of a woman who was alive and vibrant.  The mere fact that she bore a child in her 90's is just a small demonstration that she did not see herself heading to the grave anytime soon.  Even in her older age, she was considered a beautiful woman.  Did you ever notice that people who live a life that is alive and vibrant have a natural beauty that glows from them?

One of the main causes for the death of love on the part of one person for another is when their partner controls and dominates them.  Ladies, we need to be sure that we do not try to control our husbands- their every move, thought, idea, work, watch they watch, where they watch it, how they eat, etc.  No man can live under those types of conditions for very long.

The interdependent woman has a strong sense of person hood and bases this upon being affirmed by God. The interdependent woman allows herself and others the freedom to grow and be in process.  She has role flexibility.  She is relying on God's expectations for herself rather than others.  These quotes reminded me of things that we learned from The Confident Woman (for more information on the thoughts from that book click on the Confident Woman tab towards the top of the page.).  A woman who is confident is a woman who is interdependent.

Encouraging a husband does not mean that you become so absorbed in your husband that your identity and value come from him.  It's not becoming a doormat with no ideas, opinions, or voice, nor does it mean becoming an appeasing woman. Here is the fine line of encouraging our husbands.  Our husbands want a wife that they can be proud of, one who is still a challenge.  Our value and identity need to come from the Lord in order for us to be "healthy" enough to be a blessing to our husbands.

Avoid mothering the man in your life.  Never, but never mother a man.  God gave us children to mother.  He gave us husbands to stand beside and to love.  Mother a man is demeaning to him and enables him to become irresponsible and lazy.  He married you to be his wife, not his mother.

In any kind of encouragement be sure you don't fall into the trap of giving up your ministries, hobbies, or interests because they are not important to your man.  In order for us to grow as women, wives, and mothers, it is important that we maintain ministries, hobbies, and interests that we feel God leading us to and that we enjoy.  None of these should take away from our relationship with our husband, but if done in correct priority, they can enhance our relationship with him.  As our lives change, there may be change in how involved we are in our ministries, hobbies, and interests, but our involvement should never just stop, unless you feel God leading you in that way. 

There is another trap that women fall into that may even sound scriptural, "I must decrease so he can increase."  That's not what the Bible says.Your strengths and giftedness are from God. They are not meant to be thwarted by anyone.   Let us just clarify.  The verse says, "I must decrease so He can increase."  Did you catch that?  One letter changes the meaning of the verse.  The verse is talking about God being given the stage while we step out of the way.  It is not used in relation to the husband and wife.  If we stifle the gifts and abilities that God has given us, we are not pleasing God and we are not helping our husband.  Sometimes, if we are to help our husbands grow, we need to use the gifts that God has given us.  By doing this, it will cause our husbands to step out and use the gifts that they have.

I have had this book since I got married, and yet I never read it!  I am so glad I finally picked it up.  I am certainly learning a lot of things about myself and how to better encourage my husband.  It has been good.

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