Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love & Respect 1

As soon as Jerald & I got the email announcing the Love & Respect meetings that would be held at Grace, we put our names on the list. We had read the book together (& even taught a breakout session on parts of it) and agreed that no other book impacted us like this one in regards to understanding one another.

Eph. 5:33- "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Last night was the first session and we were blessed as expected. It was great for me to be reminded that my husband needs my respect (or reverence, my preferred word) just like he needs air to breathe. When I step on his air hose and cut off the flow of respect, he feels emasculated, unworthy and degraded. No matter how tough our men are, emotionally they are vulnerable to our contempt.

Scripture does not suggest that I respect my husband; it COMMANDS it. There is no qualifier in that. Nothing says that I should respect him only if he deserves it. How would I like it if Jerald only showed me love when I deserve it? (LORD help us all; I would never receive love).

Here's the thing about love & respect: it will make a bad marriage good and a good marriage better. That's how important it is.

So knowing all this, why do we get on that crazy cycle: without love, she reacts without respect; without respect he reacts without love. Why do I make him feel like the problems are his fault? Why do I put expectations on him and than act disrespectful because he doesn't meet them? Why do I think that if HE would be the one to change, things would get better? Sometimes I am such a slow learner. Nagging and placing expectations on him is terribly disrespectful! We wives cry out for love, but we aren't helping at all because of our contempt. Why do we more easily see what is done to us before we see what we are doing to our husbands?

Marital problems and discord happen; they happen to everybody. We're all "sinners who say I do", (another good book!) Just because trouble shows up, we should not conclude that we've married the wrong person. The craziness continues when we keep doing the same thing with the same bad results. What we should conclude is that we are on the crazy cycle and we need to get off.

Communication, or lack thereof, seems to be one of the stickier aspects of marriage. A lot of that has to do with the way we hear and interpret. Men hear through blue hearing aids and women through pink. What I say is not what Jerald hears and what he thinks he heard is not what I meant at all. Craziness... :) It's so easy to focus on our own needs and lose sight of the needs of the other person.

Wives, we cannot afford to wait until our husbands make the first move! If I'm passing judgment on my husband for being unloving, I must ask myself if I am guilty of being disrespectful

The ultimate question becomes, "Does he feel respected?" It's not about him DESERVING respect; it's about him NEEDING it. 1 Peter 3: 1&2 are definitely talking about unconditional respect. Doing something that we don't feel like doing goes completely against our human nature. The way to fully love my husband is to respect him in ways that are meaningful to HIM. Something in my husband longs for me, as his wife, to look up to him with utmost reverence as he fulfills his role as my friend and lover.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blessings of Contentment

Despite the weather, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I think it's because my personality thrives on orderliness, checking off my task list and chaoslessness (is that a word?).

The holidays and birthdays are over until April (Brooke's birthday). My days are more organized and it's even possible to check EVERYTHING off of my list. My devotions are more intense, less hurried. The house stays in order because I have the time to clean a room or an area every day. I'm able to create menus ahead of time (versus throwing something together 30 minutes before it's time to eat).

All of this seems to notch my contentment up quite a bit. I love the coziness of being at home when it's cold outside and fulfilling my domestic tendencies. My days are permeated with the routine of keeping the home peaceful which in turn creates a harmonious atmosphere for Jerald and the kids.

I believe the older I get, the more I treasure this time. I know it won't last; spring will create another entire array of tasks to add to my to-do list. But we won't think about that just now and I will continue to treasure these days God has so abundantly blessed me with.

For you Moms with little children: I want this to be an encouragement to you. I remember life being a perpetual state of chaos at one point, but IT WILL GET BETTER. The challenge for you is to find contentment in the bedlam, fulfillment in the pandemonium.

God calls us to choose satisfaction and peace in whatever stage of life we are in or whatever circumstances He has laid out for us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It Is Finished

Christmas and birthdays are finally over for the Yost family. Whew! We had an awesome day with our kids yesterday, but I am looking forward to putting Christmas decos away and getting my house and schedule back to normal! It's hard to realize it's almost the middle of January. Yikes! Only 10 more months before I have to start the madness all over again. :)