Over the past several months, I have been reading No Ordinary Marriage by Tim Savage with my wife. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite books on marriage I have ever read. I hope to post a fuller review within the next week, but until then, I wanted to share a couple thoughts on the Husband's Love and the Wife's Spirit. On Tuesday, I shared a few thoughts about the husband. Today, I want to share a short quote about the wife. I am hopeful that these thoughts will whet your appetite to read this book.
A Wife's Spirit
"A submissive wife looks out for her husband's interests. She focuses a discerning eye on him. She examines his moods, analyzes his fears, observes his joys, and diagnoses his anxieties. This is a radical departure from the norm. Usually, we are preoccupied with our own interests. The preponderance of waking hours are typically spent in self-reflection--analyzing our own moods, nurturing our own desires, and pursuing our own agendas. But a wife who subordinates herself to her husband will take her eyes off herself and focus them sharply on her husband. She becomes more interested in him than she is in herself.
In practice this means two things. First of all, wives who embrace the call to subordination will resist the inclination to dominate their husbands. In Genesis 3, we saw that a woman's besetting temptation is to compensate for their ineptitude of her husband by seeking mastery over him. Even good husbands can, by inaction or laziness or insecurity or just poor judgment, drive their wives to frustration, prompting them to take over from their husbands, rather than lining up under them. The feminine arsenal is filled with a battery of weapons capable of mounting a formidable challenge for the 'top position': biting critiques, aggressive action, manipulative moods, sexual blackmail, stubborn silence, nagging criticism. But a godly wife will forsake them all. Rather than push her own agenda, she will seek to honor her husband.
This suggest a second application. A submissive wife will take pains to insure that the eye she focuses on her husband is a sympathetic eye. When perplexed by his behavior, she will, instead of engage in condemnation or self-pity, stop and ask herself searching questions. Why is he slow to respond to my requests? Why does he come home and turn on the television or surf the Internet instead of talking to me? Why does he keep his feeling to himself? Why does he get angry and snap so quickly? Why does he seldom express gratitude for my labors on his behalf? . . . Too often we permit questions like these to pass without sympathetic examination. It is always easier to allow frustrations to fester and to explode in verbal criticism than to do the difficult work of drawing a bead on the mind of the husband. Focusing a sympathetic eye on the husband is the way of subordination. It is also the way of healing, both for a weary wife and for her husband" (63-64).
Could it be that we have simply, unhelpfully, reduced submission to "who makes the decisions" instead of what it means to pursue as one who is pursued? Wife, are you examining his moods, analyzing his fears, observing his joys, and diagnosing his anxieties? Is your husband the aim of your studies as much as your children? More than your children? I think at the root of most men, they desire to be fully known by their wife, but they are scared at that same thought. With sympathy, how can you open yourself up to him to know him for healing of your marriage?