Here’s something I’ve discovered over the 40 years that Jim and I have been married. I’ve found that, like other areas of my life, our marriage has its “seasons.”
For instance, we experienced the season of child-raising and its wear-and-tear demands on us as a couple. Sometimes I didn’t approve of Jim’s way of disciplining our children. At other times I thought he should spend more time with them. And then we had to agree on how, when, and where we would take vacations (not to mention how we would pay for them!).
At each season and step along the way—through the preschool years, the grade school, junior high, and high school years—evaluations and adjustments had to be made. You see, even though I was going through these stages and phases as a mother, I was also going through them as a wife. And Jim and I, as a couple, had to go through them together.
Working as a Team
We had to work as a team in order to meet the challenges and make it through. Then we moved into our girls’ college years—years when our daughters came and went. One day it was just the two of us...and the next day they would show up with a gang of friends. These were the days, too, when young men began to show up, adding new elements to the mix...and new tests to our marriage and family.
Again, Jim and I went through these days as parents, but we also had to go through them as a couple. This meant we were constantly fine-tuning, re-tuning, and re-turning to our basic roles of leading and following.
In God’s timing, we next entered the period of being the parents of newlyweds—a whole new remarkable-but-different season as we had to figure out our new roles in our daughters’ lives and welcome two wonderful sons-in-law into our family. Again the adjustments had to be made... together.
Then came Jim’s transition from being a full-time professor at a theological seminary to being a full-time, stay-at-home writer. How does a wife go from 35 years of getting her husband off to work to suddenly working alongside him every minute of every day? (And you would not believe the number of women who have asked me to write a book on this “season”!)
Back to the Drawing Board
What did I do? Once again, back to the drawing board I went—God’s drawing board! And, sure enough, nothing had changed. I was still to help, follow, respect, and love my husband as we entered this surprisingly joyous season of marriage.
Jim and I have endured—and enjoyed!—a few other seasons, such as the deaths of our parents and additions of grandbabies.
What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned as a wife through all these changes? Following God’s plan makes a difference in the atmosphere in our home and improves the climate of our marriage.
The Bible lays out a set of guidelines for husbands; they are to lead, love, and work hard to provide. Here are some guidelines Scripture gives to wives that I followed:
Submit to your husband: here’s how God expresses it: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord...as is fitting in the Lord....Be submissive to your own husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22)
Respect your husband. God instructs, “Let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).
Love your husband. Here’s where the fun begins! Married women are “to love their husbands” (Titus 2:4). In other words, we are to be affectionate and treat our husbands in a loving manner—to cherish and enjoy our husbands as a best friend!
I know there are more seasons (Lord willing!) awaiting us as we continue to grow in our marriage. But I also know that God’s rules, God’s guidelines, God’s precepts for me as a wife will never change. They make up His unchanging plan for me as a wife, as well as for you as a wife.
So I ask you to please stop, pray, and revisit God’s blueprint. Refresh your commitment to actively follow His plan for your roles in your marriage. And remember, the goal is to work together as a team, today and every day throughout life and its seasons.
Dear Lord, I long to be a woman and a wife after Your own heart. Please guide me and help me. Amen.
A Couple After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George—Enrich your marriage and learn the essentials for enjoying life together by developing better ways to communicate and drawing upon God for unity and strength in hard times. Click to read more about this Bible study for couples.
Are you doing what you know is right in every area of your life? Or are you deliberately ignoring an inner tug?
And remember, the goal is to work together as a team, today and every day throughout life and its seasons.