Thursday, October 26, 2006
An Enduring Marriage
Many women want to be successful in the home. Carrying out this responsibility does not always depend upon favorable circumstances, or upon the co-operation of those around you. Women whose husbands have not been interested in following the Christian way of life, have still been able to have long marriages and stable home lives.
One of the most common misunderstandings about the home is that it should not have too many trials. Certain things should just "never happen," and if they do, then the marriage must be "ending," or "over," or, the home life and the parents authority are no longer "valid."
There was a commonly held belief that was spread around a few decades ago, that marriages that were not happy were not valid marriages, and that a home life that was uncomfortable or unpleasant in any way, was worthless. This belief was accompanied by the notion that if you were not "happy," you should leave the husband or the home.
If we are to ever be truly at peace, and truly happy in the home, then we must return to the old paths, where the good walk is (see the verse beneath the header on this blog.) In those paths, or that way of life, the verse says, you will find "peace for your souls." I hope to share just one or two things that women used to do that helped their marriages remain stable in hard times.
The term "old paths" does not mean you have to stop using your car or any convenient invention. It does not mean that you cannot go to the grocery store or use a computer. The old paths means to follow the beliefs that were laid forth from the beginning of the creation; beliefs that would guide your actions.
One of the first "old paths" you can read about in the Bible, is that of caring for someone other than yourself. Eve was created to be a "help-meet" for Adam. Adam was to toil by the sweat of his brow, to earn a living for his family. Cain, the first child ever born in the world, wanted to know, "Am I my brothers' keeper?" If women would focus on the care of the family and the house, they would find that they soon lose their focus on their husband's faults. When you are unhappy with your husband, you might try listing the many things you need to do at home to make life better, including house work, studying,serving others, or home maintenance.
The old paths, where the good walk is, which teaches us to serve others, will give us peace. First Corinthians 13 gives the perfect answer to those who want to know how to show love to their husband: through patience, kindness, and unselfishness.
In a previous post, I showed how a marriage could be compared to a ship, which was built for rough seas. Although the inside of the ship is safe and sheltered, the outside would endure the rougher seas. To say that it would only be worth sailing in during calm seas and sunny weather, would be to deny its purpose as a vessel created for the sea. Some critics of marriages will be quick to point out that the couple is "not happy," or that they argue, and that therefore, the marriage does not "work." Marriage was designed to serve the needs of a husband and a wife in difficult times, as well as in good times. It is such an important design, that no matter what kind of turmoil goes on around you, you can feel peace if you are doing your part to follow the old paths.
Couples are continually maturing. If they give up on their marriage when there are disagreements and failures, they lose the chance to mature and endure, and to pass on the example to their children and others.
The family is designed so brilliantly by God that when one person is sick, and not performing their duties to their mate, they are still married. Without children, it is still a marriage. When a husband is earning a living but hardly home, it is still a marriage. When the family has no money, there can still be a marriage. Many people during the Great Depression endured harder times that we do today, yet it did not destroy their marriages. While a wife or husband may be inadequate in their marriage, it is still a marriage, because God created it, and that is the way it is.
Just because a man is not the "spiritual leader" like a wife may want him to be, does not mean he is not a husband and does not mean there is no marriage. Everyone has seen long marriages where the wife, in her later years, loses her memory and does not recognize her husband or anyone else in the family. It is still a marriage. If a man is physically injured and has to live on a disability pension, would his wife complain that he was not a good marriage partner to her, and that he was not participating in the marriage or in the raising of his children? She would probably understand that this was a difficult situation. She would, hopefully, not add to his wounds by indicating that he was no more to her than a disability pension. His value as a human being would still be felt, and there would still be a marriage, in spite of his human frailty.
Today, people attempt to define marriage in their own eyes, according to their own likes and dislikes. If women want to have enduring marriages, they must return to the old paths, where the good walk is.
There are people today who remember their own parents marriages. They recall that their fathers were in their shop, garage or barn, building something or tinkering with a tractor, while their mothers were sewing, gardening, or visiting. Though they were not always in the same room together, their marriage was solid and they served their families.
Problems occur when people start re-defining their family according to the beliefs of the prevailing culture. This culture says that if something is inconvenient, difficult, distressful, uncomfortable, lonely, or poor, you shouldn't have to endure it. They misunderstand the meaning and benefit of endurance.
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
A young women with three little boys consulted with the elders of the church where she worshipped. Her husband had not been behaving as he should. He was not involved with her in raising the children. She was not happy in her marriage and felt that she was being neglected. The wise, elderly men, who had already raised their children, gave her some very Biblical advice from the old paths. One of them read several passages from the scriptures including Titus 2, (wives are to love their husbands and children and guide the home) Ist Timothy 5:14,(younger women are to marry and raise children and keep house) and Ist Peter 3:1-2 (wives to win their husbands by their good example). They told her several ways to carry out these things:
1. Be a keeper at home. Even though your husband is not carrying out all his responsibilities as a husband, it does not mean that you abandon your responsibilities as wife and mother and keeper of the home. You will benefit him and your children and yourself by doing what is right, no matter what the difficulties are.
2. Make sure you live your beliefs, not talk them, because he will notice more what you do that what you say. Do not neglect to attend worship services faithfully, with your children. It is tempting to give up, but it is that weekly observance that may one day win your husband and bring him in to the faith. If he does not obey the gospel, he will at least gain respect for your religion if you are faithful.
3. Keep doing the things that you are supposed to do, and give him the choice to do what is right. Most people do not respond well to others pushing them. When it is their idea and it is something they want to do, they will be more motivated.
4. Have a stable home life, so that you will build under yourself and your children some habits and beliefs that will build a good support structure for you. Eventually your husband will recognize the difference in his own home, compared to the world that beckons him.
5. Do not worry if you do not see results. Some women may never results in their husbands, but they will at least have done what is right and good and created a good reputation for their marriage. They will have developed good things in their character and they will have lived a life of service to the ones God put in their care.
This was a sensible way that women of old would handle problems at home. Though they had troubles, they were reliable and faithful to their homes and families. They did what they could. Many of them had more hardships that women today have to endure, yet you can see on the old tombstones their names and the names of their husbands, with the words "married 5o years."
The young woman that did follow this advice is still married today and her husband has been dedicated to his family. If it were not for this stablizing advice, they may not have had such good success in their home.
Some wives will not follow this plan because they want to be guaranteed that it will "work." We are not told to find something that will work. We are told to be guides and guards of the home. Women need to make sure that they are doing all they can at home, before they try to reform their husbands. When you are tempted to be discontent, just be glad that you have a husband who is providing. Practice not complaining about anything. Remember the trials of people before you and learn to patiently endure.
Many years ago, I viewed a movie called "The Trap." It was the story of a rugged frontiersman, a trapper, who was looking for a wife. He was so rough and rowdy that he could not get any wife except a young, mute woman. She went with him to his cabin in the wilderness. She endured his rude manners with patience. When he threw something on the floor, she picked it up. When something was dirty, she washed it. When it was time to eat, she cooked food. They had many hardships, and her husband grew in his admiration of her and even changed some of his habits. I think my main appreciation of the woman in the film, is the fact that, rather than adopting the crudeness and rudeness of the man, she kept her manners and refinement and created a home. It was a dramatic film with breathless scenery, but it could have been the story of an ordinary woman at home today who faithfully attends to keeping the home and guarding her family. (Warning: not for young children. The trapper is depicted getting his foot caught in a trap, and more. Unfortunately this is not available on DVD yet. If it were, you could fast forward this unpleasant part ;-) "PLAY ALL" link is
You can also visit the YouTube Member Page at http://www.youtube.com/user/rjd0309 and play any of the eleven video segments.
Before you become unhappy with your husband, ask these questions:
*Do you always make the right financial decisions?
*Have you ever made a mistake in buying something that was too expensive, that you really could have done without?
*Have you ever missed an important opportunity because you forgot?
*Are all your papers organized?
*Is your book shelf organized?
*Is your laundry caught up?
*Do you have good organizing habits? Are you able to keep up with housework?
In reality, most women cannot possibly live up to this list, but it is designed to show you that women are not perfect. It also shows that when women have some interests at home, they will be too absorbed in them to notice the failings of their husbands, or too involved in their own business to correct their husbands. Personal freedom is precious, and to have a choice to change makes that change much more meaningful. If wives could also take up the job of praying for their husbands, they may learn to rely on God and not on themselves to change their marriages for the better.
To watch "The Trap" go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK5xq7XKs0g&feature=PlayList&p=731FBB06F0742D7D&index=0&playnext=1 The scenes do not need to be clicked each time, as utube did a great job of making them come on automatically after each segment is finished.Warning: not an entirely pleasant film, and probably more of a "guy-film" than a gal-film.