Monday, May 19, 2008

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. , Part 4

Thanks for coming back for part 4 of our look at respecting our husbands. I think that the words we will be looking at today are some of the most important ones in the entire series, so let's get started.

1) Prioritize - Honestly, you have to make this a priority if you want to see fruit here. If you don't you will be pressed in by the demands of the urgent things in your busy life and may not make the choices that get you where you want to go in the long run. Here is a list of priorities for Christian homemakers that I have tried to live by:

1st - God
2nd - Husband
3rd - Children
4th - Home
5th - Others
6th - Self

Now, just because I have "self" last on the list doesn't mean that we don't take care of ourselves. Each and every thing that comes up in our lives must be weighed carefully and thoughtfully decided upon. Decide what is important and then act on it. One thing that I try to do each day is to make a list of what needs to get done that day and prioritize them. This way I can still make sure that I am taking care of myself so that I can give back to others.

One thing I would like to point out is that husbands fall before children on this list. Oftentimes, particularly if you are a stay at home mom, children become the focus of our lives. This is because they just consume so much time and their demands are so, well, loud. I would caution you against allowing yourself to put your children above your husband though.

Remember that one day your children will leave your home and make their own lives and you will still have a husband to live out the rest of your life with. You want to have a good relationship at that point still, don't you?

Also, one of the best things you can do for your children is to give them a living model of a strong, loving marriage. Helping them to see that will not only give them a sense of security while they are younger, it will help them to have their own successful marriage as adults.

2) Plan - You have to plan to make this happen. You have to plan to leave time in your busy schedule to accomodate your husband's requests. You have to decide to do it or it just won't happen.

Ask your husband each day (or the night before) if there is anything he needs you to do the next day, or maybe what is his most important priority for you to get done. Is it more important for you to work on the taxes or take your son to get his haircut? Would he rather you work on paying bills or ironing his clothes? Allow him to have some input on how you spend your time.

Don't pack your days so full that if your husband calls and asks you to do something for him that you can't help him. Leave a little margin in your day so that you can do something he needs done on the spur of the moment. This is something I struggled mightily with in the early days of our marriage. I hated it when he would call and ask me to do something. Didn't he know that I was busy with two little ones?

Then I realized that women were created to be helpmeets for their husbands. Shouldn't I help him? Shouldn't I make his life easier? After all, I was home all day with the children, yes, but my schedule was more flexible and I could really decide to control it. If I was not managing my time well and had to go to the store everyday to get something for dinner, that was my responsibility. If I was choosing to use my time to work on ministry projects at church, but couldn't be there to help my husband, I was choosing wrongly.

One great idea, from Linda Dillow's book Creative Counterpart, is to make a list each week of your priorities and come up with a project each week to demonstrate your work on it. For instance, under "Husband" you might decide to plan a romantic date or to do something helpful to him like wash his car. Under "Children" you might schedule a time to take your son out for ice cream or listen to your daughter play piano. Under "Home" you might set a time to repaint the kitchen in the color you want.

The point is to plan to be accessible to your husband in order to honor his wishes.

3) Practice - This is not going to be easy to do at all times, particularly if it's something you have always struggled with. Remember that God perfects us over time - it's a process. I know that you will have times when you lose it with your husband and totally blow it. I still do. In fact, writing this series has shown me that I have a long, long way to go.

Don't give up. Keep working at it and as time goes on it will become more natural to you to show respect to your husband. It's not easy in our culture where everything around us tells us to "have it your way" but we aren't supposed to fit in to this culture, are we? We are to be counter-culture people, living according to the Word of God.


Ivy Vega from said...

Lori, this is such a wonderful post and very convicting as well.
I have struggle with this for so long. And have fustrated my husband and myself along the way. When we have little ones and they are homeschooled and make our home an inviting and safe haven for our family we definitely need to prioritize and plan. Well written, thank you so much.

Pennie said...

Lori, I'm a relatively new reader and I just love this series. It's opening my eyes, and is a serious conviction of my heart right now. What I struggle with is the children thing... I have two little girls. And I just think that I would always choose them. I know that you're not saying that if my children are being hurt that I ignore it for the sake of my husband... but it's kind of like the same thought process of *You want me to bow to every command he gives me? Are you nuts?!* I understand with my heart what you're saying... but not my head. When I read the part about putting your husband before your children I automatically think *You hurt my children, you die.* Do you have any advice on how to actually see the true meaning behind those words? That's what I struggle with the most; are all the thoughts that destroy the true meaning of the message.


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