More often than not, my husband, Edric, is an action man. He is goal-oriented and mission-focused. He didn’t use to be this way. Earlier on in our marriage he tended to procrastinate which would stress me out. Today, he plans ahead and follows through. I have great confidence in his leadership and ability to make things happen.
However, this doesn’t mean that we always feel as strongly about what is urgent and what isn’t. Occasionally, when I need his input, a decision from him, or when I want to finish a task right away and Edric doesn’t share the same conviction about it then we have conflict.
Lately, our disagreements have revolved around purchasing tickets and confirming trips that we have blocked off as a family this year. I want to book tickets and go on certain vacations and he is of the mind to hold back and manage cash flow. I get this. Of course we have to pay attention to budgets and be wise about our spending. Edric is trying his best to be a faithful steward of our finances and investments and he made some big purchases and business decisions last year so we aren’t as liquid. But I have been comparing our spending capacity to my siblings again and been disappointed that they got all their tickets for similar trips we are supposed to take. We weren’t able to do the same because Edric didn’t think it was the right time to buy, even if the deals were good.
So there I was, feeling disappointed and jealous. I did my best to research options and I sent these to Edric hoping to convince him to jump on the deals. Plus, my greater fear was that delaying ticket purchasing would limit our options later on. However, Edric insisted that we wait. I wanted to argue and insist, Why? I have money, I will just pay for it. Inside I was grumbling and annoyed that he didn’t want to be expedient about it.
At the same time, we had just ended a weeklong prayer and fasting at our church, so there was the spiritual perspective to be had in all of this. God reminded me to pray. So I prayed something like this, “Lord, teach how to be patient and not to insist on what I want.”
God also showed me this verse: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.” (Hebrews 13:5)
It was so spot on. I was struggling with contentment again, evidenced by my anxiety and frustration over waiting for Edric to make a decision. God quieted my heart and convicted me about my lack of faith and trust in Him.
If Edric is trying his best to manage cash flow and expenses, then why do I to rush a decision or manipulate him to act immediately? Can I not rest and be patient in order to experience God’s better plan through his leadership?
So I backed off and quit nagging Edric. Worse case, if we didn’t get to go on the trips I really really want to this year will it kill me to forfeit these things? I will feel sad and wish otherwise but the truthful answer is, No. I will still have much to be thankful and grateful for.
I thought I would share this experience to encourage those of you who tend to be like me. We often think we know better than our husbands and want our way, right away. We don’t appreciate it when they take their time to make a decision. It makes us restless and worried that we are going to miss out on something that’s important and valuable to us. The reality is maybe there will be instances when their delayed action results in a loss of some sort. However, when we choose to trust God by honoring our husbands’ authority and wisdom, He protects us from greater loss. We don’t always see what He saves us from or the blessings He has in store when we obey and submit in faith, but He is most certainly a God who rewards those who act in faith. As Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
Well, what if we can’t always trust our husband’s decisions because of their poor judgement and character? Surely there are situations when we question their moral authority and feel like if we don’t step in and take action, take matters into our own hands, then our husbands will make major mistakes that compromise the well-being of our families. I am deviating from airline tickets to more significant decisions.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.'” (Jeremiah 17:5-6)
In other words, don’t rely on people, our spouses or our own strength to deliver us or save us from future misfortune and problems. This kind of thinking very often leads us to compromise God’s principles, which then results in greater negative consequences.
For example if a wife were to say, “I have no confidence in my husband’s decision-making capacity because he has failed me so many times, so I will take charge and do what I think is right for me, for my family, even if it means not being submissive to him or honoring his authority,” will this really solve the root issues of that marriage and of these persons?
It is not the husband’s bad leadership that is the main problem. It is that the husband and wife have not come to a point in their spiritual journey where they have chosen to surrender their lives to Christ and made him Lord of their marriage. Therefore no amount of maneuvering or attempt to do things their own way (both spouses) will make themselves or their marriage and family better.
After all, we cannot violate God’s design for marriage and expect that it will lead to the blessings of protection, peace, and joy in the long run. So what can we do when we are married to spouses whose decision-making we do not trust? Whose poor judgement and character leave us anxious and worried?
First, we can give our lives fully to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for turning away from him. No matter how righteous and good we may deem ourselves to be, especially when we compare ourselves to others, the truth is we all fall short of God’s righteousness, and we need to repent of our pride, selfishness, lack of faith, and even, self-righteousness.
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Psalms 51:17)
Second, we can humble ourselves before God and surrender our worries to him, honestly confessing our fears about the future.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16 )
Third, we can ask God to intervene, and shield us from the consequences of our spouses’ bad choices. God promises to protect his children.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” (Psalms 34:8-10)
Fourth, we have to pray very intentionally for our marriages and our spouses and believe that God hears us.
“He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas.”
“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.”
Fifth, we ought to live in a such a contagiously Christ-honoring and Christ-elevating way that our spouses will want Jesus, too. Our example will encourage their heart-change.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
Sixth, we we need to keep obeying God and walking by faith, trusting that He will bless us, our marriages and our families.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Seventh, let us go in peace, resting in the Lord.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
In marriage, we do not lose by waiting on the Lord to speak through our husbands or to change the heart of our husbands. In the process of waiting, we grow in faith and endurance, learning to depend on God to protect, preserve, and fulfill his promises to us. Whatever the outcome, even if it isn’t always our idea of what is good, surely it is God’s plan for what is best!
I am looking forward to all the trips and vacations God will allow us to take this year, and the ones he will keep us from. And the good news is we actually have so many miles on our credit card to consume that we may end up paying less than what the airline ticket sale deals were offering! Edric showed me the options yesterday and I thought to myself, good thing I didn’t force his hand last week and pressure him to commit to make purchases earlier. Because of waiting for the Lord’s right time, He is opening up better options for us. Yey!