As a wife, one of my greater struggles in marriage has been “putting on a gentle and quiet spirit.” Edric and I both have strong personalities. So when we are head to head about something, it is hard for me to back down. I have to make a conscious effort to remember that my role is to respect and support my husband, and to trust his leadership.
Yesterday, I disrespected him in front of a group of leaders from TMA Homeschool. We were gathered around a table discussing the Family Convention (a convention that happened today). Edric had asked me to give a short explanation of the plans for homeschool curriculum and materials that we will be offering to parents. I was resistant because my perspective was, “I don’t want to over promise anything.” I would rather under promise and over deliver when it comes to managing people’s expectations. I didn’t want to tell parents that we are bringing in new resources. Instead I wanted parents to pleasantly discover the materials when they became available.
Edric is great at casting a vision and rallying people behind a cause. But I like to be conservative about what I say when I manage people’s expectations. I prefer to do things quietly and behind the scenes, without announcing what I am doing. Therefore, the conflict that transpired between us was, essentially, a personality difference.
While we almost always handle our conflict in private, yesterday, Edric got frustrated with me for resisting his request. And I got irritated that he kept on insisting that I do something that I was not comfortable with. But my big, horrible and disrespectful mistake was standing up and walking out of the room when he said, “If you don’t want to contribute anything to this discussion then you can leave the room.” He actually said it in a very calm manner but since I was upset, I stood up quietly and left anyway. I trotted out the room in front of other key leaders.
Boy, I knew I was wrong. The Lord pointed out to me that I had just disrespected my husband. I had never done this before (I mean the walk out part in front of others).
A few moments after, Edric looked for me and took me aside. He asked me why I did what I did. I explained myself (very poorly), and he corrected my behavior and wrong attitude. He explained how important it was that I am positive and encouraging towards the initiatives that he requires of the team. And he also apologized to me for not making his expectations of me more clear.
At a certain point we both started laughing because the drama of what happened was so ridiculous. The Lord reminded me that Edric is my authority and that I am called to respect him. I said sorry to Edric. The Lord also told me to go back into the meeting room and apologize to the entire team. Humble yourself! Fix your attitude and be a good example!
So I went back in and apologized to everyone for being disrespectful and having the wrong attitude. They actually laughed at us and thought the whole incident was comedic. But I am glad I made that public apology because I really was wrong. And during the Family Convention this morning, of course I spoke the part that Edric asked me to.
By God’s grace, I am growing in this area. I always have to tell myself, respect for Edric is not conditional. It is commanded of me and obedience leads to blessing. When I am respectful towards Edric, his heart is open to me and he is inspired to be sweet and tender towards me. (I much prefer that he remain this way!)
God has given my husband authority over me. He is the leader of our marriage and home. And I need to trust that God speaks through my husband when he makes decisions. (If I am worried that he is making a wrong decision the solution is prayer.)
However, seeing our relationship from this perspective takes spiritual lenses. My number one enemy is my pride — I want to do things my way instead of God’s way. So the secret to r-e-s-p-e-c-t is to walk intimately with God. Yesterday, I attended morning prayer watch and I had quality time with the Lord. I think this was the reason why I felt the conviction of the Lord when I was being disrespectful. I could not escape the prodding of the Holy Spirit!
Well, all is well and good between Edric and I. And I thank the Lord that he continues to work on my character and help me become more gentle and quiet in spirit, even if it is antithetical to my personality. I am still a work in progress. 😉
“Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”(Romans 13:2 NASB)