Sheila Wray Gregoire has posted a few articles on marriage and manipulation, which I have found extremely interesting. And challenging. It has challenged me to think in new directions and in new ways. And I love Sheila’s heart – for us to look more like Christ, to love like Christ and to live like Christ. The post below is my response to one of Sheila’s posts – What the Bible Says About Marriage. It’s excellent – hop on over to read the post, before reading my comment below.
I have really been grappling with a lot of what you have said over the last couple of days. And just to add my 5c worth, I think the best thing said thus far is that marriages are messy and complex. And in order to deal with any marriage situation – we need to look at the people involved and the heart of the marriage. For some wives, keeping quiet is what will save their marriage. For others, speaking up, is what will save their marriages. And while we always need to adhere to God’s laws and His word, there are different aspects that will be prevalent at different times – depending on the people involved, the situation, and the phase they are in in their lives (empty nesters versus new moms).
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am not the type of person to keep quiet. I just can’t. If something is bugging me, my husband can see it a mile off. I try keeping it in, but I just can’t. So, for someone to tell me to keep quiet and to “win him without words” goes against the very nature of who God created me to be. It just wouldn’t work – and would probably cause more tension because my husband would see something wrong, and I’m keeping quiet and there would just be confusion. And resentment would begin to build.
God’s word is the ultimate authority in our lives. But I think and I really do believe we are missing the heart of the people – people are lost and alone and hurting, and don’t necessarily need a whole lot of rules to live by. People need to know that God sees them. He sees them, He understands and He is with them – they are not alone, whatever their situation is, God is with them. And He loves them. And giving them a “just pray more” answer doesn’t see their heart, or their hurt, and it doesn’t let them know that God is standing by them. Yes, we all probably do need to pray more – and submit – and whatever else the Bible tells us, but we need to see the heart of these people who are lost and lonely and hurting.
This whole thing makes me think of Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector and despised by many. But as Jesus walked past, He saw him. Imagine how Zacchaeus must have felt, being an outcast, and the saviour of the world sees him, see his heart and knows that he is there? That is how we need to see people – through God’s eyes. And then show them God’s love – by speaking up or by keeping quiet, by taking action or by sitting back and trusting God to do His work. All of these are right – and you’ll know which one to do by listening to God’s word and spending time in His word.
The other aspect that has really spoken to me are your comments on manipulation. Don’t spend time with God to get more money (me) or be financially secure, or to have a happy marriage. You spend time with God and have faith in God because of who He is. Then, and only then, will these things be added to you (Matthew 6:33). I have often felt like if I go to church more, our financial situation will sort itself out. But that is manipulation, isn’t it? I need to go to church to praise and worship God. And for that reason alone!
I hope what I have said makes sense! 🙂 Thank you so much for some really thought provoking posts. I always appreciate my mind being stretched in new directions.