I Have a Prior Commitment (Part 2)

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280107_10150245550298692_363378268691_7579920_3733981_o-1The Prior Commitment and My Attitude

It is interesting that Peter commands actions (subjection and obedience, chaste manner of life) and attitudes (meek and quiet spirit) in the details of how  we attain to be daughters of Sarah In I Peter 3: 1-6).

Christianity obviously rules not only our outward actions, but it requires our hearts. The greatest command is still, today, loving the Lord with my all…all my heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). Thus, core principles of Christianity, the “ethics,” if you will, of Christ, determine my daily decisions and regulate my relationships…all of my relationships. I am often amazed as I see women who are kind and gentle people, mannerly and decorous, unselfish and soft-spoken until they get behind the closed doors of their own homes.

May I suggest to you that home should be the place where you exhibit the best that Christianity has to offer? After all, your relationship with your husband is the most permanent of all earthly relationships. If you have children growing up in that home, you are daily and indelibly etching on their souls. You are putting attitudes in them that will prove very difficult to remove…ever. And your own happiness in your marriage is largely dependent on your attitude at home. Are you getting in your own way of happiness?

Remember the premise. Your prior commitment–the one you made to Jesus in the waters of baptism–rules your marriage. Perhaps the most succinct passage that you apply daily in your relationships is known as “The Golden Rule”:

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them, (Mat. 7:12).

It’s a great challenge to apply this passage at home. It means we refrain from nagging. We are nurturers as women. We want to fix our husbands, even the insignificant shortcomings of good husbands. But nagging is ineffective (It is like flipping a light switch over and over when the lights are still not coming on) and is not consistent with our prior commitment.

Applying the golden rule means we’re not pouters. As pouting wives we give our  husbands the silent treatment. If we don’t get our way, we withhold conversation, smiles and warmth from the men we love. We treat them in ways in which we would not like to be treated. We should never let the sun go down on marital wrath (Eph.4:26). Further, we should not end phone conversations in words of malice or let cars back out of our garages when relationships have rifts. Life is too fragile and regret is too bitter.

The golden rule also prohibits manipulation. Women have the power to get much of what we want. It takes strong women to keep this power under control. Whining, crying, lying, withholding sex or using sex to achieve selfish purposes is inconsistent with the prior commitment. Weak women, like Delilah (Judges 16) and Jezebel (I Kings 21) use the power of manipulation. Strong women for God use the power of self-control. We do not submit to our husbands because we have to. We submit because we choose to honor the prior commitment.

The golden rule makes us polite, genteel people. Are we polite to our husbands? Do we speak respectfully to and about them? Do we especially work to do this in front of our children, our most crucial audiences?  Do we refrain from interrupting and correcting them? Do we use the words like “please” and “thank-you” and “you’re so welcome” and “excuse me”  to the people we love most? We are most certainly reaching into the future  marriages of our children as they watch the marital interactions of their parents. Surely it makes sense that our homes will be warmer and happier if we are polite within their walls. But, regardless of whether we see the positive outcomes, we must honor our prior commitment. We must honor the original vows we made to the Lord. Remember, Sarah called him “Lord”.

Financial matters are tempered by my relationship with Jesus, as well. My husband’s masculinity–his wholeness as a man–is incomplete if he knows he fails as a family provider. Do you want to give your husband the gift of emotional wholeness? Stay in the budget! Work hard to be frugal and help him in every way possible to make ends meet. Be sure you contact him about all large decisions prior to making them. “What is a large decision?” you may ask. If you’re wondering about this with regard to some pending choice, you should go ahead and ask before purchasing. It’s much more pleasant to hear, “Oh, sure…go ahead,” than “I cannot believe you did that without consulting me.”  Never compare your husband’s money-making ability in an unfavorable light with that of another man. That comparison is a great way to strip away your husband’s confidence and masculinity.

The golden rule simply has endless and positive ramifications in our marriages. Think about how many problems with in-laws would automatically find solutions if both spouses applied the Golden Rule toward their partners in dealing with parents. In fact, if you combine Jesus’ Golden Rule with his eternal rule about leaving and cleaving (Gen. 2:24), your marriage would be insulated from interferences that cause pain in marriage.

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