Meditations for Troubled Times
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colossians 3:18-22)
Pastor Clif’s first sermon in the Book of Esther introduced us to King Xerxes and his wife, Queen Vashti. He emphasized quite clearly that the queen merely functioned as a tool to make King Xerxes look great and promote admiration among royalty. This came to a halt, however, when Vashti was commanded to appear at the dinner not as the queen or his wife, but as a trophy put on display like a deer head. She rightly said no to the king.
Christian husbands should be the exact opposite. Peter tells us that we as husbands are commanded to live with our wives in an understanding way. This is a command and not an option. It goes against the worldly and corrupt saying, “Women, cannot live with them and cannot live without them.”
Have you ever thought that marriages which glorify God are marriages that sing? This is exactly what glorifies God. In fact, we have the Song of Solomon, which pictures a joyous marriage as a type of Christ’s love for His church. Also, if you look at Colossians 3:15 and following, you see that one of the peaceful directives for the church is to be a singing church. If marriage is a picture of the church, why doesn’t it also sing?
Let’s face it: most men already know how to be like King Xerxes. If young married men asked any of our elders how long it took for them to create an unloving atmosphere toward their wife, I’m certain they would shudder and say maybe 5 minutes. Someone might even say, “When we were first married, I thought I would be helpful and wash the new tablecloth and napkins we received as a wedding present. Unfortunately, I tossed my new red UGA jersey in with them to save water. Great motive but bad laundry practice. I wrote this mistake down in a journal of things I should not do to my wife.”
Apparently, Fred Flintstone understood how to do little things to show his love to Wilma. Fred wrote this little poem to Wilma when they were dating:
I love thee Wilma, with hair like silk,
Lips like cherries, skin like milk,
Your shell-like ears, your dainty hands,
And eyes so black, like frying pans
Wilma saved this poem and others he wrote in a special place. Fred found it and thought it was from someone else. A journal could have stopped him from getting jealous of himself. He could have called the journal, “Songs of Fred and Wilma.” You could create your own and make a list of things that make your wife want to sing.
This imperative to live with your wife in an understanding way should make listening to your wife your priority. Many passages in the Proverbs give singing-type adjectives to describe the husband and wife relationship. So why isn’t your marriage singing? Have you practiced for years not living with her in an understanding way and built communication scars that have created a distance that Clif warned us about in his sermon? Has the song that you called your song when dating now hold painful memories? There is hope. God is glorified by marriages that sing, and His promises should give you hope. He gives grace to conquer whatever the scars might be. Be a loving student of your wife. If you need help, be sure to talk with your elder.
For those of you who are single, you might wonder how you yourself can have a life that sings even though you are not in a marriage relationship. Be sure to find your joy in singing with the communion of saints through the Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
-- Tim Verner, Ruling Elder