Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The heart of her husband trusts in her...Faithfulness in small things is one foundation of a happy marriage

When I was a young girl and dreaming of becoming a wife, I don't think I realized just how important the quality of faithfulness to duty would be. I dreamed more of romance than I did of being attentive to the details of daily life.

Now, don't get me wrong. Romance is an important part of marriage. However, romance will not thrive in an atmosphere of negligence to duty. If we truly love our husbands and children, we will want to do our best in the home. Taking care of the things that make for a healthy, happy, and more peaceful life is a powerful way to demonstrate our love.

The verses in Proverbs 31:10-31 are really an ode to a woman who is faithful in all that she does. Because she is so faithful, her husband trusts her in his heart. He can take his place as a city elder without worrying how things are going at home.

The Bible praises faithfulness in number of areas. All Christians -- men and women alike -- are called to be faithful stewards of the life and resources given to us, as well as of the treasure of the gospel.

Far from being a dull or outmoded quality, faithfulness to detail has so much to do with our happiness in life and in the home. Managing a household is a large task, one that requires
focus, creativity,competence, and intelligence. Someone has to keep an eye on how things are going, and, in the best scheme of things, it is the wife who sees that the domestic side of life runs smoothly.

I once made a long list of things I needed to oversee in and out of my home. Immediately, I sat down and prayed! In some areas, I am very focused and disciplined. In other areas, I need to improve. In all things, I have to depend on the Lord.

If we are going to be faithful to our duties, we need to know what they are. Each couple must work out how they are going to function as a couple when it comes to building a home together.
It helps to discuss expectations and to clearly define responsibilities. In one home, the wife might balance the finances for example; in another, the husband might do it. Either way, it's best not to leave who does what up to chance. (This applies for women living together in a college dorm or as working singles living in a home, as well.)

Of course, a couple must adjust expectations when live events happen, such as welcoming a new baby into the home, aging, illness, taking in an aged parent, moving, etc. Then, it's wise to discuss how you will function in your new circumstances.

The upshot of it is, however, that if we are to be women of excellence, we must be faithful in the areas that are our responsibility. We must demonstrate ability and willingness. We need not despair if we find ourselves short in either area. Both of these are qualities that can be learned.

Some questions to ask ourselves are as follows:

Does you husband trust that, barring any impediments, you will take care of your duties? When he is called away on a trip, is he confident that you will handle things well while he is gone? Does he know that you can be trusted with finances and that you will not exceed your household budget? If he asks you to do a task and you agree, does he know that you will follow through? (Ouch!) Are you generally mindful or generally negligent in character? Are you too rigid about your duties to the point that you are unable to cope with spontaneous needs or changes of plan? Do you perform your duties out of love or only out of a sense of responsibility? (Responsibility is a good thing, but we must combine love with it in order to fully excel in the home.)

It's embarrassing to admit, but in my assessment of myself, I see that I need to be more faithful in several very small and basic details. These items take only a small time to accomplish, but, when undone, interrupt the smooth running of our household.

I am blessed by God to be married to a man who is very faithful and competent. In all things, he does his best. He has more physical stamina than I do and often helps around the house when I need him to. His helpfulness and his hard-working nature is something that I greatly admire.

However, I have been asked by younger women what to do if they are married to a man who is not competent or willing to be the husband and provider of the home. This is often said in the spirit of, "If he won't, then I won't". The specifics of what to do in such a situation vary from circumstance to circumstance and can't be answered in a blog post. However, if we are doing what we do for the Lord, we will not use another's weaknesses -- even our spouse's -- as an excuse for our own negligence. Besides, our faithful example is more likely to call our husbands higher than nagging or shirking our work will.

Some husbands, especially very young ones, learn that they are to lead the family and start to micro-manage their wives. If this is the case in your marriage, give your husband some grace. His responsibility is a large one. He may be over-compensating out of insecurity. Demonstrate over time that you are faithful and able, and your husband will likely loosen up. If not, you will have the peace of knowing that you are doing your best to be a trustworthy wife. Perhaps, you can seek the godly advice of someone who knows you both to help you work things out. At any rate, if you are putting your hope in God, He will work everything for good.

Faithfulness to duties big and small is vital to a happy marriage and to a happy life. It is also a cornerstone of pleasing the Lord. He has blessed us with so much and our love for Him prompts us to do our best with what He has given us.

Practical: make a list of things you oversee. This does not mean that you have to do all of the things on your list. You may delegate some chores to children, for example. It does mean, however, that you will jot down all of the things that you are ultimately responsible for.

Include the mundane (Do we have enough bathroom paper? Light bulbs?) and the spiritual (What do I need to pray about for my husband? How are my children doing in their friendships?) Then, pray about this list. Ask the Lord to help you watch over the affairs of your home. If you like, make a checklist of these things so that you can keep tabs of how they are going.

Happy Home Keeping!

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