Today’s blog is the second half of an interview I did with my Pastor and his wife on the nuances of marriage including the ‘S’ word.
This is a 3 part series.
I actually had more questions for my pastor than for his wife. I wanted to know from a man how he values, encourages, leads and builds his wife; how he washes her with the water of the word, how he chooses to date her, spoil her, and uphold her.
As straightforward as possible I requested him to, “name some ways you affirm your wife.” “One thing I do is tell her that I love her randomly so it’s not something that she’ll ever question. I think that when a woman understands that her husband loves her it will garner another level of honor or trust for her husband. I affirm her by being concerned with things she’s concerned with, by making sure I’m intentional about bigging her up in the areas that she’s killing it in. My wife’s a dope mother so I make sure that I say that to her, And she’s dope at hair. So in the house that we’re in now we made sure that she could have a section that could be her in home salon.” Her hair studio is really nice, by the way, not to mention her hair styling skills!
“And I pay attention to what’s she’s saying and not saying because women think we can interpret womanese and we can’t.” He speaks of her as if she’s the woman in the world, the ying to his yang.
Shenel chimes in on this question as well, “and that’s what makes it easy to submit, because I have a guy in my corner valuing my opinion, loving me and paying attention to what I like.” And I think this is where it all started to make sense to me, this rubrics cube of two becoming one. They made things planner than anyone I heard speak about marriage. However I also believe I was finally asking the right questions.
Then things got technical. I asked, “Pastor Lou, what makes you value your wife as opposed to seeing her as a possession?” He pauses a while to “process” my question. “First of all, she is a possession. And that’s one reason why I value her. To be responsible, to provide, to protect means that person or thing is under your personal responsibility and whatever happens to that person or thing is your fault.”
“So, if I have a watch and I just throw it on the table or wear it as I work as a mechanic, it’s going to get scratched up because I don’t value it. I have to take ownership of my marriage and my family. While they’re not possessions as in a watch, table or house they are the things that I am responsible to steward well.”
“So, I would say that it’s both and. Because she is my wife and I value her I am responsible to take care of her, to love on her, to affirm who she is, to speak into her life, to pray for her, and to disciple her. Just like the church is Jesus’ my wife is mine. The fact the I have responsibility for her and my family is what helps me to value her and a bit larger than that, understanding that she is as much the image of God as I am. So there is a level of creationary responsibility given to me from the beginning of time that makes me value her because of what she comes from. She comes from my side and we both come from God.”
As he finishes these words there is laughter from them both, an inside joke I’m sure. As he speaks on this though, I again feel a little uneasy specifically about the possession piece. But seeing as how his wife puts up zero protest about it I resolve to move on.
“Name some ways that you lead your family as Christ leads the church.” With each question I pry deeper and deeper into their marriage and I don’t feel selfish about it. Pastor Lou responds as candidly as before. “There are certain things that I will never do in my household because I don’t want to give credence to that. So, if I follow the scripture, ‘train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is older he won’t depart from it .’”
“My goal as a father is to make sure my children understand what’s right and what’s wrong. Exhibit grace and then exhibit discipline when necessary. We read scriptures together, we sing songs together, we pray, probably not as much as we should. But we do those things because we’re a house that follows God. For me it’s about balance, it’s being Jesus in the workplace and in the synagogue.”
“As it relates to my wife, I love her like Christ loves the church and that looks like to forgive quick, to forget quicker, to love through, to be patient, to show grace, to honor mercy when it comes and to make sure that I stay the course, that I go to the ends of the earth not to throw the church (my wife) away or treat it as trash. No, it is my main objective. I try to honor it as much as possible though I still sin and I’m still broken.” I wasn’t expecting him to respond this way, though all of their responses were surprising. I couldn’t run from my questioning any longer whether what I received was uncomfortable or not. It was time I got some real answers.
My last question for him was about the framework and reasoning behind submission; other than it being something that wives are called to due in scripture, but more importantly, to what benefit? “Can you explain what your wife submitting to you does for you or how it makes you feel?”
After a long silence, he responds with, “it bestows a level of honor/appreciation. I think that whether a male, Christian or Pastor, or female she would say the same thing. It makes you feel valued, unforgotten. And here’s what women should know: doing that makes him honor you even more. For example, we gave one of our daughters an iPad for Christmas one year and she turns around and asks for her old DS. So we’re thinking, you don’t care that we spent all this money on an iPad. That makes me know not to get you anything because to me that means there’s a lack of appreciation. While we shouldn’t choose to dishonor or take care of our responsibilities, when someone values your contribution to their life it makes you want to do whatever it is they ask and go to the ends of the earth to make sure it’s accomplished.” So, submission equals honor? Ok.
Honestly, this whole submission and marriage thing can be quite overwhelming and I resolved to taking it one day at a time. My feelings on the idea are still skeptical but I think its conversations like these that help ease my doubt. Ladies, if you have questions or want to share your own personal experience about relationships, marriage, submission or whatever, please stick a comment below. Stay tuned for Part III.