{Recap} Refuge: Relationships

Last week we had to pull out extra tables because we women were dying to hear what the men had to say about relationships. Our panel included men from various life stages and relationship backgrounds and all of them provided us some great insight into the hearts and minds of men. We would like to thank Butch Constable, Jeremy Brandt, Dave Ludwig, Mars Webster, Garrett Cano, Josh Park, Pat Green, Kyle Partin and Chris Cannon for being willing and available to join us.

If you missed it or would like to hear it again, click here.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get to all the questions, so we’ve listed the ones we didn’t get to below with some answers from our panel along with some answers:

1. Looking back on your life in terms of dating and marriage, what would you do differently?

I would have recognized earlier that the things that seem like a big deal at the time, really aren’t that big of a deal. I would’ve learned earlier the importance of being even-keeled and less reactive. Those are still areas I want to improve in.

Not say “I love you” until engagement or marriage.

2. How is a wife supposed to switch from being the head of the house when her husband is gone for extended amounts of time due to his job?

I think there should always be a recognition of his headship, regardless of whether he’s actually in the house or not. In other words, his physical absence should not change his role as the head. If he is the head when he’s gone, then he’s the head when he’s home. When I’m gone, my wife’s responsibilities do increase. However, there hasn’t been a problem with me leading, even from a far. This should be even more seamless with modern technology.

3. How do you submit to an argument that you know you are right about and he hears what you are saying but doesn’t understand?

Assuming the argument is not over illegal or unbiblical activity, I believe the wife’s submission in this situation will do FAR more good in the marriage than her being “right.” If she is indeed right, the husband may likely see that she was right and feel all the more empowered that she chose to honor Christ first and submit to him. God will honor a wife’s decision to submit. As a caveat, I do think it’s important for the wife to make her opinion known, however in the end, she needs to trust that God will honor her submission, even if she “knows” she’s right.

4. What advice do you have for the newly engaged under an extra amount of attack?

Depends on what the “attack” is. The reality is that we are always under attack and I don’t see any indication that attack increases for the engaged. I understand that it may feel that way, but usually this line of thinking does more harm than good, as it elevates the enemy to an undue level of authority (and can create excuses for poor decision-making). If the attack is something like lust, that’s not an attack… it’s human nature. Set a short engagement. 🙂 If the attack is increased tension in the relationship, wise counsel should be sought. Usually what we perceive as attack is greater exposure of our sin-nature. Engagement can be stressful, and stress exposes deeply embedded sin. If we just call it an attack, we remove any responsibility for our own sin.

5. How can your wife best support you as the priest of your home?

Pray for me. Honor me with her words and trust me with decision-making.

6. Why do men stay silent when a co-worker or friend is cheating on their wife?

I think this mostly has to do with a man’s code of ethics. Some men are not as convicted by the sinful activity of others. Some feel that it’s not their place to judge. Generally, I think it’s because most guys don’t want to rock the boat. Even though I believe a man should confront this kind of behavior, I also believe many men don’t know how to confront (they lack those skills).

7. What are your feelings/views regarding dating/marrying a woman who is no longer a virgin/”pure”?

We are all impure apart from Christ and there is NO sin of which he cannot wash us clean. Repent and God will restore purity, just as He has done continuously in other areas of struggle in our lives. However, I think it is essential for anyone, male or female, to recognize the consequences and seek freedom in Christ, mainly from any shame associated with this activity. I also believe it is essential for total transparency in any new relationship. If we hide from the past we rob God the glory of His restoring work in our hearts.

For me, as a virgin, it would be disappointing to find out that a woman I’m falling in love with isn’t a virgin. There would be an initial “sting” but then I would get over it.

8. Would you as a husband be embarrassed and lose your manhood if your wife steps up in the family, makes more money and is mentally & emotionally stronger than you?

It depends a lot on the situation. The money part shouldn’t be an issue, as long as he is working as well and is fulfilling his calling as a man of God. The starving artist/musician/writer thing is not for married people… I think more men go through periods of time like this than anyone will admit to. The challenge of the wife is to continue to respect and honor him, even if she’s carrying the load (especially emotionally). If this is a temporary season, recognize it as such and pray that God carries both of you through it. This is most common. Wives do carry husbands through challenging seasons (especially in the current economic climate). If this is a chronic struggle, godly counsel is likely in order for both parties. I think really this man may just need some encouragement and often a Christian brother can provide that best (it’s easier to receive from another guy sometimes). However, I also know that sometimes a man could be refusing to step up to responsibilities and may need a kick in the butt. The kick should come not from the wife, but from the men and leadership of the church. A chronic situation where leadership is an issue should be addressed to an elder or pastor for further case-specific guidance. One other note: I see no Biblical support for saying a woman, as long as she is content with working and putting her family before her job, can’t make more money than a man.

9. Why is it so important to me to pay for dinner? If we are willing to pay for our part, what is the big deal?

Is this supposed to read “why is it so important to men”? It’s not that important to all men, but I think a better question is, “Why is it so important to pay your part?” If a man wants to show honor and respect by covering the cost of a meal, I can’t see why a woman would have an issue with that. It goes back to the man’s role as being the primary provider. A woman who is unwilling to let a man pay for a meal is probably unwilling to allow him to take the lead in other ways. 10. How do you handle spending time with your parents and the in-laws during the holidays, mothers day, fathers day, etc? My situation is too unique to qualify in that my parents and in-laws spend holidays together with us. However, I think the best way to handle this is give a little on both sides. Sometimes that means you may not spend every Christmas morning with your parents. Traditions change. We all need to deal with that. Remember that now that you are married, your new family (you and your husband) takes precedence over your parents and his parents. A mutually agreed upon compromise is best. My strong belief is that while you should partially consider your parents and in-laws feelings, you need to do what is best for you and your husband. Trust me, they will adjust. They have no choice.

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