Marriage is tough. Marriage is sweet. Marriage is heartbreaking. Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is so many things. And it is such a marvelous mystery isn’t it? How marriage is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church is an absolutely marvelous mystery.
I’ve been married for a little over six months now. It’s been an exciting time and it’s been a time filled with many hard to learn lessons.
My husband wasn’t a Christian when we first met. I know, I know, I started this thing all wrong. But during our courtship, I shared Jesus with him and The Lord worked in his heart and he came to a saving faith. For a while after that, I shared with him many of the principles of Christianity and he grew. So in essence, I was the one leading our spiritual relationship together at this time.
God was ever so gracious with the two of us though and confirmed to us that He meant for us to be married. He faithfully drew my husband to Himself and discipled him lovingly. So my husband grew by leaps and bounds. He is now a mature believer whose heart seeks after God’s heart in all things.
I have had to learn though to abandon the model of leadership that was originally established. Because I was the one leading us spiritually and therefore ultimately in all ways, I have had to let go of the reins and allow my husband to step into his God given role as the leader.
Sometimes this has been easier than others. What has helped me to let go is the psalmist’s words in 139:5.
You hem me in behind and before and lay your hand upon me.
The psalmist, David, is speaking of God being sovereign over all his circumstances and not allowing anything to happen that is outside of His will.
And it’s certainly true that God is the one ultimately leading my marriage and He is using my husband to lead us both. More than that though, this verse is an image of the role my husband plays in my life.
My husband hems me in.
It’s as though I am this portrait God is painting and my husband is this beautiful, strong frame God has put in place to surround me, to cover me, to protect me. And if anything happens, the frame bears the brunt of things. And because my husband is tuned in to God’s heart, he is loving me sacrificially, laying down his comfort, his conveniences, his rights, to love me.
My husband lays his hand upon me.
My husband is always affirming me, supporting me, blessing me. In the New Testament, oftentimes when the apostles sent someone off to do God’s work, there would be a laying on of hands and this signified a sense of affirmation, support, and identifying with those being sent. My husband affirms me, supports me, and blesses me in becoming the truest me and wholest me that God has intended and in doing the life’s calling, life’s mission that God has ordained for me.
I know I am a blessed girl. I know not every husband seeks after God’s will in his marriage as mine does. But friend, know this, God is the one who places your husband in a place of leadership and His intention is for your husband to hem you in and place his hand upon you. This is the model for marriage that God has ordained. And it is for your protection and welfare and that is why we submit to our husbands and ultimately to God.
This doesn’t mean we can’t ever speak up though. If Adam wanted to eat the apple first it would have been a sad situation if Eve didn’t speak up. We can let our feelings be known in a loving way and trust God with whatever the outcome may be. But it is our husbands who will be accountable to God for our marriages in a way that we won’t and so we are to respect them and trust God to be the one who leads capably.
What if your husband isn’t living out his role in a Godly manner? I know that is a very hard place to be in, dear one. Know though that God is still the one holding both you and your husband in the palm of His hands and He’s got you both. And God is still hemming you in and laying His hand upon you through your husband. It may not seem like it, but God is still mysteriously using your husband even through wherever failings and imperfections there may be. So know that when you submit to your husband, you are submitting to God, the one who hems us all in.