A few months ago I got an email from a young mom who had been married for just a couple of years. She and her husband were really growing in their faith and she was especially inspired to learn about Jesus now that she had a new baby. She wanted to be able to teach that baby the Scriptures when he got to be a bit bigger, and she was feeling frustrated because it seemed to her that dear hubby was not quite as passionate as she was.
It was really beginning to rub her the wrong way.
Now this is one case in particular I am thinking about but I have heard the same “concerns” dozens of times. I even used to share them. Let me explain.
We go to a Bible teaching church. You come sit in our service any week and you are going to hear a chapter of the Bible taught and preached on. It’s meaty. Straight-forward. You walk away with something to think about the rest of the week. It is awesome.
And our pastor is a serious student. He reads incessantly. Listens to books and teaching tapes as he drives. Reads summaries of books he doesn’t have time to read. It’s amazing how much that man studies. And he encourages us all to keep learning, keep growing, and study the Word every day. Which is fantastic.
Unless…you’re not a reader. Which I am, so it is no trouble to me. And my kids are…so they read every book the pastor mentions. But my husband…is not a reader. He’s more of a, “You read it honey and tell me what I need to know right before bed…” Which generally means he is not listening to a word I am saying about the book…he has way more fun things on his mind at bedtime than some business book or theologian’s interpretation. That’s probably why we have 15 kids in the first place…but I digress.
For the first year or so we attended the church I really tried to encourage David to read the Word. I got to the point of nagging. I tried to get him to teach the children after breakfast from the Bible before he left for work. I tried to remind him before bed. In all honesty, I was frustrated. I mean, if he was going to be a man of God and lead this family, shouldn’t he be having a consistent quiet time?
I look back now and I am sincerely sorry. I was judging his spiritual walk by what I could SEE him doing and had no idea what was actually going on inside his heart. I had to learn a key factor…that I was NOT the Holy Spirit. My husband has faith that moves mountains…I have seen them tumble into the sea! My husband works and serves his family day in and year out and decades long without ever a complaint or sigh. He lives the Gospel as he loves on the people God places in our lives either through work or ministry…which sometimes are both one and the same. He is surely walking out his faith in ways that back then I neglected to appreciate. Just the other day I had an A-HA moment about this whole understanding that is vital for any woman struggling as I was…as this mom who wrote me is…
Let’s look at Abraham, who is called THE FATHER OF FAITH shall we? Abraham is the example of what it means to be a Godly leader, a patriarch, a man of faith. Let me ask you…did Abraham read God’s Word every day? Uhhhhhhh, no. He was WAY before Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible. Did Abraham memorize scripture? If he did it would’ve taken him about three minutes, because he would have only had to memorize the few sentences God ever spoke to him. He walked by faith, not knowing where he was going, given phenomenal promises by God, taking on armies of men, winning the favor of kings and increasing incredibly in wealth…all because of his faith and favor from God.
Ladies, this idea of “reminding” your husband to be in the Word, study harder, and especially when the intimation is that if he is not “spiritual enough” your respect is not warranted–is hog wash. Likely, if your husband is like mine, he is praying when he’s running. He’s thinking things through with God as he goes about his day. His feet and his faith are walking the same direction and who are you to judge his heart when his “studying” methods may vary from yours? This lesson hit home one day when one of my girls wrote a sweet note to Daddy telling him that he walked on water in their eyes, he lived out his faith in a way that touched them deeply. If I had spent the last ten years comparing his “spiritual growth” to someone else’s, likely my daughter’s hearts would have been judgmental about their father too, and they would have missed seeing the beauty that IS the way David lives his faith.
So I guess, it all depends on what kind of man you have. Of course studying the Word daily is awesome. I love it. But let’s not go bashing the ones we love to read enough, pray enough, teach enough, serve enough. Let’s love them, pray for them, encourage them, and appreciate them for how they are…not some standard we have set, or what we see someone else accomplishing.
Just love them.
Just love them.
LOVE the person you married.
And let the Holy Spirit teach and lead them. You just do your part of loving.