Sunday 6 July 2014

Humility in our marriages {when our husband is our Brother first}

I love the Epistles.  They are absolutely jam-packed full of practical advice. These, of course, are letters - written by various apostles to the newly formed "churches", or bodies of believers. They were groups who were meeting together as part of the "early Church", not long after the death of Christ, and the realisation that the Messiah had, indeed, come - that they were now following after Christ as their Saviour.  They had much to learn.  Many were converted from Judaism, where they were rule followers. Those believers had to learn grace, love, forgiveness. Many were from completely gentile, or even pagan, backgrounds - from cities and outlying regions, where the gospel was reaching out through the missionary journeys of disciples and apostles.

All of them had one thing in common.  They were sinners, needing a sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, as they sought to become more Christlike.

In today's culture, we read these epistles, and often consider them in the light of the "Church", as they were written to.

We read instructions such as,

"Let brotherly love continue." 
Hebrews 13:1

"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:3

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." 
Philippians 2:3  

and we think about how we need to work at making the Church we attend a God-glorifying place, where we all love each other, get along, and respect one another's opinions.  We work at it, and endeavour to do our best at making our Church life one of blessing.

Then we come home.

Suddenly, we forget that our husband is also our brother.  We forget we are part of the same body - in more ways than one.  United in Christ, AND united in marriage.

All that we hold so dear, in the context of the Church, we throw casually to one side in how we treat each other in our families.

There is one character trait which causes much damage in marriages, and in families as a whole.


A lack of humility.

The "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude.

As I listened to God's Word being preached on Sermon Audio last week, I listened to a sermon which dealt with this very issue, in the wider context of the Church.  However, it struck me as to how much of a clincher it is, if we desire a healthy, God-glorifying marriage.

Do I have a JOY attitude? A "Jesus, Others, Yourself" attitude?

Or, is it more of a


Others (Oh, except my husband, because why should HE get to know more than me, or have a "more worth listening to" perspective on life?)



It's sad, but unmistakably true, that many, many "Christian" marriages, seem to be founded upon that attitude.

Pride.  Stubborn wills.  Unbending opinions.  Self righteousness.

Trust me, I speak to my own heart first. With great sorrow, I saw myself staring right back, when I looked into the mirror of God's Word, as that message was being preached.

The times when I have stubbornly thought that what I thought was far better, and my husband couldn't possibly be right.

The moments when my heart grumbled and moaned inwardly, because I stubbornly believed my opinion to be of greater value than Robert's.

It doesn't have to be an outward manifestation - in fact, an inward "muttering" of the spirit can be far more destructive.

The thing is, if we are both saved, by God's grace, our husband is our BROTHER.  We are "heirs together of the grace of life".  Children of the Heavenly King.  Part of the same body of Christ, the same family of God.

Those verses are written to US, and need to be applied within the context of our marriage, as equally as in the context of the "church".

Just look at these verses.  Don't think of them in the Church setting.


Think about them in the context of marriage, or of family.

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 
For as we have many members in one body." 
Romans 12:4

Not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought.

Is our opinion and perspective REALLY more valuable and worthy of following, than that of our spouse? Do we think of ourselves THAT highly, that we don't even consider listening to the point of view of our husband?

Oh, how devastatingly cringe-worthy.  I am internally squirming, as I think of how that has applied in my own life.  How I shame my Saviour, when I think of myself in that way.

Those times when I have jumped to argue, and bicker, and be contentious.  Not endeavouring to keep unity, and peace.

Look at this list in Proverbs, of things God hates - it's one I shared last week.

"A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

Do you see how it starts, and how it ends?  It begins with pride, and ends with discord.  That is what happens in our marriages - if we begin with a proud heart, that thinks highly of herself, we will end with discord. Discord is the opposite of being harmonious, or tuneful.  Our marriages will be lacking melody - just filled with angry, confused "noise", if we are proud and opinionated.  In fact, that noise could very well end up being arguing and shouting.

It's no surprise that the book Proverbs deals so much with the subject of contentious women - it's a shameful inclination of our sinful hearts, to desire to argue, instead of to be peaceable.

"A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing." 
Proverbs 9:13  

"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." 
Proverbs 21:9 

 "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman."
Proverbs 21:19 

 "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike."
Proverbs 27:15 

 "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house."
Proverbs 25:24 
If you are reading all of these and thinking

"What about the men, hey? What are THEY supposed to be doing? Where's THEIR list?"

Then, you're putting yourself on that "pride" list straight away.

A mark of one with humility, is one who can look upon themselves and see their own sin, without having to point the finger at another first.

We need to be wives who don't "sow discord". Not speaking down to our husbands, or finding fault, or criticising.  Having a spirit like that just puts us up on that "higher than we ought to think" shelf, again. Speaking down, is elevating our own point of view, and demeaning another's.  Finding fault and criticising is comparing to a standard we think is "right", and seeing where another falls short. 

So how DO we need to be?

We need to be gracious women.  

"A gracious woman retaineth honour: "
Proverbs 11:16 

We need to be gentle, and meek.  

"gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
Titus 3:2

"a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
I Peter 3:4:

 Meekness is NOT weakness.  It's humility.  

Pleasant, kind, showing grace.

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:2-3

Longsuffering - patient - cheerfully enduring. 


Are we living a marriage with that kind of being "in love"?  

Endeavouring - it requires effort.  Look at the Strong's expansion of that one word...

"to make effort, be prompt or earnest: - do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study."

Oh, my soul.  Diligently strive to cast off pride, high opinions of yourself, and a haughty spirit. Graciously, lovingly, and humbly put your husband and his point of view, higher - way, high above - your own.

Anything we have only comes from God.  It's nothing of ourself, anyway. God has equally gifted our husbands with wisdom and perspective, equally valid to our own. It's never worth destroying a marriage because of pride.

As Mr Wagner said in his sermon - "It's not about you - it's about the body of Christ".

And my husband is my brother.

I plead with the Lord to make me humble and not haughty - a gracious woman who retains honour.



  1. There's little as unattractive as seeing a woman who is contentious, or nagg-y, with her husband. Oh, what a dreadfully ugly trait it is :/
    I pray I'd never be that .... it's so demeaning to a husband, when we ought to build them up and encourage them.
    Anne x

  2. Thanks for this beautiful reminder! Ephesians 4 says it all.