(AKA Honoring Your Husband In A Feminist World: Part 2)
I, and I think the vast majority of my fellow women – regardless of their beliefs, have a BIG problem understanding that we’re not the Holy Spirit.
Playing the “Holy Spirit” is having the need to speak at a person, or into a situation, in an attempt to control the outcome.
It’s actually not just about how we relate to our husbands, it can certainly extend into friendships and with older children, but I’m focusing on the husband part and you can read between the lines on the rest.
Of course we don’t think we’re trying to be controlling. We’re just doing our job as the responsible wife, mother, and/or friend. After all, the world would likely fall apart without our careful orchestration. The reality is, it’s evidence that somewhere in the back of our minds we simply don’t trust the other person not to somehow negatively affect us (AKA we think that we know best – we’re smarter, more capable, more spiritual, etc.). Ultimately, we don’t trust God.
The job of Holy Spirit is already filled, and we’re not made to be in charge.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this topic, I have never identified as a feminist. In fact, I find feminist attitudes quite repulsive – the need to prove equality, which often swings toward superiority, and generally ends up very brusk and stand-off-ish is just not attractive, ever.
When I read this book in my second year of marriage, however, I realized how much of a feminist I actually was. (Which lead to a very controversial Sunday school class at our church, in which many women were greatly riled. Several things make it a difficult read: 1.) The author doesn’t do the best job of addressing practical application – in a marriage that enjoys good communication many of the issues should be able to be discussed with your husband as opposed to being dealt with in a one-sided manner. 2.) I don’t believe that everything the author says is God-inspired – you do need to glean the good points and use discernment, which should go without saying. 3.) I guarantee you have been much more affected by a feminist worldview than you realize – you will find yourself thinking, BUT WHAT ABOUT MY HUSBAND – this is not a book to husbands. I did just discover, however, that there is a book for the husbands so I’ll have to check that out. 4.) Your experience with men will inform your reactions to the concepts discussed in the book and your inner fears will rise to the surface. I had a much easier time digesting it than many others did because of my relationship with David and how safe he makes me feel. Because 4.) the husband in the book truly seems to enjoy wearing an asshat, and you probably know many other men who do as well. HOWEVER, one of the women who was the most turned off to the book because of her experience in her own relationship, later went on to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit in applying it to her marriage and saw huge change. I recommend it only because the need for a wake up call in our marriages is so great – don’t read unless it is with an open mind and heart willing to be softened by the Holy Spirit.)
Men who come into marriage as great leaders of wisdom are a rarity.
Maybe you really don’t think you’re controlling?
Do you ever worry that your husband won’t handle a situation correctly? Let’s just say I have a few times over the course of our almost nine years of marriage. It hasn’t been pretty.
- Our goal was always to work together at home. It took many years to become a reality, and in David’s evenings and weekends when he wasn’t at his day job I would get a little panicky if he chose to play computer instead of putting in work on our business. I can’t say I always did the best job of biting my tongue about that.
- Before we had kids I had no idea how fiercely protective I would feel about them. Much to my shame, this often extended into protecting them from David’s fathering. Of course he had things to learn about how children work, but I didn’t really trust his heart as a father and I didn’t leave him a lot of room to grow into his role. Again, I took on a lot of Holy Spirit work.
- Sometimes I sighed about how much more I seemed to care about spiritual things than David did. I spoke with a tone of disdain against this or that “evil”.
One of my favorite quotes from Created to Be His Help Meet couldn’t be truer:
No man has ever crawled out from under his wife’s criticism to be a better man – no matter how justified her condemnation.
Who of us does respond well to criticism? I mean, seriously.
Unfortunately, even when we speak with the best of intentions – from a heart of love that wants our husband to be the best version of himself possible, our words are a piss-poor substitute for Holy Spirit conviction. Actually, that is not unfortunate at all, because…
When we realize that it’s not our job to make sure our husband is doing his job we gain an unimaginable sense of freedom.
We weren’t made to carry the weight of that burden. Many of us are stressed to the point of feeling slightly crazy because of our self-appointed mistaken identity as the Holy Spirit.
This even shows up in our physical health – ulcers, anxiety, depression, IBS, etc. Granted, controlling and fear go hand in hand. Dig deep enough for the root of a person’s need to control and you will find fear every time.
No one has been a better example to me of trust and respect of one’s spouse than my husband. My mom has grown into an amazing representation as well, but I live with and experience David’s example every day. Honestly, I am in awe of the way that he relates to me and it makes me want to be a better wife.
How about you? Are you guilty of playing the Holy Spirit?
Do you find yourself getting anxious and antsy when things aren’t being done the way you think they should be? Is your tongue getting tired of being pinched between your teeth? Do you have to sometimes physically leave the room to keep yourself from taking charge of a situation?
I would love to have mastered this by now, but unfortunately I know that there is not only some unfounded fear at play, but also pride that somehow I know better. Thankfully God isn’t in the fix-it business – he doesn’t use duct tape. God makes us new.