The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of Risen Motherhood. I’ve got my sister-in-law, Emily Jensen here with me. Today, we are going to do something we normally do at the end of the show, but real quick, we love you guys. We love our listeners. We’ve received so much support from you guys. You are so good to share things and to send us messages and emails, and things on social media. We are so appreciative every time you guys affirm what we’re doing, because it can be a little scary to do this especially because we know we’re not super great [laughter] but we’re really grateful for you guys.
We want to ask you, if you would, to share this with someone else. We want as many people as possible, and as many moms as possible, to hear about the gospel and how it should change what they’re doing as mothers. To help them to catch this vision that Emily and I, and all of you are on. We would really appreciate it if you would take five minutes and share the podcast.
Today, we’re talking husbands and often times, what happens in a marriage and what happens after kids and all of the crazy in our lives, they start to get a little disengaged. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about your husband being disengaged. We’re going to be talking about moms and all of our problems [laughter]. But some of you might not have wanted to listen to this episode because you’re frustrated with your husband in this area. Some of you may not even be married or not have a husband who is a believer, and some of you might have a husband who is rocking it right now in this area and you’re grateful for him. I think all the moms are probably coming from all over the board right now as they listen to this episode. So we hope that there is one or two truths out of this that you can apply to your life today. Your turn Emily.
Emily: This is all good stuff and important back information. I know my husband has done a wonderful job with our family. One thing that happens to me is that sometimes I will be scrolling along my newsfeed, and I’ll run across an article about how husbands should be leading their families spiritually. We might also go to a marriage conference or hear a conversation where the pastor will share something about what husbands are supposed to be doing, and it puts this little seed in my heart of, “My husband’s not doing that.”
It can cause a lot of expectations that maybe aren’t right, and it could also start to change your heart to be a little bit more bitter, maybe not believing the best in him. It can turn your eyes off of yourself and your own job, and onto your husband and what he should be doing, and what he’s not doing and why. It can pull us down this really bad path mentally and emotionally and eventually, I think it can drive a wedge between you and your husband and it tends to get you off of the same team. We really want to be on the same team as our husbands, working towards the same unified goal, which is passing our faith onto our children.
Laura: I think that once you see that other man or you hear about that other man, or you read about that other man that’s doing all these amazing things, you’re like,” “Wah-wah.” Anything your husband was doing starts to pale in comparison, even if two seconds prior, you were like, “Yes, we’re doing pretty good.”
It’s a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about that feeling.
I think our first response is often to nag. Maybe that’s inside - a grumbling or nagging inside our hearts and sometimes, a lot of times - especially with me who’s a verbal processor, that is aloud. It’s like this word vomit of stuff. Like, “Oh, I guess you just don’t care about the spiritual status of our children,” or, “I’ll just have to do it all myself. Do you even have quiet times? Do you even take notes at church? Are you even listening?” Sometimes it’s in our hearts but sometimes if you’re like me, it’s out loud and that’s hugely embarrassing to admit. I don’t know if any of you guys can relate because I’m feeling a little alone. Emily, have you ever done this?
Emily: Yes, well, I think - I was absolutely horrible. I went into marriage with really high expectations of what my husband was going to do as a spiritual leader. I remember on our honeymoon being like, “Okay, are we going to wake up and do a quiet time together now?”
Laura: [laughs] You’re so cute.
Emily: “Aren’t we going to read scripture together and pray?” and I fell really hard that first year of realizing that I wanted my husband to be as perfect as Jesus. [laughs]
Laura: That’s what we all want.
Emily: I needed to put my hope in Christ so that I could enjoy my husband for who he is. It’s not that I don’t ever fail in this area anymore, but I feel like I had such a hard time in the first couple of years of marriage. Maybe the Lord has done a little tiny bit of work in my heart in this area, which I’m grateful for, but another thing you mentioned was compare.
We look at other women’s husbands or you hear about someone, and you compare and totally forget that each of our husbands were created differently, and they are going to carry out their leadership differently. Some of our husbands may have a quieter personality or they are more introverted or more introspective. Other husbands are musical; maybe they play the guitar and sing worship songs with their family. My husband has never picked up a guitar and so we shouldn’t be looking externally for what our own husband should be doing.
I think the main thing we want to address, for you guys, is the heart. As Laura and I were talking about this, it’s like, what is our heart towards our husband? Let's go ahead and chat about how the gospel applies to this, because I feel like that’s what poisons our heart to begin with.
Laura: You’ve probably heard it every week here. Do you know what we’re going to say? [laughter] The fall; the curse. If you have learned anything from this show, is that it all goes back to the fall and it makes us as women desire, or prone towards, dominating over our husband. There’s a reason why this is pretty common and we can even have a whole podcast show about it. So it's the redemption story, ladies. You have received grace and so you can extend grace to you husband. We have been shown love by Christ and so we can extend that same thing.
One verse that I love, because I am so verbal, is in 1 Peter 3. It says, “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words, by the behavior of their wives.” That speaks so much to our actions being grace-filled. That they would be won over without the nag; the constant reminders of where they’re failing and what they’re doing wrong. That you would give them no condemnation; no shame, just as Christ has not shamed you for all the ways that you have failed. The same thing we want to extend to our husbands is the same grace that has been shown to us.
Emily: That gospel, as well, allows us to be fully secure in our relationship with Christ. The only person who is going to meet our expectations, who lived a perfect life and who is going to fulfill all of our hopes and dreams is Jesus. When we are treasuring Him fully and fixing our eyes upon Him, we don’t put a burden or a weight on our husbands to do those things for us. Our husband is our brother-in-Christ. I think that’s an interesting thought too. We want to help our husbands and encourage them spiritually, so sometimes, if you see areas where they are struggling, there is a time for a mature, gracious conversation with them.
I think what Laura and I want to communicate, is treat him the way you would want to be treated. Give him the benefit of the doubt because you know all those things you want to do as a mom like, “Oh, I want to read with my kids for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and I want to be feeding them vegetables at every meal. I want to be doing…” We have these really high standards but we don’t always meet our own standards because life gets in the way. We don’t live up to the kind of moms that we want to be.
In the same way, our husbands want a lot of times to be doing these things with their families but they’re working really hard. I know my husband is often serving our family really practically. He’s cleaning up dishes, wiping mud off of faces, putting kids to bed. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, it’s more like what happens to us as women? We don’t do what we intend to do.
Laura: One thing that was key for me to learn is that, especially as a stay-at-home mom, I was around my kids 24/7. My trial by fire was pretty fast in a way because it was constantly coming at me. But with my husband leaving for work, he didn’t have as much time to do the research and read the articles and talk to other moms. Let’s now talk through the ways that we can encourage our husbands, Em.
Emily: We’re going to dive right into the practical but if you’re listening to this, we really want to encourage you, before you go to the practical, to address your heart towards your husband. Make sure that you’re on his team, that you’re believing the best in him, that your heart is truly to love and honor him and to take over for him, because you think he’s not doing a good enough job.
I know we keep saying that but if you jump to the practical with you heart wanting to manipulate the situation in a new way, this is not going to be effective, assuming you’ve gotten your heart right.
One of the biggest things that I do for my husband is make it easy for him. Sometimes I will just arrange materials. Again, I know I’ve mentioned this many times, but we do a lot of our talking about scripture at the breakfast table. I pulled all of those things together and put them in a box. I put it right by the breakfast table so that when we sit down and we’re all eating, I can literally can pull it off the shelf, set it right next to him and say, “Hey, this is the verse that we we’re talking about in church this week. You could chat with the kids about that,” and he’s like, “Great,” He’s happy to do that. It makes it easier for him and more accessible. I don’t know if you have any other examples.
Laura: Or like, “Hey, I heard about this new toddler Bible. Do you want to try reading it to our kids,” or, “Hey, this is a great sermon that I heard,” and then shoot him a link to a sermon. Don’t do it in a way that’s like, “Gosh, are you going to read this toddler Bible to our kids or do I need to do it?” [laughter] Not like that. That’s an example of a negative heart, but a way of saying, “Hey, I heard about this. My mom friend uses it and I really trust her. It’s a really cool resource. What do you think about it?”
Coming to him in a way that, as we’ve talked about, as you would want to be treated; softly and sweet. Gracious words are like a honeycomb: sweetness to the soul, health to the body. We want to be encouragers of our husbands. The other thing too, is to find areas that he does well and exploit the heck out of them. We want to breathe life into our husbands, to build them up.
Emily and I both talk a lot about being our husband’s biggest fan. Sometimes that can be really hard because we can also see all the ways that he fails, but you also know the very best things about him. Tell him how much you appreciate him. Tell him how much you love him. If he’s good at finances, talk about finding a Compassion's International child to sponsor and say, “Did you hear about these kids at church? I’d love to do this. Do you think we have room in our finances for this?” Stick it up on the fridge and bring it up. There’s natural ways. Look for ways that your husband can be easily helping to spiritually lead your home.
Emily: It’s about listening really carefully, because your husband, probably, is leading your family through expressing his preferences, as Laura shared, or his giftings. It’s just observing and being a student of your husband, seeing what are the areas that he is passionate about, or he is already naturally trying to pass on some things to your children. Grabbing onto those and trying to find ways to exploit that, or help him go even further to share his faith with your children.
Then finally, the last thing Laura and I wanted to mention was praying for your husband because at the end of the day, we don’t have power as wives to change our husbands’ hearts. No amount of conversations can convict your husband about how he’s doing as a spiritual leader.
Laura: Don’t be confused moms. You’re not the Holy Spirit.
Emily: Literally, you cannot. Laura and I have both had situations with our husband, where we have tried to, “Okay, if I just talk to him at the right time in the right way with enough words, he will get it. He’s going to see what he’s doing wrong here and he’s going to change.” It will not happen. I’m not saying don’t talk to your husband but I’m saying recognize the role of the Holy Spirit and that only the Holy Spirit can truly change a heart. You can inform, encourage, and point your husband to scripture. You can be on his team but only Jesus is going to change his heart.
Laura: Amen. With that, I think it’s time to wrap up. I know we clipped through these but probably each one could have been an episode on its own, however, we just want to encourage you guys to get back on your husband’s team, if you’ve been off of it. Connect together and check your heart modus mom. This is about the log in your own eye before you look at the speck in theirs.
I think that wraps it up. We will skip our usual stuff but if you want show notes or want to find us on any social media and all that good stuff, head over to RisenMotherhood.com, that’s where we’ll be. Have a great day moms.