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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heavenly Marriage: Part 1

The quote from the end of my last post is from Debi Pearl. If you know of Debi, you probably could have called it.

She is a self-described "aged woman" who seeks to follow Titus II principles of "teaching the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God not be blasphemed".

Created To Be His Help Meet is the name of the book I am reading through for the third time. After the first reading, I decided I had to read this book at least once a year to remind myself of what God's plan is for me in my marriage.

A caveat: the Pearl theology is off. Our pastor calls their child-training book To Train Up A Child "To Train Up a Pharisee". No, you cannot raise a Christian. You cannot reach an unbelieving husband's heart all by yourself. God is the author and finisher of our faith, and our only responsibility is to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" and to trust God to to the rest. So read her books, as you would read all books, with prayer and discernment regarding spiritual matters.

But do read this book for its sound advice on practical matters. Oh, please. Read this book, wives.

I will be posting snippets of this borrowed wisdom for a little series on heavenly marriages. You may not agree. That is ok. Feel free not to read. It is hard advice that she gives, but I do believe it is God's wisdom. For ultimately, we do not serve our husbands. We serve our Father. And He is making us fit for our ultimate marriage as the Bride of Christ. That concept is heady and too esoteric for me, but I can read and apply practical advice on how to be a godly wife.

I like the book because Debi doesn't sugar-coat things. It is the first marriage book I have read where I don't feel like I am waaaaay down here and others are waaaay up there. Do you know what I mean? This woman has a great marriage, but not because she paints herself as super-godly and nearly perfect. She has to work hard at serving a man- difficult, rough around the edges, built for domination, less-than-emotional man. That is what most of us have. Many of them are saved, many of them serve the Lord, but they are still human. And we have to be their perfect help-meets. Can it be done? It has to. Is it easy? Never. Will it bless your home and marriage to do so? You bet.

Here is today's snippet. What do you think?

"Women who have difficulties in their marriages usually follow their feelings and just react. But you must stop trusting your hurt responses or the advice you receive from the world, for today's media communicates a worldview that is skewed at best...A woman's calling is not easy. To allow someone else to control your life is much harder than taking control of it yourself. It can be a challenge, even for veteran wives. Don't despair. With wisdom from on high, you can be the woman God uses, if not to change that old man into a wonderful fellow, then at least to ease your own burden and become a heavenly bride fit for the Son of God Himself" (50)


Farm Girl said...

Hey I will wade in with both feet. :) In the early years, I read every book I could find on child training.
The only one that worked was the Pearls book To Train Up a Child. I can show you mothers today that used that book who have children whose children still love the Lord and did not rebel. So I say the proof is in the pudding. :)
Debi Pearl is wonderful and I agree with her advice with my whole heart.
It is hard, there is nothing harder than trusting God so much you trust your husbands leadership.
I have found, that giving up that right to myself, to trust in the leadership God has put over me for my protection and not destruction life is just easier.
After 31 years, Having a husband who still loves me is better than having my own way.
I look forward to reading your part two. :)

Brandy @ Afterthoughts said...

This is the only book I've read from the Pearls, and I agree that it offers much-needed *conviction* for many of us. I remember reading it and noticing how *rude* her husband seemed. And yet here she was, sounding so sweet, and loving him so faithfully. I couldn't help but think of how petty I was, complaining about little things, when I had a wonderful husband who, due to personality more than anything else, was (and is) much easier to live with than her man. I realized I was ungrateful and really that my list of faults rolled on and on. And I realized this in a *good* way, for the book doesn't really leave room for wallowing, but more for correcting and then moving on with new habits. For sure, God used it in my life at a time when I needed it!

I have read enough about the Pearl's theology to concur that it is not quite orthodox.

It is only in the last year or so that I've realized that my goal really shouldn't be to raise a child who behaves a certain way (though he *ought* to behave a certain way, of course), but to follow the Lord as a mother in training, discipline, instruction, etc. The *fruit* of walking faithfully is godly children. But this is still an act of God--an act of grace--not an act of man, that we can boast in our methods or efforts.

Farm Girl, I love what you said here:

After 31 years, Having a husband who still loves me is better than having my own way.

That is the sort of perspective we younger women benefit from hearing!

Jennifer said...

Love it! Thank you both for the discussion.

Farm Girl,
I will take your advice any day because I am somewhat familiar with the fruit of your labors, and it is good :) I do like To Train Up a Child, and I use the principles. Not all of them, but most of them. I am thankful to have your wisdom in this discussion. If you have done it for 31 years and you love your husband as much as you do, I want the same! I do agree with you. It is really easier to trust Beau than to try to control not just my life, but his. That is exhausting. Part two coming up sometime (in the next month...)

Brandy, I felt the same way when first reading the book. What a complainer I am- not always in word, but in heart and attitude, and really- who can't see it on my face? My husband certainly does. My girlfriend and I have talked about this book and we agree- our husbands make it relatively easy to submit because we trust that they look to the Lord to guide their lives. What a blessing. Many women do not have that, so we could ourselves among the blessed. I like the "no wallowing" policy. I want to check that off my list for good.

I wholeheartedly agree with your goals of reaching the heart of the child, and not just the outward behaviour. To be sure, outward behaviour is about all I can correct with the littlest ones, but as my children get a little older, I am much more concerned that they understand their own reasons, motives, sin, and shortcomings. It is a struggle for me to not just quickly correct behavior, especially in public, because who doesn't want polite, obedient, respectful children all the time? I sure do. And I want others to know that that is how my children are, all the time. (BS, by the way). I want to model godly behavior, reach their hearts, and trust God with the rest. Thanks to wisely divided Scripture (and Ms. Debi), I now know that a very real way to model that is to respect and honor my husband. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

Kessie said...

Hm, that sounds like an interesting child training child training book. As for the Help Meet book, I haven't read it, but I've read Me? Obey him? and For Women Only and the Other Side of the Garden, which all teach the same thing, I think. And being a help meet and not his boss is HARD. I'm right there with you and your struggles. I look forward to your later posts. (And do you think it's helping your marriage any?)

Farm Girl said...

Well glad I didn't blow it on your first question as I have been thinking about what I wrote. The training the child book, is good on some things and I only used it a lot after the birth of my latest kid because being pregnant that last month my house quickly unraveled. Then when I finally got the strength to notice my household was falling apart and Dad was wanting to stay at work, then I would bring out the book.
Then everything would be so much nicer.
To over use that book to much I think would be worse than not at all. They are strict people after all. I am not that strict.
The things that have helped me the most are Box Free Living by Diana Waring. It is a CD It is how we in the home schooling culture have a tendency to box our children.
I think Me, Obey Him is another good one and Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot.
I always tell myself when I am balking at the good wife thing, Who did God create first? Why Did God create Eve? To be a helpmeet, to meet his needs, his wants and desires and to bear children.
As I heard it once, to compliment him in every way. To give up my life for his.
Wow, I will get off the soap box.
Kessie and Megan are much better at this than I ever have been. I hope they come by and talk too. :)


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