A few months ago, a “blonde” moment helped shed some new light on my marriage and my sin.
I woke up this particular morning exhausted from being up several times with our newborn son. My husband, Jeremiah, was cooking eggs in the kitchen while I was getting ready back in our bedroom—with my son latched onto my left hip. I laid him down on the bed to put a necklace on and when I scooped him back into my arms, my head jerked back uncontrollably, like whiplash, and I banged it on the bathroom door behind me.
Immediately, pain shot from the back of my head to the front. I took advantage of the situation by yelling, whining, and complaining of the pain. My son looked at me as I rubbed my head.
Jeremiah then chimed in from a distance, “You’re such a drama queen.”
I’m a what? I thought. My heart beat fast as I rehearsed words that I would let Jeremiah have when given the chance. I slammed the door—that I hit my head on—so he could hear it and marched into the kitchen.
“How dare you call me a drama queen! My head hurts. I’m in pain!” I yelled.
“I just never know when to take you seriously. You’re always hurting yourself.”
I opened the refrigerator door for some orange juice and shut it fast—desiring to trump him more than anything. And at that instant, unpleasant and colorful words spewed out of my mouth like an uncontrolled lawn sprinkler. Silence pervaded our home with the exception of the little baby coos resounding in my ear.
“You really need to calm down, Babe,” he responded.
My heart still raced. He just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t care when I hurt. He makes me so mad. What an insensitive jerk.
I took a deep breath.
A while later, we attempted to talk through what happened, but that only lasted a minute. I was too stubborn to share my feelings.
Throughout the day, I was ashamed and confessed my language, behavior, and ugly sin to the Lord, and learned some key things. I had allowed hurtful words to sow the seed of pride in my thoughts, which led to unbridled anger displayed in my actions and on my tongue. My husband had treated me harshly and justice needed to be done—but did it really?
What if I had taken the time to cool off and ask why he felt that way towards me? Or if any of my past reactions influenced his response? What if the road of love and respect had been chosen instead? These thoughts are so opposite from our culture’s way of thinking and from the heart of flesh within me. In my sinful, strong-willed nature, dominating comes as natural as breathing. But God calls me to higher living as a wife—to be a helpmate or rather a “help meet” to my husband.
Just like Eve was created for Adam to be his helper, I’ve been created to help meet Jeremiah’s needs. And being a help meet stems from unconditional love—the kind of love that pastors share on the altar as couples are pledging their vows to one another: love that is patient, kind, not self-seeking, proud, rude, or easily angered (1 Corinthians 13). But when it comes to actually living out that love when the honeymoon’s over, it’s hard! But I am discovering that it’s possible to show this foreign kind of love.
When Jeremiah shares an opinion, idea, dream, or something deep from his heart, I’m learning to listen with care and follow his leading even if it’s not what I would do, trusting that God is leading him first. Many times, I’m tempted to nag like a constant drip on a rooftop, or be the “Holy Spirit” for him, but all that does is make him feel trapped and annoyed. Who wants to feel that way?
When I disagree or negatively interpret something, I’m seeing where I need to show more respect through facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. It’s about thinking before I speak but also before expressing myself. It’s undeniable that my actions always communicate more powerfully than words.
Another way I’ve been striving to be a help meet is to wake up every day as if Jeremiah were king and it was my goal to please and serve him. Even though that sounds nice and pretty, God truly calls me to love in such a way. I’m not only his lover and soul-mate, but his playmate that plays and has fun with him, even in the dirt!
The opposite of being a help meet is being the famous foolish woman we see in the pages of Proverbs. No one goes near her because she’s angry, contentious, lacks discretion, is stubborn, loud, and selfish. She tears her house down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1). In other words, she does nothing but put down her husband and children by her actions and words.
Being a help meet will undeniably keep a marriage healthy and strong. It works simply because it’s God’s original design and it’s a beautiful creation. To take on the role of the foolish woman is to build towers of isolation that eventually crumble into bitterness and resentment. And if not dealt with, will destruct into a brutal divorce or an “un-divorced” marriage—a mere tragedy altogether.
At the end of such a crazy day, we stayed up talking in bed. Jeremiah asked forgiveness for being insensitive and careless with his words. Through tears, I confessed my pride, anger, and foolish response to him, promising I would allow God to continue to work on me. That night, the healing began.
Though miles and miles away from being close to perfect, knowing what I’ve been created to be has cleared up the foggy lens in which I used to see my husband and my role as a wife. I truly desire to do good for him, and not harm and that even means working on the drama in my clumsy, blonde moments!
Jean Vanier had it right when she said, “Love is an act of endless forgiveness.”