My Roles: Wife.
Almost five years ago, I married Joshua Paul Croom and became a wife. Although my role as wife is not new to me, it is the second most important role I hold. It is second only to my role as servant of Christ Jesus. Even after five years, wife is still the most fun role I hold. I love being Josh’s wife. He makes me laugh, he annoys me intentionally, he knows me better than I know myself, he lays down his life sacrificially for me, and he leads me with servant-hearted gentleness.
Even though I have an incredible husband, marriage isn’t easy. It is an amazing joy, but it is a sanctifying union. My role as wife means that I am one with another person. He knows my every flaw and often experiences the worse parts of me. God uses my marriage, and my husband, to point out my sin and then lovingly bring me to repentance. That’s not easy. I’m flawed deeply, and often don’t want to admit it. Marriage doesn’t let me escape that. However, both my God and my husband are gracious enough to lovingly lead me out of my sin and into their arms. That is joy!
Many people hold the role of wife, yet the role will look different from person to person. Some wives have husbands who are loving servant-leaders, while others don’t. Some wives work outside the home, while others don’t. There are many ways the role of wife differs from person to person, but from a biblical worldview many things stay the same. The things that stay the same are what I want to talk about today. Though there are many Christ-like characteristics wives should personify, I want to discuss the four that I feel like God is asking me to focus on this year. I’m asking God to make me into this kind of wife.
A Wife Who Submits
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”Ephesians 5:21-24
Submission is an unpopular subject in our culture. Women don’t like being told that men, even their husbands, are in authority over them. Popular or not, that is how God designed marriage. The husband submits to God and the wife submits to her husband. Even if you’re husband is not submitting to the Lord, you are still responsible for submitting to him unless what he requires is unbiblical. God blessed you with a husband who offers you the protection of his authority. While submission isn’t always easy, it is vital. Refusing to submit removes you from the umbrella of Christ’s protection and opens you up to attacks from the enemy. No believer wants to be in that unprotected place.
In my own marriage, there have been countless times where Josh has graciously brought to my attention an area of my heart that I haven’t turned over to the Lord. More often than I like to admit, I get defensive. Instead of letting the Lord speak to me through the authority of my husband, I try and excuse my attitude by listing every reason I’m entitled to feel that way. When I come out from under the wise authority of my husband, I’m no longer under Christ’s authority. I’m praying that I become a wife who eagerly and humbly submits to my husband and to the Lord.
A Wife Who Encourages
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11
I’ve heard Dr. Gaines, our home church’s pastor, explain that encourage literally means to put courage into someone. I envision Iron Man. He comes in drained and weary after a day of battle, needing to charge his suit (Editor’s note: We can get nit picky about the factual reality of Iron Man needing to charge his suit. Let it go comic book fans. This husband is proud there is an Iron Man reference in the blog. This husband is proudest that this wife of mine exemplifies all if these traits. That is all. Carry on, dear.). The wife who encourages her husband charges his suit, preparing him to fight any battle he may encounter. I know that’s corny, but I think it’s a good visual of the power wives hold. We have the power to either drain or charge our husband.
Often I choose to drain Josh. Josh has far more faith than I, and relies on the Lord far more readily. Those are two of the many things I respect about him, yet so often I drain those qualities in him. When he proposes the next step he sees our family or our ministry taking, my immediate response is to give a list of reasons why that idea won’t work. Instead of joining Josh in his excitement about what the Lord is doing, I respond in fear by limiting God to what I can comprehend. Not only does this have a draining effect on me, I drain my faith-filled husband by trying to squash his enthusiasm. On the other hand, I can see my husband recharging when I show excitement about his goals and desires! I pray that encouragement becomes my default, rather than fearful negativity.
A Wife Who Plays
Isn’t it just more enjoyable to be with someone who laughs with you and takes an interest in your hobbies? Being warm, inviting and playful is important in all relationships, especially marriage! One of my favorite cross-stitch worthy quotes on marriage is from Martin Luther. He said, “Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” I believe one of the key ways to meet that goal is to have fun with your husband! Make your home the place he wants to be by filling it with laughter, games and fun.
Maybe it is because Josh and I began our relationship as best friends, but this is an area I feel like we usually excel in. My husband is a goofball and his favorite pastime is annoying people, i.e. me. He always makes me laugh, especially when I don’t feel like laughing. A goal for this new year is to find new things Josh and I enjoy doing together. Whether that means finding fun activities in our new city or playing card games at home, I want Josh to come home from a long day of ministry knowing that his wife has created a laughter-filled home to return to.
A Wife Who Serves
As I’ve been discussing in previous journals, the Lord is teaching me to be a servant. My role as servant has a tremendous impact on my role as wife. When God was planning Eve, he designed her to be “a helper suitable” for Adam. Eve was created to be a helper, or servant, to her husband. She was created with her own unique roll to accomplish all the things Adam couldn’t. Being a servant to our husbands is an empowering honor, not a demeaning burden. Wives serve a special purpose of “filling the gaps” that husbands are not designed to fill. The joy of marriage is learning what gaps your husband needs you to fill and then working as a team led by the Holy Spirit to create an incredible picture of Christ.
Josh’s love language is acts of service, so I try to be intentional in finding little ways to bless him. Simple things like measuring and marking the wall to hang a picture, so that all he has to do is drill holes blesses him. Cooking a meal he can return to at the end of a long day of ministry recharges him. As we transition into new roles in our ministry, I’m excited to find ways to serve Josh. Some of the things Josh will be involved weekly at MCM are reading groups, small group English discussions, and some creative arts instruction. As a teacher these are in my wheelhouse and make me excited for our ministry ahead. I’m excited to serve Josh, as well as the MCM students, by planning activities, read-alouds, skits and songs to be used in weekly instruction. My prayer as Josh and I transition into our new routine of ministry is that the Lord opens my eyes to see Josh’s “gaps” so that I can serve him by meeting his needs in both life and ministry. It’s an exciting time and I’m so thankful I have the wonderful role of wife.
Merribrooke’s Reads: What’s It Like to Be Married to Me? by Linda Dillow is one of my all time favorite books on marriage. If you’d like to learn more about the significance of encouraging your husband, playing with your husband and filling his gaps I strongly suggest reading this book. It’s a game changer!