All posts tagged Marriage

Letting Go Of Supermom: You Can’t Be There For Everything!

Working Mom's Devotional

Supermom never misses anything.  She’s at every ballet recital, baseball practice, and school function.  Never mind that she has multiple schedules to juggle, a demanding career, and a full social calendar.  Everything always works out perfectly.  Important events are never scheduled simultaneously, she’s never out-of-town on business at the wrong time, and she never misses a birthday, anniversary, or holiday function with her family. 

I am so not Supermom. Continue reading →

Why Do I Have To Do It All?

Working Mom's Devotional

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself on Easter morning.  I stayed up late Saturday night filling Easter baskets and hiding eggs.  I got up early to make everyone breakfast, and I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off to make sure we were ready for church by 9:00 a.m.  As I rushed the family out to the car, I screamed at my husband, “Why don’t you help me?  Can’t you see that I can’t do it all?” Continue reading →

Who Wears The Pants – And Who Irons Them?

Men pants

“Trying to blend two personalities in a marriage is hard enough, but when you both work – and especially when the wife earns more than her husband – you’ve got a potential disaster on your hands.”

In Work, Love, Pray, Diane Paddison hits the nail on the head.  Dual career families are complex.  And when the rubber hits the road, dividing up household responsibilities can be tricky – especially when both spouses work outside the home.  Should the wife take full responsibility for household duties, just because she is a “woman”?  Is her husband less suited to contribute inside the home, even if she earns more than he?  Is a “woman’s work” primarily inside the home?

You can probably guess where I come out on these issues!  As a wife, working mom and lawyer, I rely heavily on my husband to “hold down the fort” when I’m running to court or hopping on an airplane.  No, it’s not easy, and Diane fully recognizes the complexity of modern working families – a dynamic inadequately addressed in many Christian communities. 

Rather than starting a debate or getting defensive, Diane steps back and takes a reality check.  The fact of the matter is most women are working outside the home in growing numbers.  And most collage educated men (some 71% – as compared to 37% in 1970) are married to college educated women.  We are living and working in a different world than other mothers and grandmothers.  Which means we have some issues to tackle:

  • Who makes the financial decisions in your marriage?
  • Do you have separate or joint checking accounts?
  • How should you divide household chores?
  • Does your husband feel valued and appreciated, even if he isn’t the breadwinner?

Work, Love, Pray doesn’t present easy answers to these questions.  More importantly, it starts a dialogue.  A dialogue that doesn’t draw lines in the sand or throw stones.  A dialogue that gives practical examples and insight.  A dialogues that encourages us to play to our strengths and approach marriage as a team – with joint stewardship as the goal, not gender stereotypes.

How do you go about serving your spouse while dividing up household responsibilities?  Should gender play any role?  Whether you’re married or single, how can the Christian community can better address modern families?

[Continue the discussion with me at the 4Word Book Club.]

Faking The Pain (Part 3 of 4)

I was having coffee with a friend who is struggling in her marriage.  I mean really struggling.  Yet she’s figured out how to get by. 

What’s her secret?  She’s given up all expectations in the relationship. 

“Marriage is about managing expectations.  If I expect nothing from him, at least I’m not disappointed.  I am so tired of opening myself up, only to be hurt again.”

I wonder, is she faking the pain?

While I don’t want to discount her pain – and I know firsthand that unrealistic expectations (or even reasonable expectations) can cause more hurt and pain when people disappoint us – I’m just not ready to subscribe to the theory that one can “manage” pain by giving up hope.

Numb the pain?  Maybe.

Ok, I realize there are seasons when we’re in survival mode – when numbing the pain is the best we can do.  But hear me out.  Have we missed the boat on this whole “pain management” theory?

We say things like, “People are always going to disappoint me.  I only need God to make me happy.”  We marginalize our relationships with other people so the pain doesn’t hurt as much.  We put up walls.  We pretend it doesn’t hurt.  Then, we tell ourselves we are spiritually mature for “managing expectations.”

Is this the best we can do?  Doesn’t God have something better in mind?  And hasn’t he put us in relationship with other people – people who will give us joy, hope, and even pain?

While expectations can kill, life without hope is sterile.  Lifeless.  Sure, I’ve heard it said, “Hope is in God.  Expectations are in other people.”  But in practical terms, the lines are a bit gray.  Which is why I’m constantly struggling to balance these two seemingly competing sisters:  Hope and Expectation. 

How do you reconcile the two?

Stuck Or Strong?

Abigail is one of my favorite women of the Bible.  (After all, I named my third born after her!)

I am struck by Abigail for the following reasons:  1)  Abigail’s lousy situation;  2)  Abigail’s brave response; and 3)  God’s ultimate provision.

1)  Abigail’s lousy situation.

Abigail is smart and beautiful, but she’s (unfortunately) married to a jerk.  Samuel describes it like this.
“She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband [Nabal] was surly and mean in all his dealings.”  (v.3)

We can assume that Nabal was likewise a jerk to Abigail.  Was he always a jerk, or did he turn mean after they married?  We’ll never know.  What we do know is that she was stuck in a bad situation that was about to get worse.

Nabal was so stubborn and stingy that he wouldn’t even compensate David for protecting his property.  This angered David, who vowed he would not “leave one male alive of all who belong to him!” (v. 22)

In other words, destruction would soon descend on the house of Nabal.  One of Nabal’s servants warned Abigail the evening before David’s army would attack, pleading with her to take action.

What’s a woman to do when her husband won’t respond to the voice of reason, and she knows her household is about to be destroyed?

2)  Abigail’s brave response.

“Abigail lost no time.” (v. 18)  She takes matters into her own hands.  While Nabal is unaware and drunk, she packs up food and gifts and rides on her donkey to meet David.

She puts herself in harm’s way – she pleads for peace when David and his men are ready to fight.
And she doesn’t just act.  She takes responsibility for her entire household.

“My lord, let the blame be on me alone.  Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.  May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal.  He is just like his name – his name is Fool and folly goes with him.”  (v. 25)

Notice what Abigail doesn’t do. 

She doesn’t make excuses for Nabal or pretend that everything is “fine.”  She also doesn’t say, “There’s nothing I can do, my household is doomed.”

She also doesn’t try try to harm Nabal.  Don’t think it didn’t cross her mind!  Maybe she thought about poisoning him in his sleep.  She doesn’t even plead to God, “Strike my husband dead!” 

Instead, she influences the situation for good.  She looks at where she can make a difference.  She acts swiftly and decisively. 

3)  God’s ultimate provision.

Did Abigail honor God with her actions?  I think she did.  She acted with grace and honor and left the results to God.

God likewise honored Abigail.

After Abigail saved the day (and Nabal sobered up) she went back and told Nabal what had happened.  He had a heart attack.  Ten days later, he died.

You guessed it, when David learned of Nabal’s death, he “sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.”  (v. 40)

Did Abigail live happily ever after?  I don’t know exactly.  But I do know that God provided for her in her time of need. 

******

I don’t know your situation.  It might be lousy.  But learn from Abigail and use your influence for good.  Instead of an attitude that says, I’m stuck, there’s nothing I can do, Abigail teaches us that, even in the midst of what appears to be a hopeless situation, we can act in faith.  Instead of being stuck, we can be strong.

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