Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tale of Two Ladies

White Wall Clock
 Can I tell you a story?  Once upon a time, there was a woman who thought she had it all together.  She was responsible, organized and punctual.  She knew that if everyone would just do things her way, her whole family would be better off.  Somehow, though, it never ended up that way.  Every Sunday morning she directed her husband; she told him when to get dressed, how to pack the diaper bag, and what to do with the children while she put her own clothes on, took care of breakfast, and washed little faces.  Instead of the household running like a well-oiled machine, her family was bitter and resentful.  More often than not, they rode to church in uncomfortable silence.  The young mother couldn't figure out what was wrong.  Didn't she know best?  
Does that story sound at all familiar?  How about this one.  Once upon a time there was a mother who had twin boys.  Her younger son was a joy to her.  He stayed close to home as he was growing up, and he made choices his mother approved of.  Her older son was more of a trial to her.  Hunting was his favorite activity, so he never had time for his mother.  As an adult, he married the least appropriate woman he could find. Unfortunately for mom, the older son was also the favored of their father.  So when it came time for the older son to receive the traditional blessing, the mother knew she would not be able to persuade her husband to give the blessing to her favorite.  However, she was sure that she knew best, so she concocted a plan. 

If you've read Genesis 27, you know what happens next.  Rebekah uses Isaac's eyesight against him to trick him into blessing Jacob instead of Esau.  Instead of making things right, though, her deception destroyed her family.  Her husband was angry at her.  Jacob had to flee to avoid the murderous rage of his brother.  Esau realized how much his parents hated his marriage to Canaanite women and married another one simply to spite them (Genesis 28:6-9).  Rebekah was left bereft of her favorite son because she thought she knew best.

I'm slowly learning that submitting to my husband means that I don't always know best.  This is a hard admission for an oldest daughter control freak to make. What was even harder to learn is that sometimes being right isn't the most important thing.  Sometimes letting my husband know that he is the man, and I will follow him are more important.   Unless he is leading my family into sin (unlikely), following his lead more often leads to peace than to chaos.  

The fact is, my husband does lose track of time.  He just doesn't have a clock in his head like I do, so I've come up with a new strategy.  I simply tell him what time it is in a kind way. (Translation: no nagging).  In this way, I can be a help to him without trying to take the reins away.  After all, my job is to be a helpmeet. I can be a much bigger help by being kind than by trying to direct his every action.

I have one more story.  A few weeks ago, we had a busy evening planned.  We were going to Sam's club.  Okay, that may not sound so busy, but it was a school night, Sam's is 20 minutes away, and we have three children to take!  We usually save "big trips" like that for the weekend. My husband called to say he would be working late.  I didn't freak out.  He came home and suggested we still carry out our plans.  I didn't think it was a good idea, but I followed his lead. Guess what?  Everything worked out fine! We got our shopping done and still had time for supper and bathtime before getting the children to bed at a decent hour.  Perhaps these examples of "timing" seem trivial to you.  Maybe they are, but they have been a source of frequent frustration in our home because of my attitude.  I thought I knew best, so I tried to lead the family.  Instead, I caused problems.  When I let my husband take the lead in every area, not just the big ones, we are much happier.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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