The heart of her husband…the heart of her husband. Five little words that in themselves do not form a sentence…they are but a fragment of something bigger, yet those parts to a bigger whole, words that dig holes….and stay a while, or search for a home….or tunnel down deep in order to get to the other side….that’s what they were doing….the heart of her husband…trusts in her…those parts, they just kept digging until they became a prayer in sync with my breath. Teach me, Lord, would you teach me about the heart of my husband?
It was quiet in our bedroom the other night. There were no announcers talking about the British Open, or background noise from a giant crowd mixed with shrill squeaking of rubber soles on polished wood. My soul was sinking into the word of God by lamplight as my body sunk a bit deeper into my well indented side of the bed. The goose was next to me…where he always was. Nothing had ever separated us in 21 years. Grace. “Where are you?” Without taking my eyes off the page, I answered, “Ephesians.” “What part of Ephesians?” Quietly pondering where this conversation might be being sovereignly led, I said, “I’m reading and praying through Epehsians 1.” Another question from the goose, “What do you pray about?” More pondering…. I could answer in a short brushing him off sort of way in order to get back to my reading, or I could let him in to what was stirring so deeply within me. Could I let him in…there? The place that longs and yearns and pants and feels crushed with a soul thirsty craving that my partner in life could never satisfy? Was never meant to? Was it safe? What would he say? Could I share my innermost thoughts, passions, emotions, and ache with him? That ache that I didn’t even know existed before I met Someone else? Could I really let him in there? I decided to let him in…”I can’t get over His grace. When I read I can’t get over that I was chosen before the foundation of the world! I have to stop and pray every few words...”I love Jesus so much…so very much. He lavishes grace and love on us!! It’s too much sometimes. I can’t get over that He would choose to lavish such grace on us. I ache for more of him, like deep in my bones, I can feel it. When I pray there are always tears. He leads me to repentance and I just always want to be in His presence. It’s like fresh rain, or a sweet and heavy holiness I can’t understand but instinctively know is there. I’m not afraid. I want to know Him more and more. I’m so in love. You know I’m in love with Him, right?” the words just sort of spilled out and rolled along and bumped into one another….Quiet hesitation, and then another question, “Yeah, I know. That’s not going to affect our marriage is it?” “What? Me being in Love with Jesus? No! It will only make our marriage better, it can only make me love you more!” “It’s hard following Christ, Trish.” “I know, but in a way it’s simple, He promises his burden is easy and His yoke is light.
So there it was, I had let him in…I had been asking God to teach me about my husband’s heart. When we last met here, I had been hoping to start blogging about God’s non-negotiable instructions to women regarding our husbands, children and households given to us in Titus 2 and Proverbs 31. The first verses that parallel one another within those instructions have to do with the heart of our husband, and I needed to learn more. So I began to pray, “Lord, teach me about the heart of my husband.” I don’t think there was any coincidence why we entered into such an intimate conversation that night. In God’s mysterious and intricately woven way of answering prayer, soveriegn love was stirring and connecting two hearts in the beauty of holiness and wonder. But how does this coincide with Titus 2 and Proverbs 31? It has been said and passed down from one generation of women to the next that the way to to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Now I love cooking for my husband and family and friends. I experience sheer joy in full and satisfied bellies. I love nourishing their bodies this way. My heart rejoices when all the college kid can think about is coming home to her mama’s home-cooking. What a privilege to bless my loved ones this way, yet I can assure you, the way to your husband’s heart is not through his stomach, but through Christ and Christ alone. So we must start there. We cannot love our husband’s in a way that glorifies God unless we return to our first love in Christ. How will the heart of our husband trust in us if we are not daily seeking and pursuing Christ and His authority in our lives? How will we even know what that means, unless we desire to know Christ above all else? You see, it is vitally important that we understand that Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 are so much more than rules to follow. When joyously applied within the context of pursuing to know Christ, they become a language of love flowing from our hearts first to our God, and then to those God has directly blessed us with.
The heart is mentioned over and over in Scripture, and is defined in the Hebrew as the “inner man, the seat of appetites and emotions, passions, the soul, mind, understanding, resolution and determination, thinking, reflection, memory, friendly, comfortably and care.” Wow. That is a lot to think about for sure when we are being mindful of our husband’s heart. But how mysteriously beautiful and wonderful that through pursuing God, he may lead us to deeper intimacy with our husband’s as we get to know their hearts? However, I cannot stress enough that this can only come through knowing and pursuing Christ and “adorning the gospel” in our marriages. To “adorn” literally means to “wear” and to put on display. I once read it was like decorating a Christmas tree with beautiful ornaments and brilliant lights. So we must take great care in living out the gospel in our marriages and ask ourselves, “Are we putting on display the fruit of the Spirit written to us in Galatians 5:19-22, in our relationships? Are we living out love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control? To get practical, how is the attitude of your heart when your husband asks you to do something for him that you see as an inconvenience? Do you roll your eyes as I often have? Do you immediately think, “what has he done for me lately? Doesn’t he see how much I do for him already?” Do you hesitate in your answer or answer with a tone of irritation? Or is your heart willing to serve in the attitude of serving Christ? Are you thanking God daily for the gift of your husband even when he feels more like a burden than a gift? Are you regularly praying for him? For him to love the Lord with all of his heart and lead his family well? Are you trusting in God’s sovereignty even when he doesn’t? Are you trusting in His sovereignty even when your children are grown and he hasn’t led in the way you have desired? How can the heart of our husband’s trust in us, if we don’t trust in the sovereignty of God and have no fear of our future, like the Proverbs 31 woman? So much more I intend to write about dear one….but for now, some thoughts: We must handle with greatest care the heart of our husbands as we look to the only One Who holds our hearts and knows our hearts, both ours and our husbands. We will never know everything there is to know about our husband’s heart, for only God can know that, but before I sign off, think and pray through the meaning of the word “heart” in scripture. Remember these words as you reflect on these questions and intentionally pray through them: courage, emotions, soul, mind, understanding, thinking, reflection, memory, friendly, comfortably, care. Are we helping our husband’s in a way that promotes courage to lead within them? Are we helping them control their emotions by not provoking them or manipulating them with our tendencies to be over- sensitive or demanding our own way? Are we praying for their soul, especially if they are unbelievers? Are we praying about godly conversations that encourage quiet reflection and understanding and in turn lead to growth in the marriage? Are our husband’s comfortable with us? Do they feel safe with us in order that they don’ have to worry about being attacked or torn down? Are we trusting God and letting them lead even when we think our way is better? Are we letting them into our hearts as we adorn the gospel….desiring more than anything to show them our love for Christ, and in so doing loving them as Christ loved us? Do we lavish grace on them when they have wronged us? Or do we withhold in some form of punishment? Do we withhold affection? Conversation? Serving? But understand, it is never about doing things better, but loving Christ more…if we get this…if we aim for this….then may our husband’s hearts become a place where we invest and the world catches a glimpse of an invisible God….