Yesterday, I attended my first women’s bible study meeting discussing For Women Only. (In case you missed it, here’s why I chose this study.) We watched a short video from the author recapping some key points from the week, then we dove into discussing each day’s content. Most studies like this have 5 days of ‘homework,’ which seems to be about the perfect amount for me because somehow time runs out a couple days of the week.
The foundational concept of the week was “Men would rather feel unloved than inadequate and disrespected. Men most need respect.” Even though I’ve always known that men value respect, it never hit home quite like it did this week.
“To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
Respect, by definition, is elicited by abilities, qualities or achievements. As women, we tend to think the most defining characteristic in a relationship is love, but that’s because we are only looking at it from our feminine viewpoint and how we prefer to feel. Since the beginning, the roles of men and women, and accordingly the utmost values of each sex, have differed. God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend to it (Genesis 2:7-8, 15), while Eve was created as Adam’s helper. So Adam was created with a sense of task and purpose from the beginning, which explains a lot about why men desire respect for their abilities and achievements.
The study this week brought to light ways that I disrespect my husband without even realizing it. In one day’s homework, I had to recall a time that I was disrespectful or conveyed a lack of trust in my husband. I’m sure I nag him about random things, but I realized I am a constant offender of questioning his ability (sometimes verbally but often in my head) to care for the boys when I’m gone.
It’s not that I don’t think he loves them and cares about them just as much as I do, but it’s that I’m Mama. I’m the one who’s accustomed to multitasking by watching the boys, cooking dinner and folding a load of laundry all at the same time. I’m the one who’s learned how to wrangle two independent boys in public so that they are both safe at all times. I’m the one with the super power of having eyes in the back of my head and always knowing what they’re getting into. I’m Mama; it’s my job.
So as I vowed to work on trusting my husband with caring for the boys (because when baby Scarlett gets here they’ll be hanging out with Daddy even more) and let go of a tiny bit of mom control, apparently God really wanted to drive this point home for me. The very next morning, as I was headed to open up my husband’s gym for a morning class (and actually work out myself!), my husband declared that he was taking the boys to a nearby park with a beach on the lake while I was gone.
Cue the bulging eyes and stifled cough. But I held my tongue, said OK and helped to pack them a beach bag and lather on sunscreen before they hopped in the car. If you’re a mom, you may know that the most common drowning victims are two year old boys. So my stomach was clenched with worry as I said a quick prayer of protection for the boys. As soon as they had left the driveway, my mother in law happened to call and I asked her to say a quick prayer for their safety. She then told me that she thinks God gives husbands special protection when they’re caring for their kids, and you know what, I think she’s right.
After I closed up the gym, I texted James to tell him I was heading home, and he responded back that the lake beach had closed the day before on Labor Day so they had to settle for playing at the nearby park.
Immediately, I felt a huge weight lifted as I learned the boys were safe. And soon after, I just had to smile because God knew what he was doing all along. At 32 years old and being a mom for 2.5 years so far, he’s still teaching and training me every day.
I think back to a month ago when I almost dismissed taking this study because I wanted to focus on myself and not my husband and I just shake my head at my own singlemindedness. Already, I am learning how to better show my husband respect and trust while relinquishing a bit of control. If that’s all I take away from this study, I’ll consider it worth it.