This is the second part to this post. The first is available here
Actually, with my big dreams about life etc (and my belief in the power of prayer!) it occurred to me that it would be very easy for me to fall into this temptation. Thankfully the Spirit of God worked in me to open my eyes to this, and to realise that I must not do this by any means.
A practical example:
Let’s say for example that I have always dreamt of a man who is phenomenally ambitious, like me (and I have!) And then along comes a man, and we believe God leads us to get married. However he might not be ambitious like me. In fact he might not be ambitious in the slightest. This is why it is very important to make sure that the marriage is from God in the first place. If our marriage is of God, and yet my husband personally rejects ambition for his own life, then I have to make sure I don’t try to push him to demonstrate ambition even though ambition is what I have always expected from my husband.
Rather my aim as a wife would be to support him in what he does aspire to be, and what he does dream of for his life.
A wife as a glass ceiling?
I have previously written at some length about how a husband might act as a glass ceiling over an ambitious wife. However, in thinking about this post here it occurred to me that a wife might function in exactly the same way. It might be that in trying to force your husband into the direction where you want him to go, you effectively prevent him from getting where he himself dreams of getting. In short, you are a glass ceiling.
I cannot say this enough – I am saying it primarily to myself to try to grasp the point: If God has endorsed this marriage then the person to whom God wants me to be married is the man that God has created him to be, and within that the man that he wants to be, not the man that I would twist after my own inclinations.
It may happen that the marriage has not been endorsed by God. This might be the case if we get married without the clear leading of God, or if either of us is not in an appropriate position spiritually. In that case this whole thing might be very difficult because our two natures might be naturally incompatible. However, even in that case we would still have to struggle through, compromise, and pray very hard – like any other marriage!
Who he wants to be in Christ
It may be that what my husband wants for himself is not in line with standard Christian character, or with God’s standards as outlined in the Bible. That is, he may want something to which God has specifically said “No”. In this case, my duty would be to gently and lovingly direct him to the standards of Christ. (However, considering my scathing blog posts on a number of subjects (often on my other blog, Tosin’s Bible Blog) I guess anyone would be entitled to doubt my ability to achieve this in a “gentle and loving” way, especially in the heat of an argument…)
I recently wrote a little jokingly about the idea of prayer as manipulation. I wrote it jokingly because at the time to me it was a ludicrous idea.
I knew then as I know now that it is impossible to manipulate God – via prayer or any other means. He is God after all – He is big, He can see right through any particular one of us, He can see right into our hearts – it simply is not going to happen.
Manipulating your spouse?
However, since the time that I wrote that post, it has occurred to me that yes, it is possible to use prayer in tandem with manipulating your spouse. One easy example would be if you pray out loud for your spouse in front of your spouse, and use your prayers to let them know what you want them to be. I actually know someone who habitually does this in prayer, and it is as irritating as it is transparent.
However, even if my spouse is not present while I am praying for him, it can be that when I pray something for him in line with my own personal desires, I let that spill over into my interaction with him, and I give the unspoken message that he is not good enough if he does not correspond to my desires in this issue…
That would be so wrong. Once we are married, the only thing he has to do to be “good enough” is to just be himself, with his own particular mix of characteristics, with his own particular strengths and failings.
Instead of doing this in my prayer, of saying “God, please make him like this!”, my attitude should be that God should reveal who God wants him to be, so that I can pray in line with that. I should also be open to his dreams that he expresses about himself, and ask him how he wishes me to support him in these dreams…and then go off to pray about his response. If he and I both know that we are going off to pray sincerely for one another then hopefully this will help us to be more open and trusting and sincere with one another.
So then, even though this is quite different from what I have always thought of and expected in marriage, this is actually so exciting! God has huge plans for all our lives. In terms of my husband it will be amazing to see who he could be in God, and it will be amazing to support him as he gets there – as we get there together, supporting one another in God’s plans for our individual lives, as well as God’s plans for our marriage! It is like an exciting journey of exploration, looking at this incredible, handsome and exciting man that God has given me, and wondering what new depths to him will be revealed today, tomorrow, this month or this year. I can be confident that if it remains within God, it will be good. Perhaps it will be deeply challenging at times, but ultimately it will be good.
Having written this post I am feeling so excited now! Frankly Mr Huggie-Wuggie I wish you would hurry up and turn up so that I could tell you this in the flesh: “You fascinate me in all that you are and all that you could be…and I believe in you Baby!”
Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
Digital sunflower image by Geralt on Pixabay