"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (King James----version that Kirk used).
"In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered." (NLT ---version that we are currently reading from).
Kirk basically took this verse and broke it down one word at a time, explaining the role of a husband in a Christ-centered marriage.
- Dwell with them---Spend time together. INVEST time in each other. Do LIFE TOGETHER. To be good at something, it takes practice...it TAKES TIME! A great marriage isn't contagious. You don't catch it from someone else. A great marriage comes about from doing life together. NOTHING is wrong with having separate hobbies, but they CAN NOT take precedence over marriage. You need to CRAVE time together more than you CRAVE time apart. Time together matters more than anything else on your "to-do" list of responsibilities.
- Knowledge---KNOW your spouse. Became a student of her. Learn everything you can know about her. Remember how you hung on to every word and action when you were dating because you JUST HAD to know all about her. Rekindle that same interest. Know what she likes. Know what she hates. Know what is meaningful to her. Know what fires her up----both in negative ways and good ways. Know when to approach her. Know her enough to know when she needs space and when she needs extra tenderness. Know what MEANS something to her. Remember that romance comes from sacrifice and thought----not from convenience. Your wife KNOWS the difference.
- Honor---Respect your wife. Show her how much you honor HER and your VOWS. Walk away from any and all forms of pornography. Don't watch movies that even show a hint of disrespect to your wife in the forms of nudity, sexual immorality, etc.... (He spoke about how the final kiss in Fireproof was with his WIFE done in shadow because it was honoring his vows to not even kiss another actress.) When the guys start telling jokes, demeaning women in any form, or start commenting lustfully about another woman----WALK AWAY! It is being honoring of your wife and respecting her to not take part in any such conversations. Treasure her! Treat her with respect publicly and privately.
- Weaker vessel---recognize that though she is weaker in regards to the human body, she is NOT intellectually weak! Protect her always. God wired your wife to feel safe under YOUR protection. Physically protect her. Emotionally protect her. If you travel away from home, make sure she knows that you have made safeguards for her in the forms of neighbors checking in, security system, phone calls, etc.... It's not just in the terms of physical protection. Protect her in the every day stuff. Manage your aggression in conflict. Make sure she is always safe with you. Safe to be herself and safe to share her innermost thoughts. Meet her with unconditional love and acceptance. Constantly be ready to ask your wife, "Do you feel save with me?" If she honestly answers no, then be willing to meet her needs of being the protection in the way she needs.
- Heirs together of the grace of life----you MUST open up. You can't be a closed book. To be heirs together, you have to intimately share ALL aspects of you. Your wife WANTS to know you. Your wife does care about what you are thinking.
- Prayers not be hindered---How many times have you felt like your prayers are "stuck", that God is not hearing you? Generally, the hindrance in praying is because you are missing something in parts 1-5. To be fruitful in praying, you have to be fulfilling the first parts of the verse.
Though Kirk specifically spoke "man-to-man" to all of the men in the building, he still reached me. I don't know how all of the other women in the room felt. I can only speak for myself and what was going on in my heart. I admit that when he first started talking and instructing the men that I was going to be wanting to shout "amen", "preach it", "that's right!", "told you so!" or any of those other finger wagging, head nodding moments! Without a doubt he did hit on some areas that Kevin and I know that he needs to work on, but that is beside the point. What matters is what was going on in my heart. It didn't take very long for me to feel convicted in my own actions and heart matters.
For Kevin to be the God-designed husband he needs to be, I HAVE TO BE THE WOMAN OF GOD He designed me to be! It's not all on Kevin's shoulders. Yes, he is designed to be the spiritual leader of the home. However, failure can't be pointed directly at him when things are falling apart. (Neither can victory be celebrated alone!) You see, Kirk didn't point out the first 6 verses in that chapter and speak about them. He could have spoke hours about the needs of wives to live out Proverbs 31. Just as much as God requires of the men, he requires that of the women as well. We, as wives, have huge responsibilities as well!
Though there are plenty of verses telling us wives how to act, I have been thinking constantly about the verse he spoke from. It may have been instructions for the men, but I've been thinking about my responsibility in those instructions.
For Kevin to meet the needs of 1-5, so that prayers aren't hindered and our marriage is strong, I have responsibilities as well. I have to make our home a place he WANTS to dwell. I have to be worth WANTING to know. I have to be willing to SHARE the knowledge he needs to know about me. He isn't going to read my mind. I have to show respect to him and in all situations. I have to make him feel safe enough to be an open book with me. Protection is a two way street. Though I physically can't protect him, I can protect his heart. I can be HIS safe haven against the world. Let's face it----the world is a HARD place for Godly men to live in. They are bombarded every instant with declining values and immorality. I have the responsibility to make our home the place that he is most accepted, valued, and treasured. I constantly think about the saying that has sparked so much growth in our marriage: "A woman's heart should be so immersed in God that her husband has to seek Him first to find HER!"
The burden of responsibility of an extraordinary marriage doesn't fall directly on the shoulders of the husband. It's a team effort. He needs to be doing what God is asking of him and I need to be doing what God is asking of me. Together, focused on God, is where the marriage is beautiful. Two truly become one. Marriage becomes the beautiful blessing He ordained it to be. It doesn't come any other way.
Hard to do? Absolutely!
Worth it? Without a doubt.
Give up? NEVER!
Love is worth fighting for.
Love IS worth fighting for.
LOVE is worth fighting for.
Love is worth FIGHTING for.
Love is WORTH fighting for.