3.29.2014

May I be found faithful in this pursuit!

I have read these verses many times when working my way through the book of Proverbs. Sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they remind me to check myself, and sometimes they flat out convict me.  Thankfully, it is rare that I must repent after reading them.  Now.  In the early days of our marriage?  It was often - and embarrassing.

A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Proverbs 19:13

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.  Proverbs 21:19

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  Proverbs 25:24

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand.  Proverbs 27:15-16

I love John Mac's notes: "An obstinate, argumentative woman is literally like a leak so unrelenting that one has to run from it or go mad."  HA!  I am sure there are many men who have felt this same inclination to run away from a nagging wife!  Oh, how foolish we can be, when all we need to do is take our frustrations to the Lord and trust Him to work out the details.

Our husbands are not perfect, and neither are we.  Two sinners living in the same house, both desiring their own way, choosing to serve the other one day, and self the next.  Communicating differently, carrying different burdens and hurts, needing to be loved in different ways, the husband craving respect while the wife craves tenderness and love.  
How very much we need the Lord to help us love one another according to I Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I remember when we were first married - we had nicknames for each other.
Not "sugarplum" or "love muffin" or "sweet cheeks" ... nope!
We created names that we could use to hold one another accountable when we were speaking or behaving in an unbecoming way.  Something that would declare, "You are not honoring me right now!" without drawing attention or embarrassing either of us.
My word for Dennis was "Truck Driver" which told him that he was being harsh and brutish and need to become a gentleman again. 
He would exclaim, "Michelle, do you hear that DRIPPING sound?"
We said this quietly and discreetly, of course, since everyone in the room would have searched for the leaking faucet or asked when Dennis started driving trucks.  <grin>
It seems comical now, but boy was it helpful in those early days when we were struggling to be the husband and wife God intended us to be!

The verses about a dripping wife are convicting - what woman wants to be compared to an annoying drip?!?
But look at the contrast found in the same book of Proverbs as it relates to a wife that is lovely and desirable:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.  Proverbs 18:22

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband ...  Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife who can find?
  She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
  and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
  all the days of her life.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
  her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
  but you surpass them all.”  Proverbs 31

Marriage is not effortless.  Considering our spouse's needs above our own is not natural.  Marriage is a CHOICE.  A daily choice.  To love, honor, respect, submit to, and serve one another.
A husband is to love his wife the way Jesus Christ loves His church - His people.
A wife is to respect her husband and submit to him in all things.
And when both seek to obey the Lord in their personal pursuit of godliness, marriage can seem effortless because it is no longer a man and a woman striving in their own strength, but two children seeking to honor their Father - and then enjoying the blessings of their obedience.

I have been an obnoxious DRIP more times than I can count in our twenty years of marriage.  But praise the Lord for His patience with me as He gently and consistently tinkered with the faucet so the constant drip became a sporadic one. 
Now, instead of trying to get my way, or prove that I am right, my desire is to be a wife that makes Dennis proud to say, "She is MINE!"
I will fail, I have no doubt about this truth.  My flesh will seek its own way again, and my husband will feel the pain of it.
But as each years fade away, my desire to be right is replaced with a desire to hear Dennis say, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Oh, Lord!  May I be found faithful in this pursuit!

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