At the moment I am writing this, my thoughts are swirling in my head about this topic and the distractions are…distracting me. It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and while I sit here and try to sort out my thoughts my husband and boys are outside my window tossing a football around. I have a stack of note cards with information I have studied on “gentleness”, I have my first 9 days printed and ready for a editing. As I’m typing this my baby boy comes in says “hi momma”, hugs me and leaves to go back out. My carpal tunnel is acting up. I put some oils in my diffuser and turn on a “thunderstorm” as a white noise and begin.
When I think of gentleness I think of a new mother touching her baby’s cheek for the first time. I think of a stranger feeding a homeless man on the street in a subtle way that goes unnoticed. I think of a nurse who leans in to an elderly patient and speaks loving words of strength. I think of a daddy reading a Bible story to his children after tucking them in at night.
You see, gentleness is the hallmark necessary for Christian unity. It’s that type of gentleness that can bind us all together even in times of turmoil or distress.
Read 2 Samuel 22:36
What does David say has made him great? God’s__________________.
Our God is gentle. Ephesians 4:1-3
How do these 3 verses apply to your walk today?
Yesterday, I took a break from writing and worked on some things on my blog that have needed tweaking for a while. During my break from research and writing it left a little place for the devil to find a foothold in order to whisper doubt about this study. I heard words like…
What makes you think you are worthy?
Why does anyone need to listen to you?
Did you and your husband go to bed with hurt feelings last night because actions and words?
Why are you wasting your time?
Then I sat down with every distraction, with a voice telling me not to bother and I prayed. The song “Let it Rain” was playing and I pray even now that God rains His blessings down on this study. This is not about me in any way. I do not seek to profit from this study. I only wish to spend this time serving God has He has directed me to do. Until the day I die I will be learning how to love my husband because my love is so imperfect. God’s gentleness in leading me back to my work here and keeping me humble so that I can bear to do His work and not my own. I pray that as you read this you know that all is being done to keep a unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…within your marriage.
The Greek word prautēs means both “gentleness” and “meekness” the word that refers to a humble, submissive attitude that is the opposite of pride. It is strength that is submitted to God and channeled into service for others.
You see, God knew I would need this lesson for myself today and He allowed the devil to sift my thoughts to bring forth that doubt so that He could put it away for good.
Matthew 11:29 demonstrates just how much our sweet Jesus was gentle and lowly. Don’t get me wrong, when necessary He could turn a few tables over in His day but to those who believed and sought after Him, those who needed Him most whom He could speak life into, He was gentle and lowly. He gives us true rest.
Read 2 Corinthians 10:1
Paul writes about how hard it is to live up to this characteristic when you don’t stay close to Christ. What word does he use to describe how he acts towards others when he is not with Christ?
Read Colossians 3:12
The Bible says that we are to “put on” certain characteristics. Put on meaning that we wear them like a robe. Why do we need those things? What is Paul talking about here?
In contrast with putting to death their old sinful natures, Christians are told to “put on” (Gk. enduō) qualities of mercy, kindness, humility, and love (the agape kind). These things bind Christians, who can only receive those things “in Christ”, in an unbreakable fellowship.
Why is that so important? Why must Christians be so gentle with each other?
How does this translate to our marriage?
The quality of the heart is counted as being more influential than outward beauty in wining an unbelieving husband to Christ (1 Peter 3:1-4). The gentleness of a woman towards her husband is precious to God. I am not always gentle nor have a heart of gold.
A lesson I am always learning is that God is perfect, I am not. I am not, they are not, and this world is not but He is!
Throughout the years I have found that any unhappiness in my marriage truly came from having unrealistic expectations. Maybe the reason I had to wait until today to work on this study was not only that God needed to sift me and bring my doubt to the surface and He needed to “gently” show me that my expectations were the source of much of my own doubt and misery.
I have this dreamy idea in my head that when my husband is home on the weekends that we are like kids again, we are laughing, loving, and listening. The reality this weekend was that we had to be at two rainy football games in two different cities for 2 different boys at 2 different times. We had to part ways. We came home like drowned rats and sat on 2 different couches. I cooked dinner while he sat with an ice pack for his back that’s been bothering him and all the while I tried every way from Sunday to get him in the kitchen with me. By bedtime I was resentful he never left the couch except to come to the dinner table and then when bedtime came had his own expectations if you catch my drift. I pulled the covers up over me, laid facing the edge of the bed, and tried to pretend to be asleep. It didn’t work. In the end I told him what was bothering me and he said, “Let me go ahead and tell you that tomorrow may not be much different so go ahead and lower your expectations. That way you won’t be so disappointed.” Ouch! He was right. He wasn’t gentle about it but he was right. My expectations were unrealistic, as dreamy as they are, they just aren’t realistic in my house. The huge disappointing reality was that when we put our own unrealistic expectations with those of our spouse it can get pretty overwhelming. We have to remember that our loved ones are not perfect, but that our God is. Having a gentle spirit towards our spouses could resolve many of those expectations.
Read Deuteronomy 32:3-4
Soak that in and then read the next two versions.
No one is perfect, only God is. I have really got to give my husband a break.
Have you expected your husband to live up to your expectations? To fill you up? Make you whole? To keep a promise? To respond to your requests? To be your Savior?
As gentle as I can be, here is the truth. They can’t. They were not created for any of those purposes.
God gives you the grace every day to be free of unrealistic expectations – theirs and yours. You can stop being hard on yourself for not being the “perfect wife” and stop being hard on your husband for not meeting your unrealistic expectations. Romans 12:2 here girls! We are learning here I know.
Read Philippians 4:5
Why is it so important that you be gentle with your husband? Why is it also important to release him of your unrealistic expectations?
I am praying and hopeful that you, my sister, have not only resolved to give your husband a break but to also give yourself one as well. Choose to be gentle with yourself and with him. Something I want you to do is write on a piece of paper every unrealistic expectation you have for yourself and your husband. As you write each one I pray you feel the weight of them lifted off. See, our Jesus does not expect you to carry all of that. When you are finished with your list say these things words and throw it away.
Dear Father, as I pray now at the feet of Jesus, I declare before the cross that I lay down all of my unrealistic expectations for myself and my husband. My husband was created just like me to need a Savior and only You, Jesus, can be that for us. You, oh perfect God, will be my fulfillment and joy. I release my husband of the responsibilities and expectations that I have placed on him and I release myself as well. All I ever needed was Jesus for whom I am grateful. Lord, bless our marriage and give us the Holy Spirit by which we will partake of the fruit and live the life you intended us to live in your perfect Will. Thank you Lord. Amen.
If we are free from God’s holy expectations of perfection by His grace then our husbands should be free of ours for them. You will be amazed at the gentleness that follows.
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I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 3 boys of our own and 2 foster babies. I wrote this Bible study years ago for me and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and reformatted and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.