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 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”, but all the knowledge in the world on the topic doesn't teach you a thing until you experience it. As I’m typing this my baby boy comes in says “hi momma”, hugs me and leaves to go back out. That was all it took.
When I think of gentleness I think of a new mother touching her newborn baby’s cheek for the first time. I think of a stranger offering food to the homeless on the street in such a subtle way that goes it unnoticed by the crowds. I think of a nurse who leans in to an elderly patient and speaks loving words of strength. I think of a daddy softly reading a Bible story to his children after tucking them in at night.
Until the day I die I will be learning how to love my husband because my love is so imperfect and I'm sure you feel exactly the same. God’s gentleness in leading us through this study so that we could learn how to love and keeping us humble so that we can bear to do His Will here. Your marriage has been prayed for, I pray a unity of the Spirit within your marriage and declare within it, the bond of peace in the powerful name of Jesus.
Philippians 4:5 says "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Oh how the scriptures adore gentleness. Especially during disputes. Paul was working so hard to create unity among Christ followers and how was he supposed to do that? With rejoicing in what they had in common, the Risen Savior, and with gentleness. Paul wanted the focus to be on their common joy and not on their differences.
As a husband and wife, we are different. We are two completely unique individuals with ideas and beliefs that came together in union. Our differences can easily divide us, if we focus on them. When beginning this journey of a study with the Lord, He pressed into me that this study would not be about our husbands. We were to only focus on how we could become better wives.. No longer are you focusing on how to make your husband fit a mold you have designed, you are are now praying for and working on a marriage that fits God's mold and design.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Reading that, do your thoughts carry to a time when you may have had a conversation with a friend about how angry you were with your husband and what you intended to do about it? Did you ever hop on social media and tell the world how lazy or unreasonable your husband has been? Do you ever feel the need to shout out how upset you are with him? Is that letting your gentleness be evident to all? My toes are sore every time I open my social media memories and it shows me what I made evident to all before this study. I get to travel back years and see when my babies where little and grieve for that time again and relive for a moment the things that were most important to me but I am also reminded of how miserable I was in my marriage and how evident it was.
Gentleness diffuses anger and hostility. We are called to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, excellent and praise worthy. Things that are beautiful, positive, and pure. (Philippians 4:8) The easiest way to transport your thoughts to these things is by way of thankfulness and gratitude. When you begin to appreciate all the small gifts, the tiny beautiful things God has laid before you then spirit of gratitude brings nothing but peace. Speaking words of encouragement to your husband, being content with the gifts God gives, will draw him closer, even when you are hurt, in a crisis, or in pain. When your gentleness is evident to your husband, he will know the Lord is near.
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 and being ungrateful. 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 that we are like kids again, we are laughing, loving, and listening.
The reality is, life is hard and marriage takes work. One fall weekend, we had to two boys that had to be at two rainy football games in two different cities at two different times. We had to part ways. We came home like cold, 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 on our spouse it can get pretty overwhelming. We have to remember that our husbands are not perfect, but that our God is. Having a gentle spirit towards our spouses could resolve many of those expectations.
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong,upright and just is he.
Soak that in and then read the next two versions.
Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
No one is perfect, only God is. I have really got to give my husband a break. How about you?
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 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!
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is
his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
We are learning here I know. Transforming our minds and pushing out what the world tells us okay, all so we can show the world what our great God can do in our marriage. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit and the He is ready to lay it on you. Ask for it. When I say "ask", I mean you should probably go begging for it and receive it with a spirit of expectation. Practice it. I promise, you will see your marriage begin to take deep root and flourish. Be gentle with it.
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?
Why are you wasting your time?
You have friends whose marriages are falling apart, they call you, you can't even help them?
With an inner voice telling me not to bother and I prayed.
"Lord, capture my thoughts. Help my unbelief in what you are calling me to do."
Then, like a gentle whisper...
Don't worry about their marriages, it's not your job to heal them. Just show them what is possible. Show them where you found Me. Finish the book.
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 only wish to spend this time serving God as He has directed me to do. I pray your are blessed and let this serve as a reminder that God is directing you too.
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times 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.