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Friday, March 09, 2007

an unloved woman...

Proverbs 30:21-23
21 "Under three things the earth trembles,
under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,

a fool who is full of food,
23 an unloved woman who is married,

and a maidservant who displaces her mistress."

I've been married for just over ten years. It seems like a lifetime unto itself in many ways. I struggle to remember life apart from Heidi. I know I've lived longer without her than with her, but the B.C. years seem more forgettable since she entered my story. With every year we're together, I'm losing clarity in my remembrance of the first 18 years of my life. I think this is the magic of love. "It covers over a multitude of sins" as the Scripture says. Her love has covered over me so beautifully.

I read this text a few weeks ago and it has been pestering my heart like a little poodle nipping at your heals. I can't escape the power of these six words..."an unloved woman who is married". An unloved woman is unconscionable in and of itself. But an unloved woman who is married?...this is unbearable to creation itself. There is nothing that causes the universe to hide in fear like the reality of a marriage where the husband leaves his bride unloved, unwanted, unvalued, undone. It just can't bear up under these conditions.

I've left my wife unloved before. I've gotten busy with life. I've said yes to too many invitations. I've sought the rush of accomplishment. I've chased my own adventures apart from her. I've sat in silence in front of the television letting her take care of the household duties. I've seen her eyes hollowed out by monotonous obligations without so much as an acknowledgement of appreciation. I've seen Satan ravish her with insecurities without lifting a finger to fight off her inner demons with the "truth that sets free". I've let words stay inside me when she needed them...oh, has she needed them. I've complimented everyone but her. I've befriended everyone but her. I've changed my schedule for everyone but her. I've left her to wonder at her place of importance. I've made her feel replaceable. I've given her the name, "Afterthought" by my actions. I've left her to wander in a world of uncertaintly as to her role in our marriage. I've made her read between the lines too much. I've left her to fill in the blanks on too many occasions. I've left so much inside her unfinished, promising to come back and complete what I said I would do, and letting time take the edge off my vows.

I've left her at home with the girls too many nights. I've shrugged her off when she needed "adult" conversation. I've been a lazy listener. I've made her feel like a bother, a nuisance. I've seen her dying for my affection, and sadly left her for dead. I haven't asked nearly enough questions of her heart. I haven't done much to sacrifice myself to make her dreams come true. I haven't been the creative leader in the home that I am in the church. Some of these weaknesses go beyond neglect toward abuse. This is unacceptable.

I don't want my wife to be unloved. I want more for our marriage, our friendship.

Here are some declarations I must make in order to avoid the dread of this verse:
1. I will speak when I'm tempted to stay silent.
2. I will move when I'm tempted to stand still.
3. I will hug when I'm tempted to withdraw.
4. I will kiss when I'm tempted to stare.
5. I will ask questions when I'm tempted to just talk.
6. I will affirm when I'm tempted to attack.
7. I will enjoy when I'm tempted to endure.
8. I will create when I'm tempted to shut down.
9. I will date when I'm tempted to distance myself.
10. I will listen when I'm tempted to solve.
11. I will enable when I'm tempted to disable.
12. I will understand when I'm tempted to be understood.
13. I will sympathize when I'm tempted to criticize.
14. I will forgive when I'm tempted to forgo.
15. I will gaurd my eyes when I'm tempted to feed my flesh.
16. I will accomodate her interestes when I'm tempted to push my own.
17. I will give her freedom when I'm tempted to pursue my own.
18. I will look for the good when I'm tempted to point out the bad.
19. I will defend her when I'm tempted to dis"gaurd" her.
20. I will pursue her when I'm tempted to abandon her.
21. I will trust her when I'm tempted to question her.
22. I will serve her when I'm tempted to let her serve me.
23. I will help her when I'm tempted to let her do "it" herself.
24. I will honor her when I'm tempted to talk about her.
25. I will crown her when I'm tempted to "down" her.

I don't want my wife to be unloved. I want my chivalry to cause her to feel captivating. I want my romantic heart to break up things she's scared to try for fear of failure. I'm a guy, but that doesn't me I'm the incorrigible grunt that culture says I am...I'm created to love my wife with such passion that it confounds all of creation. And I want to...I really, really want to.

There is nothing so dreadful as an unloved woman trapped in a marriage with a misguided man.

23 comments:

pianoman said...

oh my... i'm in tears from these words that both cut and restore...

just that fact that you are convicted and given sight by this precious scripture shows your heart is where it needs to be...

thank you for being such a passionate lover of God and desperate pursuer of truth;
i can see clearly that you have the full ability to love and pursue your wife as well...

your unashamed vulnerability really helps me to see what a true man of God is...

Laura said...

I stumbled across your cd and then your blog by way of my love for Bethany Dillon's music and I'm enjoying yours now too! This post was wonderfully refreshing and more women need to hear more husbands feel and then do these things.

Jecca said...

wow...the uncommonality of this has left me speechless. thank you.

Kate McDonald said...

j...thanks for writing this man... every married person should print this out and read it often.

ps i heard rob bell speak the other night and he reminded me of you so much that it started to freak me out.

Kathy said...

Thank you. I needed this many years ago.

mama2dibs said...

Thank you for your honesty Jason. It is not many people that are "man" enough to admit that they are wrong, let alone over and over. I am sure that Heidi is very understanding, although as a wife, I am sure that things like this make her breathe a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your godliness. Thank you for your openness.

kevin said...

Wonderful post!

Kristy said...

Hello Jason, I found your blog through Kate McDonald. I posted this post on my site and left links for people to follow to get to your site. I feel like this is a truth that is often glossed over or not really realized at all. I'm sure I've read this verse many times but never saw what it was really saying. Thankyou for using your God-given gift to bless others.

God bless,
Kristy
www.miraculousgod.wordpress.com

Penny Rodgers said...

WOW! I really don't know what to say other than, WOW!

Anonymous said...

I am unloved and wish I could die.

Anonymous said...

I sat down at my computer moments ago and began a letter to God with tears streaming down my face and a heavy, heavy heart. I know God led me to your post (it was on another website).

I am an unloved married woman. My husband is also a pastor. Everyone and everything comes before me. I often wonder what he will say to God when he is asked to give an account for how he covered me.

Dana Spring said...

Sadly, most of the comments are from unloved married women. Do men of God even notice or care? My experience tells me "no".

Anonymous said...

I too am unloved and so tired of it. Tired of living this way

Mary said...

Please give an update as to what changes have happened in your marriage as a result of you DOING your list -- of showering your wife with agape love.

I, too, was am an unloved wife, who, like many Christian wives could no longer tolerate the emotional (etc) abuse.... and the pain of the treachery of not being loved. and yet, even in divorce, this unloved wife was treated with even more disdain by "church" and the court because of the continuing NONloving actions in word and deed of the ex

Anonymous said...

you have read my life

Anonymous said...

Awesome, awesome post. While I am very much an unloved married woman, my husband would never leave me, he loves God and our children. This bible passage directly applies to me, but it is not at all how you interpreted it. See in other translations the word odious is used in place of unloved. I think God is talking about horrible women, not insensitive husbands. I am a cranky nag, who is unlovable, I used to be a sweet woman, but a wife and four kids later, I am really just a cranky nasty woman, the earth can hardly bear my crankiness, no wonder I am unlovable.
Odious woman - One in whom there is nothing loveable. Marriage, which to most women is the state in which they find scope for their highest qualities, becomes to her only a sphere in which to make herself and others
For an odious woman, when she is married,.... Odious for her person, her ugliness, and the deformity of her body; or rather for the ill qualities of her mind, which, while single, she endeavours to conceal, but, being married, hides them no longer; but becomes imperious, proud, scornful, and malicious, and behaves in an ill natured way to her husband and all about her, to such a degree, that there is no bearing the place where she is

Anonymous said...

.... Herself and others miserable, she makes everyone around her miserable. Sorry the definition didn't paste completely.

Don't worry Jason you are off the hook, Heidi sounds sweet.

Anonymous said...

Humbled.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Your honesty gives me some degree of hope within my own marriage. I am a very "unloved women." Everyday, I get home from work and taking care of our young son to find out every single thing that I did wrong that day. For example, I was asked to wash towels and of course, I did, however, after I washed those towels, I took a shower. When my husband came home, he said, "Good job washing half the towels, you cant do anything right." I explained to my husband that, I did wash all of the towels, but took a shower and used a towel after I had washed them. He didn't respond. He just decided to continue on the every day, "tear your wife apart."

I meant my husband when I was young and have been married for 5 years. I use to laugh, smile, and love life. Now, I love my son and focus solely on him. I do not go out with the girls for lunch, I do not have any confidence I once had and I do not feel "love" for my husband, in fact, if my son didn't love his daddy more than words could describe, I would have left a long time ago. I don't leave because I love my son. I know God can work miracles, but I cant say that I even want the miracle of a loving marriage anymore. I only want to be left alone. Its a blessing that he has so many hobbies, because I would hate for my son to know the truth about his parents marriage.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's all I can say. I know I'm unloved. I just pray God remembers me.

Me said...

This is good counsel for husbands, but the woman should seek the affections of Jesus. This will enable her to know her value and not be co dependent on any human to fill the hole in her heart that is best filled by Him.
I married an emotional brillo pad, tho a marvelous man. Only because I first met Jesus as my number 1 love, have I been able to walk out 30+ and counting of a marriage chosen by GOD. It s not all about needs being met. I am thankful actually, for a marriage that drives me to Him who truly adores me.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!!!

Anonymous said...

I am an unloved wife and your words describe exactly how my husband treats me and my heart aches.