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Wifey Wednesday: Don't Hide Your Gifts Under a Bushel!

Last Friday I was on 100 Huntley Street, a Christian television program that airs across Canada and in parts of the U.S. Here's a picture from that show. I'm the one in the fuchsia blouse:

Anyway, we were talking about "Gender or Giftedness"? The question was, "what should determine what gifts women exercise: their gender or their giftedness?" That's a loaded question. We didn't really get into roles in ministry so much as this idea that the division between men and women is really a result of the fall. And God equips women to do amazing things. Wherever we're planted, whether it's in our families, or in the workplace, or in the church, we need to exercise the gifts that God has given us. That may look different in different denominations, but God wants to use women.

That got me thinking quite a bit about marriage, and that's what I want to talk about today: how gifts interact with marriage.

A few years ago I was leading a women's Bible study where we were working our way through the book of Acts. We were looking at some of the women who were amazing teachers and leaders. And many of the women in my study said something along these lines, "I'd love to do more in my family. I'd love to have devotions after dinner, and memorize verses together, and serve together, but my husband won't take the initiative. So it doesn't get done."

Now, for those of you who aren't Christian, bear with me for a moment, because I think what I'm going to say relates to all of us. But the point I want to make here is that many times we women use our husbands lack of interest as an excuse not to do important things in the family.

My husband and I are both gifted teachers, but I'm better with smaller children than he is. To say that he has to be the one to tell stories about God--or anything--to the children would be silly. Most women are more effective prayer warriors than their husbands, according to surveys. To say that we can't pray for our families out loud unless our husbands lead it only hurts the family.

I know some may disagree with me, but I truly don't think this is a matter of roles. God has called us to raise godly families. If our husbands are not helping in that endeavour, that does not get you off the hook. You have a brain. You have a mouth. You need to use them!

And this doesn't only apply to spiritual matters. Let's say that you want to get the kids to stop watching so much television, but your husband doesn't really care. Or let's say that you want to get the kids exercising more, but he's not interested. Does that mean that you let the kids continue to be couch potatoes, even though you know that's bad for them?

There is a balance, of course. If you take over all parenting responsibilities, leaving him with nothing, it's easy to shut him out. You certainly don't want to do that. You always want to leave room for him to join you. But don't abandon the project altogether simply because he's not on board. If it's important to do, it's important to do.

So let's look at some strategies together.

If you want to read Scripture with the kids, and he couldn't care less, then can you do it when he's not home? Can you carve out time right after the kids come home from school, or after breakfast before they go to school? Can you do memory verses in the morning? I know people say the best time is at the dinner table, but you also want the dinner time to be for your husband, too. So try to get creative!

The other thought is that many men don't want to "do devotions" after dinner because it seems boring and they don't know how to lead it. I mean, what does "do devotions" mean, anyway? But there are some wonderful books and internet resources on family devotions. If you pick something like that up, and if it includes games and quizzes and even jokes you can read together, he may see that it's not a big deal. Get the book out in the middle of dinner and suggest you read it together. Start with a particularly fun one. And then suggest that you all take turns, so that your husband has his turn, too.

And what about the television issue, or the exercise issue? Again, many men aren't on board because television is what they do after dinner. Why take that away? But isn't that the point? Nobody wants something TAKEN AWAY. It's much better to ADD. So if your husband wants to watch TV, and your kids want to play on the computer, and you want them to play outside, then instead of saying "shut off the TV", how about buying some second hand bikes and suggesting everyone go for a bike ride? Or buying a soccer ball and suggesting everyone head to a local park?

You can take the initiative without setting down rules that your husband has to follow. You can change the family dynamic without turning it into a big production. Just do it. Don't hide behind your husband, saying, "well, since he doesn't want to do it, I can't". That's not true. If it's important, it's important. Use your brain power to figure out how to make the changes you want to see in your family as fun as possible for all concerned. And you just may find that they start to get on board--even your husband!

Now, do you have any marriage advice you want to share? It can be about anything, but if you have any suggestions about how to get your husband on board to important family changes, I'd especially like to hear that! Just go to your own blog and write a Wifey Wednesday blog post! You can copy the picture at the top of this post and use it, too. Then come back here and enter your URL. Looking foward to reading it!

I talk a lot about this issue of creating the right environment in our families in To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When you feel more like a maid than a wife and a mother. Find out more about that book here.

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At 9:14 AM , Blogger Nancy said…

My husband is gone every third day (and night). I decided a few years ago that if having devotions with my children was going to get done, it was going to have to be by me. We reserve the time before bed to do this. We usually read from a Bible story book, work on Scripture, and read a chapter or so from another book of their choosing. (We have worked our way through all the Chronicles of Narnia, some Sugar Creek gang, biographies, and other fiction books.) This gives them a chance to settle down before bed, and it is time they all look forward to. I find that my husband usually will join us on the evenings that he is home and gets involved in the stories also.


At 9:56 AM , Blogger Tiffany said…

I needed to hear this. I am that woman who has hidden behind that excuse. While my husband wants to take the initiative, he does not know how. I want to help cultivate these qualities in him, but I don't know how. Any suggestions?

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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