There is one piece of recurring marriage advice that has always made me squirm a little. The fact that this little nugget made me squirm tended to make me squirm even more due to what the original squirmage whispered to my subconscious, perhaps even to my soul.
The advice is often stated in these ways:
“Put God at the center of your marriage”
“Let God be in control of your marriage”
“A good marriage is centered around God”
Or, some corollaries:
“There are no power struggles in marriage when God is in control”
“No on rules over anyone in a marriage where God is in control”
You get the point. You can see why I started to get that I-think-I-have-a-kidney-stone feeling of discomfort when I’d squirm at the hearing of such advice. The problem was inside I was yearning to ask, why? My “why” however isn’t the superficial why that would be assumed if I asked. It wasn’t a flippant rejection of God’s authority or one of those preacher sayings where I was walling off an area of my life, unwilling to let Him in there because that area is all mine. If I asked why, I’d never dig out of the hole far enough to explain that what I’m asking is
WHY DO THEY KEEP SAYING THAT? Why is that the stuff of the Christian marriage and counseling ether, a sort of sub-zeitgeist to that sub-culture?
I’ve had a breakthrough, an epiphany, maybe because Ive not been immersed in topics that begged for that response lately. In fact, I’d left the pool, dried off, showered away the chlorine, dressed and gone on with things that made me forget the pool even existed. Then yesterday dove back in and saw those words within the first 30 minutes.
Palm to forehead, it is. I’m the last one to figure it out. It doesn’t mean what it says. It means that the wife tunes in to God and measures the husband against what she FEELS moment to moment. Her “winning him with quiet respect” is this evaluation she does and her guiding-him-in-how-to-guide-her based on the Personal Jesus that sits on her shoulder and validates her emotional urges. Putting God at the center of the marriage is just another way of saying something they always say. Men, understand your wife’s heart and meet the deepest needs therein.
Goooaaaaaaalll ! God musta been in control.
Now I can squirm and squirm and it won’t make me squirm.
I’m done after that ridiculous sentence.