Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Men and Loyalty

After the woman who shared her story of submission with me gave me permission to write about it, I wrote to her and said:
I will keep you and your husband in my prayers. You have witnessed amazing evidence of God's mercy. Always keep this in mind should seeds of doubt attack you - and they likely will. Stay strong and take every thought captive. Yours is a testimony for His Glory! Remain in the reverence you have experienced for your husband. Remain in the faith that it has come from God as a blessing for your submission and obedience to His Word. Forgive your husband as well and do not harbor judgement. Don't be tempted to accuse when God has made this Very Good.
I wrote her again to check in and see how things were going and was very happy to receive this response: 
We are doing well. Better than well! We have talked a few times in depth since and my husband has sincerely apologized for all of it. He acts like I never even had the fantasy, like I was an innocent bystander being coerced and he was making me do it. He asked my forgiveness and took full responsibility. I am doing everything I can to be the best wife and so far, I have had zero struggle with harboring judgement or not forgiving him, probably because I was so much at fault too. On top of the blessing of unity that came from all this, my husband usually does not open up, but this ended up being a reason for him to open up and tell me how much he appreciates my loyalty and submission to him over the last 5 years. I have learned my lesson about how easy it is to conveniently forget about God and how quickly rebellion to my husband follows.. Anyway, thanks for checking in and I will stand in awe of this stage of my life when I look back on it because it finally helped me understand the WHY of submission- trusting God.
As I come to understand deeper the nature of men, I remain in awe of the honorable way in which they respond to loyalty. As women, we might understand what it is to be valued but I don't believe we receive our value by expressions of loyalty as men do. Our value is most often felt via expressions of approval. When we are approved of, we enjoy a pleasant euphoric feeling of belonging, importance, and validation.

When we sense a lack of approval from someone we love, we most often feel hurt and shame and express it in a self defense manner with justifications and rationalizations. It is difficult for us to learn to appreciate lack of approval, correction, and admonishment because it is strongly associated with how we experience a sense of value. It is a wise woman who searches deep for Truth who understands that those who would correct us or admonish us are those who actually value us the most. If our behaviors are not healthy, are not in line with achieving a deeper relationship with God, and those who we think love us and know the truth, don't say a word, we are actually experiencing contempt - not approval, not tolerance. A woman must learn to be very honest with herself to receive admonishment and understand it is a loving gesture and is an expression of value.

Approval and loyalty are not the same things. One can be loyal and not approve. And, as we all know ladies, we can receive approval and find out later that not a shred of loyalty existed from the person doling out approval. Men are often confused by our desire for approval because they seem to innately know this. Approval is fleeting and is not an expression of commitment or steadfast loyalty. Men would much rather know someone is loyal to them and are not concerned with their approval at any given time.

When you read through what the woman who wrote to me said about her husband, know that this is the response of men to loyalty:
"He asked my forgiveness and took full responsibility."
"...my husband usually does not open up, but this ended up being a reason for him to open up and tell me how much he appreciates my loyalty and submission to him over the last 5 years."
When we hear or read of women who put restrictions on the respect or the submission their husband's are due, what we are witnessing is the extent of her loyalty, her fear, her projection, and ultimately her opinion of what is "righteous rebellion." It is subjective and determined either by her or a third party and it is a stumbling block for her husband to be free to fully hear any correction the Holy Spirit has for him. When he knows her "loyalty" only extends to the limit of his good works in her eyes, he knows what she has for him is tentative approval, not loyalty. In turn he can not respond to her with appreciation.

When we flip the script we can see that women respond similarly. If your husband added a caveat to his approval of you, every time he mentioned it, how would it feel? How much would you enjoy hearing that as long as you don't get fat, your husband likes you. As long as you continue to make his meals, he approves of you. As long as you have sex with him, he'll be kind to you.

Yes, I understand these things get said to wives. And what do women do? "That jerk!" Then they gather up their best gossiping girlfriends to discuss how horrible her husband is for his expectations of her and how he won't love her for "who she is." Next thing you know she's being told he is emotionally abusive and it would be best if she separated from him.

Do husbands respond that way when they hear of the limitation of her loyalty? Not usually. Most often they will proceed silently with an inner ache knowing his wife is not fully committed to him. Ladies, we are masters at hurting our husbands without ever knowing we are doing it. They just don't express it the same way. When years of this ache pile up what will become of his feeling toward her is contempt.

God made your husbands in a very special way, different than you. He knows how they perceive value (loyalty) and He knows how they respond when they know they are valued. Trust God that He gave you very specific instruction for your marriage for a reason. Do not fear it. Do not project on to your husband a distrust of his integrity. And stop talking publicly about the line in which your husband must walk to receive your loyalty.
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth 1:16-17

2 comments:

  1. "It is a wise woman who searches deep for Truth who understands that those who would correct us or admonish us are those who actually value us the most. If our behaviors are not healthy, are not in line with achieving a deeper relationship with God, and those who we think love us and know the truth, don't say a word, we are actually experiencing contempt - not approval, not tolerance."

    My husband is very good with this - admonishing me when he sees and area that needs improvement. And while I have not appreciated it immediately, I have often reflected on the blessing he is to me in this way. And as a result, I fully trust that he means what he says when he does show me approval, since I know he is not afraid to show disapproval.

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  2. As I come to understand deeper the nature of men, I remain in awe of the honorable way in which they respond to loyalty. As women, we might understand what it is to be valued but I don't believe we receive our value by expressions of loyalty as men do.

    So much more true than you know. It's probably for this reason that dogs (very loyal) are usually associated with men while cats (well... we know how they are) are associated with women. (hmm... maybe there's some lesson there - why do you think your husband would mistreat your loyalty? does he mistreat the dog who is ever faithful to him? No! Those that do are considered the worse monsters. But for most, great affection, is showered upon.) Although hard to prove because it makes all the news, most men wouldn't leave their life-long wife for a younger model because they remember the years of loyalty and would rather have loyalty than even beauty.

    Approval is fleeting and is not an expression of commitment or steadfast loyalty. Men would much rather know someone is loyal to them and are not concerned with their approval at any given time.

    For proof, look at a lot of the media men flock to and how often it shows an entire world against a few, close-knit friends. Another example would be this episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Even the loyal enemy soldiers are seen with more respect and mourned while the disloyal leader is despised.

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