When I said I do to my husband at the ripe age of 19, I was insecure of myself as an emerging woman and distrusting of men.
Never thinking I was pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough or simply – enough – I used to watch my husband when he didn’t think I was looking when other pretty women were around. Whether passing a Victoria’s Secret store in the mall, standing in the checkout line at the grocery store or stopping at a red light, I was always on high alert, not because of him…because of me.
In my heart, I was constantly testing him. I didn’t say a word, but I was always looking and waiting for my fears to be confirmed.
Twenty-five years later, I did something that surprised me.
We were in a large bookstore, waiting on our teenagers to finish browsing. My man and I meandered to the magazines. I was interested in cooking, travel, etc. He was interested in cars.
What comes with cars? Women. Women scant-fully dressed, selling sex as much as selling cars.
Over the years, this is when my palms started sweating. This is when I watched him out of the corner of my eye, waiting for my fears to be confirmed.
Oh but this day was different. I casually walked ahead of him, beating him to the magazine racks. Quickly scanning the selection, the car magazines with provocative women were there just I as I suspected.
I quietly walked over to them and turned them over.
Then I proceeded to the cooking and travel magazines as if nothing happened.
What was different this time? Was I being proactive in fear that he may catch a glance and lose all interest in me? Was I being paranoid that this would be the day he would look for visual pleasure elsewhere? Would this be the day all of my twenty-five plus years of insecurity, inferiority, and self-deprecating secret thoughts would be proven right publicly?
Why did I do this without a second thought?
For one, my husband has never done anything that would make me fear all of the worst. He won’t even watch a bra commercial. Trust me, I know. I’ve watched him countless times–because I was watching, testing. He fast-forwards romantic scenes in PG-13 movies. He has literally told me that he will spend his entire life proving to me that he is faithful to me.
But you know what? There is another reason. One that is even bigger than his noble character.
I’ve changed as a wife.
Wives are helpmates, and I realized after all these years I wasn’t helping him navigate the minefield of everything sexual this broken world offers. Instead, I’ve been testing him out of paralyzing, unsubstantiated fear.
How doubly difficult for him it must have been all these years to not only have an insecure wife, but a wife who won’t trust him, not because of who he is, but because of who she believes she is.
He’s been fighting this battle alone. Where was his helpmate? Retreating in the shadows, biting her nails, watching and waiting for him to fail, simply because that is the reputation of other men.
I’ve decided to help him and stop testing him. I’ve grown up enough to understand the God-given teamwork of marriage and to get over my own insecurities.
It’s amazing how many other ways this this has changed me as a wife. I am now intentionally looking for ways to share more of the load mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, etc. in areas of our marriage whereas before I was content letting him carry his load while I carried mine.
I surprised myself at the ease and confidence in which I turned over those magazines. A fighter raised up in me that said, You’re not doing this to my man, with strength I didn’t know I had.
Since that day, I continue to change. I am growing stronger as a woman as I understand who I am in Christ, who I am to my husband and who I am in my own skin.
Although my man has never given me one reason to worry, a sense of protection has raised up in me. Not a territorial, jealous woman. Rather, a woman who believes in fighting for who she loves.
I am protective for him, not of him.
He is a grown man and I am a grown woman. We will make our own decisions about our respective lives. But together, we are a force to be reckoned with as I have finally opened my eyes to see that instead of watching over his shoulder at his every move, I am standing with him, back-to-back, watching over him. There is a difference.
It is no coincidence that both the website Ashley Madison and the movie War Room are making headlines at the same time. There is a battle for every soul, marriage, family, church, community, city, and state in this country.
One of my favorite Scriptures is the account of Nehemiah spear-heading the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall. Read it, slowly, in the context of fighting for rebuilding and strengthening marriages (from chapter 4)…
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
The battle is raging for our marriages and families. Turning over those magazines was a huge push-back against the enemy because I finally realized that my husband and I are on the same team, and have been all along. I was just too insecure to see it.
Fight for your marriage with faith, love and absolute resolve. Being on God’s team, we’re not in this alone. He goes before, and fights for, His children.
Ephesians 6:10-18 – The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.