This week I present part one of a two part series: Beware!
This week: Wives, beware!
Next week: Husbands, beware!
My inspiration for such a series comes from two sources. First, I have been pondering a certain passage of Scripture that has huge implications for me as a wife. Second, I have been pondering how difficult marriage is as I have 22 years of marriage now behind me and watch the lives of my married friends experience the ups and downs common to us all. As great as marriage is, it can come with gut-wrenchingly difficult seasons that must be endured in order to string the years together long.
I want to do marriage well.
- To please God.
- To be a woman of my word(s) – “I do.”
- To bring joy to my husband and family.
- To create a home that my children will look back on as a good childhood.
- To show a watching world that love is beautiful, and it’s a decision.
These to name a few.
But being a wife is hard. And one of the hard things about being a wife is not to abuse the power and influence I have over my husband.
I was struck by this recently as I studied how Satan tempted Adam in the garden of Eden.
Some of you may have just thought, “Wait! Satan tempted Eve, not Adam!” Yes, he did, but he tempted Eve in order to tempt Adam. Allow me to explain.
Who is responsible for introducing sin into the world?
1 Corinthians 15:22 says, For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Notice the Bible never attributes what scholars call the fall of man to Eve, only Adam.
Satan was always after Adam.
How did he go about it?
First Satan picked a creature to inhabit.
Of the three categories of animals God created, Satan selected from the wild animals.
Genesis 1:24, NIV, And God said, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.
Then from the wild animals he selected the most crafty.
Genesis 3:1, NIV, now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.
Once those decisions were made,
Satan decided it was best to get to Adam by going through Eve.
Genesis 3:6: So when the woman say that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her.
The plan Satan had for the fall of mankind was purposefully detailed. He was hoping to get Adam to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then reach out and also eat from the tree of life and live forever in a broken relationship with God.
Of course it didn’t work.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he stretch our his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat , and live forever–
therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the tree of life.”
God intervened, thwarting Satan’s plan.
But I am gripped with terror at the reality that when it came time for Satan to try to take Adam down, he did so by going through Eve.
That means women, we have incredible influence over our husbands.
And we can use that influence to destroy him.
I can hardly breathe when contemplating that.
I think of the times I have aimed to influence my husband for my own benefit, to get what I wanted.
Any wife knows…
- We can both give affection and withhold affection to get what we want.
- We can penny-pinch, spend and even hide money for our own interests.
- We can play word games–Flirt. Exaggerate. Twist information. Omit information.
- The list goes on…
Based on Satan’s strategies in the garden, we have extensive power.
Just to be clear, no person has inherent power. By this I mean that none of us can produce a particular effect from our actions or words.
Power is granted.
As a teacher, students grant me power to give them assignments and they treat me with respect because they want a grade at the end of the class. They are granting me power for a desired currency – the grade. Once the class is over, however, I cannot walk up to a former student on the street and ask him or her to turn in a paper due in a week. The student would not do it.
Not because I had lost power.
I never had it.
Rather, the student is no longer willing to grant me such power.
According to research in Interpersonal Communication, power currencies are named as resource (money, grades, paid bills), social network (connections), personal (beauty, personality), expertise (knowledge, skill) and intimacy (close relationship).*
Husbands grant wives power.
They do so for any or all of the above currencies, but that intimacy currency is reserved for just a few, and usually one.
When we share our opinions, whisper in the night, and handle family resources…we are being granted power.
And we need to use it well.
The Holy Spirit lives in us. so we need to be holy in all of our dealings with our husbands.
We simply cannot use our influence for selfish gain. We cannot use our influence to contaminate our men with criticism or harm them with deceit.
Because our harmful actions produce the greatest of wounds.
- Somehow our words weigh more.
- Our actions have broader ramifications on our husband’s lives.
- What we do and say gets passed along in ways we never intended or imagined possible.
We can take a man out. Eve proved it.
I am not sure Eve did anything purposefully. God had told Adam the rule not to eat from one tree. We know he told Eve because she responded knowingly to the serpent but we are never told exactly what Adam had said but the following with certainty:
- Adam was standing right beside her when she ate.
- Adam granted Eve the power to disobey God’s only command, both for her and him.
I never, ever, ever want to lead my man astray.
I am reminded of Proverbs 31:12. Which is your favorite version?
- She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. – ESV
- She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. – NIV
- She will bring good to him—never evil— every day of her life. – ISV
This week is my husband’s birthday.
This year I give you a re-commitment to use my influence in your life only for your highest good. I understand that doing anything less than holy will damage God’s story, with ramifications far greater than I could ever imagine in the moments when I am misusing my influence in your life.
(Happy birthday, my husband.)
Turn me into the woman that can keep the commitment I just gave my husband for his birthday.
*Interpersonal Communication and You, McCornack
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