I often talk and write about how wives were created to be their husband’s helper, and while that’s true, I feel it’s necessary to make a clarification. Yes, a wife should help her husband by showing him respect, allowing him to lead the family, and assisting him as he seeks to follow God’s promptings in his life. However, that doesn’t mean a wife should give up her own individual identity in the process.
Submitting to your husband’s leadership does not mean that you become a doormat which has no value. Helping your husband does not mean you sacrifice doing the things that bring you great joy. Respecting your husband doesn’t mean he’s always right and you’re always wrong. If you go too far in that direction, you will become an empty shell. It’s as if your heart doesn’t matter. God doesn’t intend that for you. In fact, He says in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”
Spend some time in prayer with God and ask Him to reveal if there are any areas of your life where you have lost your true identity. Have you stopped doing some things that bring you fully alive? Is it time to sit down with your husband and talk about how you can both live in a way that brings joy and fulfillment? Don’t allow yourself to disappear in the relationship.
Even though you may have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you and I will still encounter trials and hardships in this life here on earth. They are inevitable. In fact Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33..”In this world you will have trouble.” Sometimes, the trouble is inside our marriage, and when that’s the case, we often find the need to practice great patience, endurance and “longsuffering”. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should act “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” (KJV). Other translations use the word “patience” in the place of longsuffering.
However, the Bible doesn’t always advise us to just sit on our hands and settle into a long season of quiet endurance and longsuffering. Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 that we’re supposed to confront someone who is sinning against us. We always need to be respectful and loving, yet he tells us to confront that person.
So yes, there is a place for patience and longsuffering in relationships. However, it occurs to me that perhaps the best time for longsuffering is when you’ve already confronted the person sinning against you and they are working to turn away from that pattern of sin. I guess my question to you is this: Have you lovingly and firmly confronted your husband if he is sinning against you or your children? Have you drawn clear boundaries on what you will accept and have you followed through with appropriate consequences when necessary? If you haven’t, then there’s a chance you are longsuffering outside of God’s will. Pray about it and see what God reveals.