Friday, January 10, 2014
"On Fire": What Trying to 'Get a Man Ready' Says About You
I penned a devotional stating the fact that I have had several people say to me within about a week's time that they aren't sure if they should attend their friend's wedding because they see red flags. Then, while enjoying an abstinence luncheon with a couple of spiritual sisters recently, *another woman* says the same thing about two of her friends.
Yeah...there's definitely something in the water.
And while I'm not sure that I ever thought I'd be quoting Kelly Osbourne in an "On Fire" blog, being that I'm a huge (HUGE) fan of the Amplified Version of Proverbs 16:33, I'm sure it wasn't "an accident" that just this morning, I read something that she said about her recent broken off engagement; something that I find to be *very healthy*:
"It was a mutual decision," Osbourne tells E! News. "We love each other very much. It just wasn't the right time for us and I think if we weren't as mature and adult as we are, then we could have gone down a road that wasn't really nice."
I hear you, Kelly. As I oftentimes tell people "It's so much better to break up than divorce." Especially since God says nothing about the consequences of having a boyfriend/girlfriend relationships in the Bible (other than that still makes you single so you don't need to be having sex-I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message) but he has *plenty to say about divorce*. Most of all, that he hates it. (Malachi 2:16)
And yet so many people take on the what I call "acting like it's a pair of shoes syndrome": "I'll get into this marriage and if it doesn't work, no problem. I'll simply get a divorce." First up, ask anyone (ANYONE) who has gotten a divorce before and they will tell you that there's nothing "simple" about it. And besides, here's the thing: Anyone who even starts off their marriage with that kind of mindset *already has a telling red flag*.
To a disciple of God's Word, divorce is not to be an option. Period. And really, even adultery is not supposed to be seen as "a way out". Christ made it clear that adultery was not the motive behind Moses being allow to institute divorce. A HARD HEART WAS. Bitterness. Lack of forgiveness (which is super dangerous!-Matthew 6:14-15). Not being willing to compromise. Unresolved anger. Drama. These are all symptoms of a hard heart (and oftentimes a part of the reason why adultery happens in the first place) and according to Scripture, that leads to "grievous affliction; adversity; misery" (Proverbs 28:14). As I said in the devotional yesterday, if anything, adultery being the reason that you can (yet not necessarily should) get a divorce (and even if you do, you're actually supposed to remain single or reconcile if your ex is still single-I Corinthians 7:10-11) is to remind us of just how powerful and sex, within marriage, actually is. It simply shouldn't be tampered with.
OK but let me get back to the main point of this post...
So there's actually a commonality between all of the women who told me that they didn't have peace about their friends getting married (and for the record, all of the women *are married*): a huge part of it is that, from what they can see, the man isn't ready; he is showing clear signs that isn't ready. *Especially emotionally ready*. In fact, one woman went so far as to saying that her girlfriend was taking on the whole "That's OK. That's why I'm here. *To get him ready*" approach.
As someone who was in a long-term relationship once upon a time with a man that I thought I could get ready for marriage, I'll say this: "It's completely, and I mean COMPLETELY out of order to take that approach in a dating relationship." The Scriptures can show us a big part of the reason why:
"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, 'A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."---Ephesians 5:21-33(NLT)
Personally, I really like how the New Living Translation breaks this down because whenever women come at me with "Actually, we're supposed to submit to one another", this version reminds us that yes, *however*, we're not supposed to do it in the same way. A wife is to let her husband lead that home, period. And as he is doing so, he's supposed to feed and care for her in such a way that presents her holy and without fault.
Yet here's where I'm going with all of this...
Being that a man is to lead his home, it's already an out-of-order dynamic when a woman is trying to get a man ready for that kind of position as they are dating. When a woman attempts to "get a man ready for marriage" (which would include pressuring him or providing him with an ultimatum), she's already got a pushy spirit. And so, what it says about her is that she's not ready to get married either.
Remember that in the Garden of Eden, in the state of perfection, Adam was ready for the Woman. Adam had a relationship with God. Adam had a purpose and occupation. *The Woman had absolutely nothing to do with either one*. It was *after those things were in place* (Genesis 2) that God declared "It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." (Genesis 2:18-AMP)
AFTER Adam had a relationship with the Lord...
AFTER he was given his divine purpose...
AFTER he was provided with guidelines for living in his house...
That was when God decided he needed a helper.
Rinse and repeat: God did not need a woman to help the man get to a place of needing her. God created help for the man after he had other things in order. The Woman came when the man was ready. She was *brought to him* (Genesis 2:22) when he was ready for her. And he confirmed that he was ready for her by telling her who she was (eh hem) *without her assistance*:
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh.
And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence."-Genesis 2:18-25(AMP)
Scripture does not indicate that the Woman said a single word about her position in Adam's life. *He told her*. Why? Because he was ready for her.
A confirmation of this resolve came at some point last week when I was read something that relationship coach Cheyenne Bostock recently said when someone (I'm pretty sure a woman-LOL) asked him why there weren't more articles on how/where men can find good women:
"A man knows exactly where to go to find a good woman. He'll look in her direction when he's ready."---Cheyenne Bostock
Bam! It's a lot like the Max Lucado quote, is it not? "A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her." Yet it comes with a bit of a twist.
I like that Cheyenne said with so much confidence that when a man is ready to be married (READY TO BE MARRIED) that he is not befuddled. A man, a prepared-for-marriage kind of man, knows exactly what to do. He'll look her way when he's looking towards marriage. Not before.
This means that if a woman is somewhere feeling like she needs to "help him along", not only does this indicate that he isn't ready (and you shouldn't marry a man who isn't ready) but that she isn't either. In other words, no woman can master submission before she can master patience. Single living, in part, is about learning how to be patient: "But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing." (James 1:4-AMP) It's a "foundational course", a prerequisite if you will, for learning how to let a man lead.
So if you can't even wait on a man to tell you that he believes you are "the one" for him, how in the world (IN THE WORLD) are you going to exhibit "an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay" and "quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence" (patience) in marriage? If you're attempting to "run it now", you're going to try and "run it then" and that's going to be *a huge problem*. Not just with your husband but with God because remember what the Lord says about wives submitting in marriage: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18-NKJV)
If you are "leading now" and (eww), he is letting you, both of you are already way out of order. He is allowing a woman rather than God tell him that it's time for a partner. And you are allowing your impatience rather than God's timing motivate your actions. Neither of these attributes does a healthy marriage make.
If you fit this bill, please humble yourself (Proverbs 22:4) and *calm down* (Proverbs 17:27).
A man not being ready is not your problem. That's something he and God have to work out.
What is your concern is if you are trying to "speed along the process", though.
Love is patient. (I Corinthians 13:4) Trying to get a man ready for marriage speaks clearly that you are not and nothing healthy comes out of impatience.
This is a huge message of "pump your brakes" before you "hit a wall". Please take heed.