Here’s the whole picture. A woman falls for that wonderful man and can’t wait to be married. He’s everything she’s ever wanted! She admires and respects him.
As life settles in on them, she realizes he’s not quite perfect, and she sets about to fix him. She does not even realize she’s doing this, but she expresses her disappointment with her look and her tone. He does not know why he has failed, but he has gotten the message. Her loss of respect pierces his very soul. Worst of all, he thinks it’s his fault. He tries to please her and may go along with her “fixing” for quite a while, but it’s never enough. Finally, he gives up.
Now she’s stuck with a man who’s given up. If he can’t be a Savior, he may as well be a jerk, because that feels less horrible. A man would rather be considered a jerk than a failure. When you remove your respect from your husband, however subtly, you can end up with a jerk.
Here’s where women get confused. We are told: 1. Respect your husband and 2. He’s not your Savior. We get confused because we confuse idolatry with respect.
Respect is about him, idolatry is about her. In other words, a wife respects her husband for his benefit, trusting God to grow and mature him as he does with all of us. “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
But she idolizes him for her benefit, because she wants the security of a knight in shining armor. But only God can provide true security.
Meanwhile, this man has set out with the highest hopes, but life does not go the way he imagined. Conquering the boardroom—or whatever arena he’s in—is even tougher than he thought. And then there’s the whole issue of being a “godly man.” What does that even look like? Because if left to sort it out, it looks to him a lot like faking it.
In short, he is simply not the Savior both of them wanted him to be. So he withdraws or he controls—either is a distortion of who God designed him to be. And once he makes this decision, even though the circumstances change, he must decide to bring his heart back.
…to be continued