President Donald Trump, in a seemingly improvised message to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, was clear: “[North Korea] will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Tough words from out of left field. Within hours the country heard reports from various cabinet members, including Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Everyone in Trump’s circle was backing up the statement. Of course. What else could they do?
The President’s remarks encouraged Kim Jong Un to make more threats, all centering around the small protectorate of Guam. And those threats encouraged the President to make more and so the story is still unfolding.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called the leader’s back-and-forth a game of “I’m rubber and you’re glue” in one of last week’s episodes.
And although the game of “I’m rubber and you’re glue” tends to work things out on the playground, it doesn’t hold a candle to geopolitical issues and the peace process.
Nor does it do much for the peace process in your own home.
It’s not breaking news, like Trump’s brazen words were, that it takes work in order to make marriage work.
It’s also not breaking news that in order for marriage to work, both partners have to respect one another.
Colossians 3:18 has some sage marriage advice. Paul is encouraging believers to live well with one another and have good, happy marriages.
“Ladies,” he writes, “be subordinate to your men, as becomes a Christian wife. Men, love your wives and don’t act ornery toward them (Cotton Patch Gospel).”
I know some who would call this passage a turning back of women’s lib and a cry to allow men to dominate women and keep them under the thumb of male oppression.
But there’s balance here in Colossians. There’s mutual respect. Paul is saying that women must honor their husbands because it’s their Christian duty to do so. And he’s telling the men the same. Now, Cotton Patch is a fun paraphrase and uses the word “ornery” when encouraging the men in how to act toward their wives. Men, don’t be ornery toward your wife does seem as though it’s letting the men off the hook. It has the air of “boys will be boys” in it. But that’s just one paraphrase.
The Wuest translation doesn’t let anyone off the hook.
“Wives, be constantly subjecting yourselves with implicit obedience to your husbands as you ought to do in the Lord. Husbands, be loving your wives with a divine love which impels you to deny yourselves for their benefit, and stop being bitter and harsh to them.”
Husbands, do you respect your wives? Do you love them with a divine love? Do you love her in such a way that you are impelled to deny yourself for her benefit?
Wives, do you let your husband lead your home with you? Do you take him seriously? Do you appreciate his masculine nature? Do you make him feel that the work he does is a blessing to his family?
Marriage is a team activity.
But there are two distinct roles we each play in our marriages.
Husbands have one role, wives have another. And it’s up to the two of you to figure out what those roles are and how they are played out within your marriage.
Men are pretty delicate humans despite what they’ll tell you. Make your husband feel as though his masculinity isn’t good enough and you’ve knocked the wind out of him. His masculinity is directly tied to his sex drive (something we’re not talking about in this post), and his ability to lead and take care of his family and the work he does.
And we know that women want and deserve equal treatment in the marriage. They want to be loved passionately and brought into the fold as not just a plaything but an equal who has value.
I heard it said once from a female friend of mine that husbands are good at coming up with the big picture of how to run the family and wives are good at taking that vision and making it happen.
She didn’t say that wives aren’t good at getting a vision and executing it, nor did she say there’s no place for such a thing.
If your marriage mirrors Trump’s words to Kim Jong Un, you’re primed and ready for your own nuclear disaster within the four walls of your home.
Putting Paul to Practice
The way you treat your spouse is the way your children will learn to treat theirs. You and your spouse are the first and most prominent examples of how romantic relationships should look like. Your kids are watching…and they’re taking notes.
A husband who calls his wife names, or blatantly disrespects her, or treats her like a possession rather than a prized teammate is a husband who is announcing that he’s going to bring “fire and fury like the world has never seen” to his home. A husband who doesn’t take care of his wife by treating her with divine love and delicate respect and an equal partner is a husband who will have strife and unmerited fury in his home. Men, love your wives, treat them like you would your own body. If you love your wife, you show that you love yourself (Ephesians 5:25).
Wives, respect your husbands. Men are a lot more delicate than they let on. To disrespect your husband is to emasculate him. And you don’t want a pansy-assed emasculated husband. You don’t want a nice, good boy who doesn’t rock the boat.
You want a man, not a mouse.
Be his teammate. Be his cheerleader. Work with him to take the vision the two of you dreamed up for your family and organize it. And in doing that, you’ll also get a teammate, a cheerleader, and someone who will move mountains for you.
Don’t declare war on one another. Instead, come up with a resolution for peacekeeping.
Communicate well, listen to one another, be vulnerable. Make a pact, today, that you’re going to drown out the negative with love. Season your words with gentleness and kindness. Treat one another well. You’re both valuable.