A little over a week ago, I was asked to share some words of encouragement at the bridal shower of a dear gal in our church. As is the case whenever I study to share, my own heart was challenged, encouraged and blessed. Almost a quarter of a century into married life, and I am reminded just how much I daily need to have my mind renewed by God’s truth as it relates to my role as a wife!
I thought there might be a few of you ladies who could use some encouraging reminders, too…or maybe you’ll just benefit from a neat theme idea for a future bridal shower. 🙂 Either way, here is what I shared:
“When I heard the theme of this bridal shower was “The Perfect Blend”, I went to my computer, pulled up google, and typed in: “What makes the perfect blend of coffee?”
The answer was quite delightful:
“Blending coffee is a fine art that marries coffee beans from different origins to enhance the best qualities of each. Roasters choose coffees that complement each other with a delicate matching; say, a coffee with high citrus acidity and light body to one with smooth chocolate notes and full, velvety mouth feel.”
The perfect blend marries beans of different origins that compliment each other by enhancing the best qualities of each bean, thus creating an amazing blended flavor. To me, it sounds like more than just a way to create the perfect blend of coffee…but the way God works to create a beautiful marriage. Let’s take a look:
Before we get to the “different origins” part, let me take a moment to mention a couple of similarities. A coffee bean, after all, might come from a different location but it’s still a coffee bean. Both you and Aaron are humans: created by God, made in His image, and called to be worshipers of Him as you seek to glorify Him in every area of your life. Both of you are also sinners…just like the rest of us. The Bible says we were all born in sin and headed for hell. We needed to be rescued from our sins and made right with God. In faith, we must believe in Jesus Christ as the only One who can save us, through His death and resurrection. Only in Him is the hope of Heaven and true joy and peace here on earth. You both have placed your hope and trust in Jesus Christ to save you from your sins and give you new hearts that beat for Him and His glory. Though you have been saved from the punishment of your sin, you will still battle sin until Heaven which means you are one sinner marrying another sinner. We usually don’t set out to ruin our spouse’s day…but it’s amazing how our sins can rub up against each other and create all new forms of sin! Remember all God has forgiven you of, and extend that same forgiveness to each other. Praise the Lord He has placed His Spirit in us, enabling us to forgive as we cling to Him for help!
And there are other areas where a husband and wife are similar…but it’s usually the differences that need some special attention.
Origin means “the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived” and, for all of us, we typically marry someone with different origins in one way or another. Paul Tripp, in his book What Did You Expect?, speaks about this reality so beautifully:
“God ruled the whole process. He controlled all the cultural influences that shaped us. He controlled all the family values that helped shape us. He controlled all the situations, locations, and experiences that helped shape the particular ways that we think about and respond to life.
In marriage, we bring all those cultural, familial, and experiential influences with us. So, we come into marriage with a list of givens that aren’t the givens of our spouse. We come with cultural expectations that aren’t the expectations of the other. We come in with schedule, aesthetic, and relational expectations that the other person doesn’t have. One expects dinner to be a quick moment of food consumption, while the other expects dinner to be a time of relaxed eating and conversation. One person doesn’t really care if the house is messy, while the other was trained to expect and maintain a neat environment. In one family, the roles of husband and wife were very defined and evident; in the other family they were there, but blurred. One family thought of money as something to be spent; the other thought of it as something to be saved. We could multiply example after example.
It doesn’t take long in marriage before you realize that your spouse doesn’t share your instincts. At that point, either you worship God as sovereign and celebrate the different way of looking at the world that your spouse has blessed you with, or you dishonor him by trying to rewrite his story. For example, the house you live in shouldn’t be a reflection of one of you. It should be a beautiful mix of the sovereignly produced sensibilities of both. Many husbands and wives carry with them the pain of dishonor and disrespect that results when their spouse has mocked or denigrated their way of doing things or rejected their family and their way of relating or doing things.
But when you begin to celebrate the sovereignty of God and how he formed you and brought you and your spouse together for his glory and your good, you quit being irritated by your differences and start celebrating how your life has been enhanced by them. As a result, you will not only give room to your spouse’s sensibilities, but you will honor him or her in what you do and say in the moments when you are confronted with the differences in your approach to the very same things.”
Different origins are needed to make the best blend of coffee and, in marriage, God uses different backgrounds to highlight and display His glory!
Compliment means to “add to (something) in a way that enhances or improves it”. Roasters chose coffee beans that compliment each other. Not only are they from different origins but they also have different tasting notes that carry a unique flavor design. And, at the beginning of creation, God saw fit to compliment Adam by creating Eve as a helper. It was God’s plan to create male and female and then to place them together…to compliment each other in such a way that the “two become one flesh”. God has called all husbands and wives to glorify Him by complimenting each other and living out the roles…the design…He has called us to. In doing so, we actually are a picture of Christ and the church!
“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body.Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for herto make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33
Kamelia, for you this means being a helper to Aaron that respects and submits to him…just as God calls all of us wives to do. We live in a day and age that says, “No way, not me; not to him or anyone.” But God calls us not to be conformed to the world and its ways but transformed by God’s Word. And we can be confident of this: that obedience to the Word of God always yields the sweet fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control…no matter how difficult the journey.
1. Respect means to admire deeply. Respect Aaron as an image bearer of God. Respect Aaron as leader of the home. Respect Aaron for all that God has brought him through and all that God will continue to do in his life as a child of the King. Respect his differences and respect his opinion. Elisabeth Elliot’s third husband, Lars, once said:
“A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.”
2. Help means to serve and assist. The Bible says that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). The word “help” is a rich word filled with comfort and hope…a word that God employs even when talking about Himself. We show forth a picture of the beauty of God as our ultimate Helper when we come alongside our husbands to serve, assist and aid them. You are called to be a helper to Aaron. But as Kimberly Wagner says in her book “Fierce Women”, us wives can get a bit confused on what that word means in our everyday lives:
“You see, I thought my job (the “helper” role) was God’s way of using me to help my husband improve! I could “help him” with his grammar, correct his awkward clothing choices, or instruct him on the proper way to hang his bath towel. With “helping him improve” as my job description, I became his worst nightmare…criticizing where he parked the car, decisions he made in the home, pointing out how he could’ve made a better choice. And with my fierce determination to do my “job” well, he retreated into his own silent world. He clung to passivity as the only safe solution.”
3. Submission means yielding to the will of another. Submission isn’t an ugly word that requires being a doormat or having no opinion…it’s a beautiful word that enables us to respectfully live out our helper role under the direction and leadership of our husbands. Jani Ortlund defines it this way in Fearlessly Feminine:
“To choose deference over defiance, yielding rather than competing, meekness instead of arrogance, flexibility rather than stubbornness – this is kingdom work. To build a God honoring marriage by putting self-obsession on the cross is a glorious spiritual liberation.
Let’s consider how a woman offers submission to her husband. It does not mean she must always agree with her husband – that’s boring, as well as impossible! In a one-flesh relationship there must be open, honest, and clear communication. But within the bonds of marriage there must also be a certain adaptability in the way a wife relates to her husband. A husband needs a wife who can flex with him, someone who won’t fall apart at the least provocation. After she has talked and prayed a problem through, a wife must be willing to accept her husband’s legitimate concerns.
As we fearlessly follow God’s command to submit to our husbands, we show our children and others around us that God’s loving purpose is worthy of our trust. We willingly yield to His sovereign kingship over our lives. He alone is worthy of our trust and obedience. Ultimately, a wife’s submission doesn’t say as much about her view of marriage as it does about her view of God. A woman who has a flexible and submissive attitude through the ups and downs of married life is a woman who trusts God with the whole of her existence as a woman. Let’s walk confidently in the light of God’s Word, for there is real life. Let’s leave behind our strident, competitive, self- centered fears and rest joyfully in our God-given calling.”
Enhance means to intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of. When you take coffee beans of different origins that compliment each other through their unique flavors, you end up intensifying, increasing and further improving the best qualities of each, creating the perfect blend. And that is ultimately what our marriages should do! Ecclesiastes says that “two are better than one for they have a good reward for their efforts” (Eccl. 4:9) and as you and Aaron link arms together, united as one in Christ, and pursue His glory above all else…your lives enhance each other’s lives and adorn the Gospel. In doing so, you “proclaim the glories of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9). As our pre-marital counseling book reminded us through the words of John Calvin: all our lives are lived out on a “stage”, a grand theater, so to speak, of God’s created world, displaying the glory of His grace for all to see!
So, as you rejoice in your different origins, pursue a complimentary role as a helper to your husband, and seek to live in such a way that enhances each other’s lives through Gospel living, I believe it just might create the perfect blend for marriage. 🙂
photo by Jeff Newsom