September 30, 2010

"If Momma Ain't Happy..."

I was having lunch with a friend several months ago and we were talking about some decisions that their family had staring them in the face. As he shared with me many of the thoughts, convictions, and feelings he had toward the matters at hand, one thing suddenly became clear: there was one person essentially making the decisions and steering the family boat. Momma. I know this because he put the exclamation point at the end of the very long sentence by reminding me that, "If Momma ain't happy...then nobody is!" Heard this before? Said this before? I have. But I'm beginning to question the potential pitfalls of such thinking. Let me explain.

Like most men who are at least making an attempt at being an unselfish, supportive, loving and Godly husband, I hope that my words and actions (or lack thereof) never upset my wife. To offend or hurt or frustrate my partner in life by being insensitive, negligent, rude, or self-centered is definitely not something on my agenda for the day (or year for that matter). But seriously coming to the conclusion that my wife's "happiness" is the epicenter and aim of every decision we make - whether as a husband & wife or as a family - is going out on a limb that is eventually going to split right underneath your feet. Now, allowing your wife to decide where you're going for dinner or what's going on top of the pizza is one thing. But when there is a monumental decision to be made - one that affects your entire family (like moving to Oregon or deciding "the Lord is leading you to another church") - the first person you better be consulting and considering is the Lord. And here's the number one reason why: 

What if Momma is wrong?

Let's change seats here for a moment. I think most guys would readily admit that we're prone to the temptation of making decisions based on our pride. Some of us have been known to do this. Are we dumb enough to think that our wives don't struggle with this as well? Do you think your wife isn't tempted at some point in her life to listen to her wounds or her fears or her emotions more than she's listening to the quiet whisper of the Spirit? Seriously? Make sure you hear me - every major decision that my wife and I have made together since we've been married has been an opportunity for us to seek the Lord's direction and wisdom together. And I really can't remember one of those instances where we ultimately disagreed. Whether selling one house & buying another, moving from Texas to Kansas, or 10 years later moving from Kansas to Alabama, answering the calling to Pastor a church, or putting the stamp on the envelope with the adoption qualification papers inside and mailing if off just weeks ago - we don't make these decisions without agreeing that the Lord is directing and leading us. And probably most of you reading this would say the same thing. So maybe you'd ask, "What's all the fuss for then?" It's pretty simple. Sometimes it's just easier to make someone happy than to patiently seek the Lord.

Husband: If you're spiritually leading your family - setting the example of believing Proverbs 3:5-6 and Jeremiah 29:13 and Ephesians 5:25-30 - there will most likely be a time that you have to lovingly sit down with your wife and say, "I really don't agree with you." But also humbly accept that your spouse may face the dilemma of having the same conversation with you. I'm not picking on women or wives here. I didn't title this article "If Daddy ain't happy..." because no one ever says that! The bottom line: sometimes this invisible emotion we refer to as "happiness" can be rooted in something other than Godly wisdom and humility. And as a husband and father, God has called us to seek, pursue, and even BEG the Lord for wisdom and humility in leading our families. Period.

You want a Proverbs 31 wife? Be an Ephesians 5 husband!
I assure you - THAT will make Momma happy!


LynnAnn said...

True words. Thanks Brian!

Shareen said...

Thank you for this Brian! I know I'm kinda of behind on the comment, but I was looking for something along these lines. Do you have a recommendation for men how to lead their family? I would love to see a class that is always available for the men of the church.