In response to Sheila over at “To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.”
Once, there was a girl who fell in love and married a passionate revolutionary, a strong man with huge ideals but a secret despair to ever reach them. She was a gentle girl, infused with a strong desire to make others happy, especially this man she loved so much.
And he also loved her very much. But his passion for the ideal and his independent spirit quickly turned into a bus that constantly ran over his new bride’s sensitive heart. She cried many tears, but loved him all the same, and committed to staying with him, no matter what. And as the years flowed by, they had their good times as well as their bad times.
But the only way it worked was if the gentle bride laid down and let her husband do whatever he wanted. And serve him as well as she could, regardless of if she thought he was doing right or wrong. For whenever she disagreed with him, it turned into a fight that shook the Earth.
But she was crushed under his heavy expectations. Things never got better, and her husband never realized what he was doing most of the time. He didn’t realize he was yelling. He didn’t realize he was shooting arrows through his wife’s heart. He never realized when he hurt or pushed away his children. He was on the verge of abusive, and his wife’s eyes were full of fear most of the day. But, short of divorce, there was nothing she could do. Standing up just brought constant fighting, and that hurt her worse than just taking his anger and trying unsuccessfully to please him.
On the other side of the world, another girl fell in love with an idealistic leader, a strong man who had a burning drive to change the world for the better. She was also a gentle person, a servant and a healer whose heart broke over and over for the suffering she saw in the world.
And they loved each other very much. Their goals combined and they were able to help each other. But again, she had to bow under the prow of his ship, because when he wanted to do something, nothing should stop him, especially the person who was supposed to help him and make him happy. She cried many tears when she saw her man falling into darkness, and triumphed with him when he came back up, but if she got involved and tried to pull him from going a bad direction, a huge fight broke out. So she didn’t.
But one day, that changed. She got tired of being run over. She knew better. He needed someone to tell him when he was being dumb. And nobody else could see it but her. He was unreasonable too much. He needed so much control over the lives in his family. And she was tired of it. So she stood up.
And forever after, they clashed and lived on the verge of divorce.
I always wished the sensitive princess from the first story would stand up for herself. She cried too much. And he cried to little. But then I saw the second story, and the unhappiness that standing up brought to their marriage.
So what can we do? If a woman is married to a man who runs her over, is she condemned to cry silent tears? How can you make things better without fighting all the time? Because most people don’t change. I’ve never had the answer to that question, until today.
Some people, especially passionate leader types, need mentors, people close enough to see when they’re doing something stupid, people who are able to tell them when they’re right and when they’re wrong. Usually, it falls to the wife, because a wife sees everything. But when the wife is the constant critic, it’s not effective. Especially if the person is used to getting what he wants.
In the Bible, God paired the most passionate leaders with a sidekick, usually not their wife. Moses had Aaron. David had Jonathan. Paul had Barnabas. Jesus even sent the disciples out to preach two by two. And then they would come together and talk and write letters to correct each other and smack each other when they weren’t doing what was right.
This is essential. Anybody who has a strong influence over other lives needs to have someone who can tell them when they’re wrong. Someone they listen to. Every poor leader I’ve seen has one overwhelming fault: nobody can tell them they’re wrong. And it leads to so much hurt. Because even the best of us is wrong a good portion of the time! We all have faults! And some faults can tear a family apart at the seams. So if you’re the husband in the story, get somebody to help hold you accountable! Let them into your life, let them tell you when you’re wrong, or at least listen and try to do better when your wife says something.