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Marriage that Works - What's a Woman to Do?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2024 6:00 am

Marriage that Works - What's a Woman to Do?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 12, 2024 6:00 am

Ladies, do you feel pulled in a million directions? Family, career, marriage, relationships - all competing for your time? If you’re longing to bring some sanity to your world, join Chip for some insights and encouragement, from God’s Word, about the role of women inside and outside the home.

Main Points

How to "step in" and support to lead your family in righteousness

  • A wife's first priority is to support, affirm, and empower, her husband to fulfill his God-given calling both within and outside the home.
  • A wife's second priority is to create an environment in the home that nurtures and develops her children to fulfill God's will for their lives.
  • A woman's third priority is to train younger women in the art of becoming a godly wife and mother.
Broadcast ResourceAdditional Resource MentionsAbout Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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So, what's a woman to do? How do you balance the demands in your life? Marriage, career, kids, friends, working out, time for you. I mean, what in the world do you do? And don't forget, what about that husband? It's complicated, isn't it?

How do you balance life's demands? Well, that's today. God has some help for you, ladies. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram, and we're nearing the end of his series, Marriage That Works. Throughout his study in Ephesians chapter 5, Chip's taken time to talk to both men and women about how they can work together to make their relationships great. He spent the last couple of programs focused on the guys, so for these final two messages, Chip will turn his attention to women and what the Bible says about their roles as wives, moms, and friends.

With that, let's join Chip for today's talk, What's a Woman to Do? As I read this article, this is not on my bed stand reading list, I have to tell you. I just happened to be in the drug store and I saw it. And as I read it, my heart was sad. Here's a woman that's 42 and she says, I really feel like I want to have a family now. All of her friends, the article goes on to say, have been asking me, when are you going to start and have a family? She says, people just want to see me as a mom, married and barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. And I just want to say to everybody, relax, it's going to happen. She's not saying that's bad.

She says, relax, it's going to happen. And she says, women are realizing more and more, they don't have to settle with a man just to have a child. Times have changed and we have so many options these days. The fundamental shift was sex and marriage were disconnected and it's really damaged women. Historically, men would give their lives in commitment to marriage to have sex and women, I'm speaking sort of economically, not all the love and all the emotions and all the rest. And women would give devotion and sex to man in order to build a relationship. When those two things were separated, women find themselves alone.

Men who don't want to make commitments. And now she goes on to say, of course, now listen to this, the ideal would be to raise a child with a man by her side. But in recent months she's become very more philosophical about having a boyfriend. She knows she's strong enough to do this on her own and she's happy to do it alone. She's sick of waiting for the right time to be or to find the right guy. The only thing that's missing is being a loving mom. This has been her goal for years.

And then finally the last line I thought was very interesting. She's ready to start a new chapter of her life. She wants to discover new things and stop being so afraid of life.

But you know, you think about, did you hear there's something missing? There's an ache in her heart. She's accomplished everything the culture told her would make her happy. And yet by her admission, her life is one of fear. And she's longing for some things that God made for a woman that she's never experienced.

And she's been through every avenue and every opportunity that the cultures told her would make her happy. And so what I want to do is I want to give you God's prescription ladies about what to do in a way that will fill the deepest needs of your heart. The what for a woman is to step in and support and the how is let me give you the woman's top three priorities. It's to nurture, protect and provide. And if you remember from our time with men, a men's was exactly the same three priorities in exactly the opposite order.

A man's number one priority is to provide, then to protect and then to nurture. And here's what I want you to see. I was walking through Home Depot yesterday.

I get illustrations everywhere. And as I was walking through Home Depot and I was thinking about this whole issue of roles and the whole issue of roles, what the Bible does is it creates for us by the divine designer, these are complementary roles. There's not a good, a bad, an inferior or superior. There is a role for a man and a role for a woman that fits together that brings oneness and beauty and design and intimacy and love and creates this thing called a home instead of a house. And I was thinking of this bolt and this nut and no explanation about who is who or what's going on here. But what I want you to understand is everything that is held together, it requires both the bolt and the nut. And if you look on the outside often, everything that's held in between, if this was in a wall, all you would see is this thing on the outside. Often it's more visible. Maybe that's a guy out there doing this or that. But the glue that holds everything together is the combination.

And it's interesting, these threads go one direction and the threads inside go a different direction so they fit perfectly. And what we've done in the last 30 or 40 years has argued about which one of these is most important and who ought to get to do what instead of recognizing the beauty is when they are made and fulfill what they're designed to do. And that's the divine designer and what God has for every one of us in our relationships. And so he says, ladies, these are your top three priorities. To nurture is to create a relational environment that promotes the spiritual, emotional and physical welfare of those around you.

And no one can do it like a woman. To protect means to minimize the harmful influences that affect the lives that have been entrusted to you. And to provide means to maximize all spiritual, emotional, physical and financial resources to do good to those that are in your relational network. And so what I've done is I've given three specific passages, sort of as the box top, that these are the three primary things that God says to a woman. This is what I want you to do. And then what I want to do in the rest of our time is give you some practical ways, just like I did with the men.

Here's some ways to step in so that if these are the strengths of your man and these are his needs, God has made you to honor and respect and step in in a way that a man can never fulfill what God made him to do apart from a woman giving him what he doesn't have. And the same is true for her. And so, first of all, you'll notice it's Proverbs 31. It says, an excellent wife who can find.

Her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her. Ladies, circle the word heart.

And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, circle does him good, and does not evil all the days of her life. Notice the word heart of her husband, there's a relational nurture. The heart of her husband, something inside of us insecure men that wonder how things are going to play out when there's pressure out there. The heart of her husband can trust in her. Goes on to say she does him good, that's provision.

No evil, that's protection. First Timothy 5 14 says, Paul speaking to a situation in church, and when a young woman's husband would die in this culture, there were only two options. As a woman, you couldn't, as a single woman, go out and get a job. Either you dedicated yourself to the church and were full time with the church and they would support you financially, or you could be a prostitute.

Those were the only options. And so that's the context of Paul writing. He says, so I prefer that the younger widows get married, have children, and take care of their homes. Circle the word take care, so as to not give our enemies a chance of speaking evil against us. And the word take care, it means to rule. It means to be the chief operating officer.

It means to make it happen. The third passage is Titus 2 three through five. And as I read this one, Titus is a pastor, Paul is writing to the pastor, Titus appointed elders, and the church is on this island of Crete.

Now the women in the island of Crete were known as wild women. And so in this sort of very immoral, crazy island, the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says to this pastor, here's what I want the older women to do. The older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips or enslaved to much wine.

Now notice what they're to do. Teaching, literally the word is training, clearly communicating God's truth, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to do what? Love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands. And notice the premise, that the word of God may not be dishonored. You see, if the Christ-centered relationship, if walking with God doesn't work at home, he says, don't export it. When people in your neighborhoods and my neighborhoods, when people at work, if they don't see a transformational home where there's love and acceptance and affirmation and intimacy in a marriage and a following of Christ that makes a difference, he says, you know what?

It calls into question everything we say that we believe. And so what you're going to see, ladies, is there is a role that only you can fill. And when you fill it, the deepest levels of fulfillment occur in your heart. And what we're going to learn is that there's three specific roles and there's different seasons and different times for these roles.

Some of you have more energy and less energy. Some of you have come from different backgrounds. And so how you will apply what I'm about to say, the Holy Spirit is going to have to show you. But there are three critical roles from scripture that are absolutely, this is what God made you as a woman to do that no one else can. Number one, so how do you step in and support to lead your family in righteousness? A wife's number one priority is to support, affirm, and here's the key word, empower her husband to fulfill his God-given calling both within and outside the home.

Empower, affirm, support. We don't like to think about this, but a man's biggest biggest need is for respect or for honor. We can take a lot of different things, but a man down deep really wonders, am I a man? Do I have what it takes?

Can I provide? Can I lead? And so the areas that it's easier for us is work and sports and things outside the home, and we can compensate. But when it comes to spiritual leadership, being a good dad, being a good husband, all those things, those are tough. And the only way you can do it is when you have a wife who respects and honors and asks the kind of questions and lives with you in such a way that says, you know what?

You can do this. I'm for you. And here's the role, it's the role of a champion. It's when the wife is the teammate and the best friend. Any organization that thrives always has a champion. A champion is someone who champions the cause, the values and the course and the commitment.

It's someone who says, we can do this. The most powerful influence in any family is whom? Always, in every family. It's the mom. Who's the glue in a family?

It's the mother. And she champions the things that matter most. Let me give you five practical ways, ladies, to be the champion to your husband. First is to make time with God your number one priority. The spiritual, emotional, physical, you have the most demanding job in the world. The multitasking, the pulls from multiple people, the ability to meet needs here, meet needs, I mean, running a home, see a home isn't do people have food and do they have clothes? A home rightly understood is a transformational organization where love gets created, received and exported.

And the complete direction and trajectory of human lives are changed because of their experience in home. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and he'll continue our series Marriage That Works in just a minute. But first, do you long to have the God honoring love-filled relationship Chip's been describing? If so, keep listening after this teaching to learn about a tool we've developed to help husbands and wives deepen their connection to one another and with God. Stick around for more details.

Well, with that, here again is Chip. Ladies, the only way you can run a home in a way that makes it a transformational loving experience is you need God. You need strength.

You need wisdom. You need, as a woman, as hard as it is with all the demands, to make time in His Word a priority for you. Time where you're unhurried. Time where there's time for yourself.

Time where, you know what, you can take some time away and be with some other women, either a mentoring relationship or a Bible study. And I'll use my wife as a few examples. And as I do, please, you need to understand a couple of things.

Number one, she is not like Mother Teresa, Betty Crocker, and I don't know who else, all wrapped up into one. But when I'm going to share illustrations about my wife, I'm going to err on the side of the positive illustrations instead of the negative illustrations for very obvious reasons. Now when I talk about me, it's just me.

I can just tell you, man, here's my strength. Here's where I messed up. Everything I'm talking about, I've watched her grow in over the last 30 plus years. And the reason we went to marriage counseling early in our marriage is she didn't do these things very well at all. And she was married to someone who did them worse. But I will tell you is when she understood one thing, she understood even when we had small kids, I'd find my wife five, 5.30 in the morning. And sometimes because kids get up early, it was only five minutes here or 10 minutes there, she made meeting with God the number one priority in her life. I remember the story of Susanna Wesley who had a couple boys that changed the world.

Remember John Wesley and Charles? And she had, in those days, women tend to have even more kids than now. She had like 11, 12 kids and they were running all over the place.

And the story is told that she would actually go out on a stump and sit on the stump with kids running and screaming and playing and take her apron and put it over her head and pray for her. But what she knew was God and His wisdom and His power needed to be in her because she couldn't impart what she didn't possess. You can't love a guy that's insensitive like a lot of us are. You can't give yourself to kids and all their needs and their demands apart from God giving you what only He can give you.

Second thing is pray for him regularly. A woman's power and influence in the home is often as much informal as formal and it's often indirect. Ladies, jot down Proverbs 21.1. This is a powerful verse for allowing God to do things that only He can do.

It says, the king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it whatever way he wishes. See, a lot of times as a woman, I've watched this in my wife, she would have an issue with me and she'd talk with me and she made suggestions or we would read a book and there'd be no change or we'd have a problem with one of our kids or there'd be a circumstance here.

And finally what she learned is, you know something? Father, Chip isn't listening to me. I want you to take him on. Get under his skin. Show him what he needs. Do what this child of ours is making me crazy. I want you. And what she learned was, the greatest ally to do an impossible job, to create love in the heart of human beings that will determine their future, is a woman who understands, ask, seek, knock and you'll receive and the door will open and the heart of God longs to hear a mom pray for a husband and kids and he'll answer you.

Third is plan for him daily. Life doesn't just happen. With all demands that happen to a woman's life, I mean, overwhelmed, I mean, I watch, be honest with you, I don't know how you all do it.

And most women are juggling all kind of things. And from its kids and work and home and a husband and outside responsibilities. And one of the first things that goes is you don't plan for your husband.

Special deeds of kindness. Remember you used to write him a note and put it, you know, someplace where he'd find it. Or when you'd have a special dinner, he'd come home and they're candle lit. Or you got rid of the kids in a nice friendly way to a friend or a neighbor so that you could have some time alone.

Or, you know, you wanted to make him think it was his idea and so you hinted a little bit and then created something so you guys could actually get away for a weekend together. You got to plan time. Whatever you invest in grows.

Whatever you neglect dies. And what happens when you're a woman, there are so many demands. What you hope for is not what happens. What you plan is what happens. You've got to plan in how do I invest in my husband in ways that honor him and respect him and remind him that he's loved and keep our love alive.

And by the way, ladies, when you do that, at first you go, hey, what's going on here? And then he'll love it. And often as systems work, as you begin to meet some needs in his life, he'll start to lead a little better. He'll start to love a little bit more deeply.

Prepare for him daily. What a woman does to attract a man, often in the early days, is smothered and depleted by kids and work and fatigue. And let me just be sensitive here, but do you remember some of you, it's a long time ago, when you were dating and we all did the dance, right? And you wanted to attract your husband. Can you imagine like when it was starting to get serious and you really, I think I really, really love him and he says, hey, I'm going to be over in about an hour.

Would you greet him at the door with like brushing your teeth going, hey, really good to have you, right? But here's what happens. Under pressure and over time, pretty soon we get too familiar with each other. Men are visual. God made us visual. A very wise woman understands how I look and how I prepare myself for when I see my husband. Because guess what? He's out in a world where everyone's looking their best every day and smelling their best.

And he's getting all kinds of strokes for what he does, not who he is out there. And this is one of the areas I have to say, Teresa did a great job. Probably half hour before I got home, we ate at a real regular time. My wife, about 98% of the time, greeted me looking nice with fresh makeup on and has worked very hard over the years. You know, life is life, right? So ladies, the figure you had when you were 20, usually isn't quite the same at 40. And there's usually a little slippage by about 60, right?

And it goes on. And I'm not saying that we all need to work out 17 hours at a gym. What I'm saying is this, we get sloppy about how we look and we don't invest in the things that matter. And that makes a big difference in how a man thinks. And one of the ways that you can love your man is to prepare.

Prepare for him daily, emotionally, physically, relationally, communication. You know, when you come home or when you see each other and many of you, both of you work, if one person's on the phone, I mean, my wife, when the cell phones got real popular, I still remember one time, you know, I'd be, every time we were in the car, I had this thing in my car and this good little gadget, you know, and every time we were together, the phone would ring and I'd be answering the phone. I remember one day, it was a Friday, it was our day off. She looked at me, she goes, do you want to be with me? Are you going to talk on the phone all the time? I said, I was just taking a quick call. She goes, you're always taking quick calls.

I feel like taking that thing and throwing it away. How many times, ladies, do kids occupy your attention? This occupies your attention or you're on the phone with someone. Ask yourself, what am I going to do the first five to seven to 10 minutes that I connect with my husband and plan for it and do it well and you'll be glad you did. Final thing here is protect your time with your husband. This may come as a shock, but he's the number one responsibility, the number one human relationship that you have on this earth. And something that's very empowering is he needs to see you say no to the kids if you have children and no to some other demands and no to some hobbies that make him feel like you really think he's number one. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and you've been listening to part one of Chip's message, What's a Woman to Do, from our series, Marriage That Works.

Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. You know, it's no secret that the institution of marriage is in trouble. What was once a foundational part of society is now becoming an irrelevant and outdated custom. But there is hope. Join Chip as he challenges this status quo through his study in Ephesians chapter 5. Learn how in the face of cultural pressure, you can raise godly kids, have a healthy home life, and build a lasting marriage. For more info about this series, visit livingontheedge.org.

That's livingontheedge.org. Well, Chip's with me in studio now. And Chip, you've said before that communication is the highway upon which love travels. What do you mean by that? What I mean by that is you can love your mate with all your heart and with the very best of intentions and do what you really think is communicating love.

And let me just tell you from personal experience, you can absolutely miss it. For years and years, I mean, I was trying so hard in my marriage and I was kind of speaking Italian, you know, and she only spoke French. And what I mean by that is that there's a language that communicates to your mate, but you may not use the same language. So for me, verbal affirmation, physical touch, those things communicate, wow, I really feel loved. Well, to my wife, it was acts of service. I mean, it was like vacuuming the floor, taking out the garbage, and then meaningful time together were hers. And so I was doing one thing and she was like, hey, here's a great dinner and look how clean the house is.

I'm going, okay, thank you very much. And so we had to learn the other person's love language. And then for us, having the tools that when there is conflict, how do you resolve it without attacking the person? And so out of that led us to marriage counseling and out of that led us to a number of tools that really helped us learn how to speak the other's language and how to resolve conflict and how to really communicate. And that developed into a small group series called Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage. Let me encourage you, watch it by yourself if you have to, but better, get two or three couples and I will guarantee one thing, it'll get deeper, richer and better.

Dave, why don't you tell them how to get it? Well, to order the Small Group Study Guide, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. And let me tell you, just by investing some time in this study, you'll be blown away by what you learn about marriage and what God has in store for you and your spouse. So for complete details about our Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage Small Group, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003.

App listeners tap special offers. With that, here again is Chip to share a few final thoughts. As we close today's program, all I can say is ladies, my heart really goes out to you because I don't know if there's a tougher job on the face of the earth where you have received more confusing messages and probably feel more overwhelmed.

And we tried to touch on some of that, but here's what I can tell you. In the multiple demands, as a woman, what I know from my wife and I have a daughter is that you long and need to be loved and nurtured and cared for and that doesn't come naturally to your man. And so what happens is you're kind of set up for failure because if you keep waiting for him, you'll probably wait for a long time. And what I can tell you as a man is that your man is way more insecure and fearful than you can ever imagine. And when he doesn't get that tenderness from you, the kind of things I talked about, making time with God a priority so you pray for him and planning for him and preparing for him and protecting your time with him. Most men, we don't know how to come out and say it, but whether it's the career or the kids, when things get ahead of us, we often don't have the courage to say, hey, you know, what about me?

We usually respond in anger or we withdraw or we put energy into our work. And so ladies, let me just tell you something that may be very counterintuitive, but make your husband your focus for the next 30 days. Begin praying for him like never before. Think of thoughtful things you did when you were dating. Start loving your husband. Don't tell him you're going to do it, but like for 30 days, just, you know, every single day, do one thing that you know makes him feel very loved.

And I think what you'll see is he'll begin to respond over time in a way that meets some of the deepest longings of your heart. My prayer, Lord, is that you would help ladies today know what it looks like to love their husbands. And I pray for those that are in very hard, difficult marriages, that you would give them grace that you would love and protect and give them what they need from you. In Christ's name. Amen.

Amen. Thanks, Chip. As we wrap up, I want to thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs, purchase airtime and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. Now, if you've been blessed by the Ministry of Living on the Edge, did you consider sending a gift today? You can do that by visiting LivingOnTheEdge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. Have listeners tap donate. We'll listen to next time as Chip wraps up his series, Marriage That Works. Until then, this is Dave Drouie saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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