Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Safe Place

Note: This post is part of a series of posts on marriage/relationships. I pray that this "mini-series" would be a blessing to you! Please feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments; I would love to hear them! 

If you are new to this series, you can find the Introduction HERE, Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE

Love is a command, not just a feeling. Somehow in the romantic world of music and theater we have made love to be what it is not. We have so mixed it with beauty and charm and sensuality and contact that we have robbed it of its higher call of cherishing and nurturing."
~Ravi Zacharias 



This summer, a sweet pair of house finches made their nest in my hanging basket. The basket was located just outside my front window where I sit and read books to my children, and so we had the delight of watching them through their parenting "journey." :-) From the beginning, I tried to protect them as best as I could, looking out for neighborhood cats, watering my plant gingerly around their nest, and admonishing my children to stay a distance away from the nest when we were playing outside. The parents hatched and fed four or five of the cutest little balls of fluff that you can imagine, and we had the privilege of observing the miracle. The babies thrived because they were in a safe place. A place of love and nurturing and warmth and protection. A place where they could trust that their parents could take care of them without fear. 




Years ago, I heard the late minister Adrian Rogers preach a sermon on how men can love, protect, and cherish their wives in the same manner that the house finch parents did for their babies. Since Christ and His church is a model for the relationship between a husband and wife, he brought up the passage about the Lord being like a mother hen who cares for and protects her chicks. Then he applied this illustration to marriage. He related a man's care for his wife to a mother hen who tucked her chicks underneath her warm body and protected them from all the dangers that surrounded them. A man is to protect and cherish his wife in the very same way. 


And I think about this concept of protection and warmth and closeness and safety and the house finches and the mother hen and Christ . . . 

A man who is walking with the Lord can be a "safe place" for his wife. 

A safe place . . . what does this mean? And how does it apply to marriages and romantic love and the general well-being of a home under the Lordship of Christ? 

This is how. 

If a man is walking in obedience to the Lord and treating his precious wife as Christ treats and loves the church--

A husband should be a place that a woman can run to with her fears and concerns and worries. She should be able to trust him to listen to her, to pray with her, to impart to her the strength of Christ and to infuse grace into her soul. 

She should never be afraid that he will make fun of her, that he will laugh at her, that he will belittle her, that he will brush her aside . . . And I'll add here, that sometimes as women (or men) we are concerned about frivolous things or worried about things that we shouldn't be worried about. I don't think that a man (or a woman) needs to "indulge" that kind of conversation, but rather, that he may lead his wife gently back to the cross, without making her feel "little" or "small" or "foolish." There is a balance. A loving man will lead his wife safely back to the cross of Christ, whether her concerns are legitimate or not. 

A loving husband is a safe place in relation to his family. We hear so many "horror" stories about relationships between a woman and her mother-in-law. Many are legitimate, and these situations need to be handled with grace and love, not with unbecoming humor and disrespect. A man can be a safe place in this regard by continually demonstrating to his wife that she is the love of his heart and that he will not betray her by talking about her to his family behind her back, by placing his relationships with them first, or by seeking his parent's advice over or before hers. There are so many problems in marriages that could be avoided if a man would just demonstrate gentle, consistent love in this area. I have witnessed situations where the family didn't consider the daughter-in-law a true part of the family, only an add-on. This can be so painful for a wife, and place an unnecessary rift in the relationship between her and her in-laws. As believers, we should be the first to recognize the incredible and beautiful "oneness" that marriage brings--physically, mystically, and spiritually, and hold one another in such loving esteem, that this should never be an issue. If Christian in-laws demonstrated this kind of love toward their daughter-in -laws (or son-in- laws on the other side) there really could be such beautiful, godly harmony rather than many of the situations that exist today. There is so much that could be said or written about this subject, but overall, I will just say that a woman feels safe, cherished, loved, and protected when her husband guards his love for her in front of his family and doesn't "demean" her or undermine their relationship in any way in this regard. A woman's feelings can be damaged for years by this kind of betrayal. 

A man can be a safe place by leading his family faithfully under the lordship of Christ. By holding family devotions and prayer in high regard. By especially jealously guarding his own relationship with the Lord, by spending time in closet-prayer and devotions that is not showy or forced. 

A man is a safe place when a woman can trust him with their children. He honors their mother and doesn't belittle her ideas or authority. He wants their spiritual good in every way and works with his wife to achieve that end. He entrusts their lives into the care of their Heavenly Father but also takes seriously and soberly his great responsibility to love and to nurture them and to train them up in the fear and love of the Lord. He shows love and admiration for his wife in front of his children, even when his wife is not present. 

A man is a safe place when he does not act flirtatiously toward other women or talk about other women with the intention of making his wife jealous or afraid for their own relationship. At the same time he does not make other women feel unimportant compared to his wife--a love that is mature and grounded and real will cause him to act kindly and graciously towards the opposite sex without flirting. 

A man can be a safe place by guarding his eyes from looking at pornography or any unclean thing. This is a serious, serious issue that I believe should be addressed more than it is. I won't delve into it too deeply here as I am planning another post on this subject as part of this series. But I will say briefly that pornography can damage a woman's emotions and crush her spirit in a way that nothing else can. That is part of the reason why there are such dire warnings against it in Scripture: because it kills with a slow poison and the results are devastating. 

A man is a safe place when he provides for his family. As far as it depends on him and as much as it is possible, he seeks their welfare and provision, just as Christ Jesus does this for His church physically and spiritually. In other words, he works--hard. He labors to provide for those he loves. He does everything in his power and by the grace of God to make sure that they are clothed and fed and taken care of. Will there be circumstances where this is not possible--of course. Sickness, or the loss of a job, or other circumstances and trials may prevent him from providing for his family for a time or indefinitely. The Lord views the heart. Does a man desire to provide? Is he wholeheartedly willing to provide if he could? Then he is a safe place for his wife because she knows that he is trusting in God to provide for their needs--and our Heavenly Father is the very Safest Place there is. 

A man can be a safe place by looking out for the welfare of the church. A man who loves Christ also loves the church--because she is the Bride of Christ! He wants to serve there in whatever capacity the Lord has called him. He wants to evangelize in order to bring more souls into the church. He loves to be present there--on Sunday mornings, at Bible studies, at missions events, etc. He loves the church and wants its good--because that behavior imitates Christ's. Growing in grace in this area also helps his wife. The more that a man seeks and loves the Lord and as a result, the things of God, the more he will love, protect, and cherish his wife--as she is a picture for him of the church. 

How a woman cherishes a tender, gentle, sensitive man who is a safe place for her! I love the example of Elkanah in the book of I Kings and his sensitive spirit towards Hannah, his wife . I love the example of Joseph and the tenderness and love that he exhibited toward Mary, even when he thought that she had been unfaithful to him. 



Men, we don't need a "macho" man who is constantly concerned about his appearance. We don't need an effeminate man who takes no leadership in the home. We don't need a dictator. We don't need a man who does not lead. We need a man who is like Christ--who is striving to be like Christ, not perfectly, but obediently and humbly. A man who admits his flaws and seeks forgiveness. A man who can apologize. A man who is continually dependent upon the grace of God. A man who is sensitive. A man who is tender.  A man who is real. A man who is gentle. A man who can be trusted in all of his relationships. 

A man who is, by the grace of God, a safe place. 

I don't know a woman who doesn't love and want to serve a man like that. 

A man who is gentle. A man who is real. A man who is a safe place. 


Note: On this subject, I highly recommend Dr. Adrian Roger's sermon series The Music of Marriage--it is such an encouraging series. 



You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market Friday




24 comments:

  1. So glad to find you on Mommy Moments! I agree, my husband is a safe place now, after many trials in our marriage. Your writing is thought-provoking and encouraging. I will be back to read more!

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    1. Hi Sarah; I'm so glad that you stopped by! The Lord bless you; have a wonderful week in Him. :-)

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  2. Found you at Monday Musings. I love that my husband is my safe place. I know that's not always the case, but God has certainly blessed me.

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    1. Heather, a husband who is a safe place is indeed an incredible blessing. Love and joy to you :-).

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  3. I totally agree with this. No woman should get married to a man she doesn't feel safe with! In all these areas.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and stopping by!

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  4. How fun to get to watch the baby birds! I'm glad to be married to a man who is a safe place for me, and I pray I'm just as safe for him. Thanks for sharing this, Rebekah.

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    1. You're welcome, Lisa; have a blessed week! :-)

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  5. Beautiful post Bekki saturated with so much wisdom.

    Many times and many marriage books, it seems the focus is on changed behavior in the wife to bring about Godly change in the husband, and although I know the Bible speaks about this, I confess I find myself saying, "But what about the husband's responsibility in marriage?" Your post has answered that question.

    I love you and miss you Bekki! Your posts always bring such Godly encouragement.

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    1. I agree, Karen--truly; I think that men and women would benefit from more teaching in this area. I think that that is why I love Adrian Roger's series on marriage so much--because he really challenges men to love their wives unselfishly.

      I love you and miss you too, Karen! I am hoping to write soon!

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  6. What a lovely - and for me, haunting - post, Rebekah.

    I'm not a safe place for my wife. My past, as a security contractor, has made that impossible. I didn't live a peaceful life, and you can't escape the ramifications of what you have been. She sure didn't win the lottery when she married me, though I have done my best.

    I can only be the best support possible for her; now, terminally ill, I can't even provide.

    Your neighbour at From Messes To Messages.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/10/your-dying-spouse-224-hard-to-go-on.html

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    1. Andrew, your hope and trust in our Heavenly Father speaks safety, too--there is no safer place for you both to hide beneath. You have definitely been an example to me of perseverance and faithfulness through suffering. Love and hope and joy to you, dear brother.

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  7. Hi Rebekah - so glad to be your neighbor at #testimonytuesday. My husband is certainly the safest place in the world for me. When the rubber meets the road, he is often the voice God uses to root and ground me to what is true.

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    1. Tiffany, that is such a blessing and a gift. Thank you for stopping by here. :-) Have a very blessed week!

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  8. Oh what a beautiful, well-written post. I pray that many more women can have a husband who is a safe place for them.

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    1. Yes, Valerie!! I pray the same! Much love to you through our Lord and Savior.

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  9. Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays! Dr. Adrian Rogers used to be my pastor. I met and married my husband at Bellevue Baptist Church. :) We ended up moving to Arizona shortly after Dr. Rogers passed away. Such a great pastor!

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    1. Brandi, that is so neat!! I love Dr. Roger's teaching. The Lord has truly used him to encourage the church.

      Have a very blessed week!

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  10. Your words have reminded me to be so thankful for the man God gave me 26 years ago! He's an everyday blessing!

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    1. That is wonderful, Michele!! Have a blessed week! :-)

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  11. i couldn't help but think that men should be reading this! (: we don't have a lot of control over our man - yet God wants me praying and encouraging mine to be all God wants him to be - check out my related post today - next to you at the linky party. also - Praying for Your Husband printable Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Sue! I will be sure to check out your post! Love and blessings to you through our Lord!

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  12. Dear Mrs. Neal,

    I know you posted this a few months ago, but I've kept your series on marriage/relationships in my inbox. Even though I'm not married, I've loved all your posts in this series...this one especially. I would love it if you would write more in this series. :)

    Have a happy day in Jesus!
    Love in Christ,
    Ashley

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    1. Oh, Ashley, I am encouraged that these posts have been a blessing to you!I am hoping/planning on writing at least a couple more posts for this series after Christmas; I hope that these will be an encouragement, too!

      The Lord bless you--

      Much love in Christ,
      Rebekah

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