by GraceAnna Castleberry
I can still hear my dad’s voice resonating through the sanctuary the day he married my husband and me, “Dear friends, we are gathered here together in the presence of Almighty God and His holy angels, to unite Grant Robert Castleberry and GraceAnna Maude Broggi in holy matrimony.” It was a sacred moment as we stood before family and friends, but most importantly, God, to enter into a marriage covenant. I had fallen in love with my soon-to-be husband in the year preceding this day, but now my love for him was about to change and grow dramatically. I was about to commit to love him for the rest of my life, not only in word, but also in deed. As Grant’s strong hands held mine, I thought about all the reasons I loved him. Our hearts were so alike in our love for God and our call to ministry, but as I admired how handsome he looked in his Marine Corps uniform, my heart swelled with love for the man that I recognized was oh so very different than me. I thanked God for the man He had so graciously brought into my life to lead me. And that sunny afternoon I made a solemn vow before God Almighty to love, respect, submit to, and help him until death separated us.
You Married a MAN
It’s easy to appreciate the differences between us when we are newly married. But as time goes by, sometimes the things that we may have thought were “so cute” as a newly wed, start rubbing us the wrong way as reality of life sets in. Sins are revealed as husbands and wives live in close proximity to one another day in and day out. But as wives, we must be careful to discern between areas of sin in our husband’s life and areas of difference. I’ve often thought of my mom’s wise words to women, “Do you want your husband to be just like you? You married a man.” There have been times in my marriage when I have realized I was frustrated just because my husband was doing something differently than I would or how I thought I wanted him to do it. Instead of appreciating the God-given differences between us, I was trying to change him into someone God didn’t create him to be.
Created to Complement
I think as wives we often forget that from the very beginning, we were created to complement our husband and to help him (Genesis 2:16-25). The very concept of complementing our man means that we are different from him. We are different not just physically, but in many other ways too. Sometimes we can view these differences as a bad thing. A wife often thinks her way is best. I’ve had my share of conversations where I thought I was right, and I’ve overheard others do the same. Those conversations always make me cringe.
Why are you folding the stroller that way? It goes like this.
What is that outfit you put on her? That doesn’t match at all.
I can’t believe you said that! I would never say that.
We can spew so much hurt with just our tone of voice. This is not love (1 Corinthians 13). Just because our husband does something differently than we would, doesn’t mean he’s wrong. On the contrary, there is often much we can glean from his perspective.
As my husband and I raise our two daughters, there are many things he does differently with them than I do. And I love that. I love just watching him with them. I love hearing his deep voice read Bible stories to them and their squeals of delight as he chases them around the house. I love the songs he makes up about them and the way he prays over them at night. And yes, I’m learning to treasure all the ways “daddy does things” because I know they need his strong and protective love and his special way of doing life with them. They need daddy.
And I need my man. I need his perspective, his personality, and his leadership in my life. I treasure the way he makes me laugh every day over mundane things. He inspires me the way he always sees the good in others. I love hearing him teach the Bible or get excited about all things football. His passion for the ways of God points me to Christ day after day. I need this man, with all the strengths and attributes God gave him. I must to resist the urge to change him into someone I think he should be. I want to encourage him to be the man God wants him to be.
There’s a reason God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone,” (Genesis 2:18). After the creation of the world, God declared it good. But after God’s creation of man, there was something that was not good. Man was alone. But Man’s need for woman was not just for companionship. As wives, God created us to be our husband’s “helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18).” Not his critic. Not his teacher. Not over him or underneath him, but to help him, serve beside him, and love him. We are his… and only his woman.
A friend of mine who has been married for almost 20 years said once regarding her marriage, “Not every thing I think needs to come out of my mouth.” Sometimes the best way to love our man is to carefully evaluate if the words we are about to say will truly help him be a godlier husband or father. Are we just sharing our opinion because we don’t like the way he did something? So what if he did things differently? So what if he said something we wouldn’t have said? If there was nothing sinful in it, it is sinful for us to criticize and tear him down. Do we want our man to constantly be telling us all the things we aren’t doing the way he would do them. I want my husband to appreciate the ways in which I am different from him and help me in the areas I need to grow. In the same way, we should extend that same grace to our man that we long to receive. What if we just loved him for the man he is? What if instead of nagging him, we helped him be more like Christ? Would our marriage look different? Would he be more confident? More open? Less stressed? Would he second-guess himself less?
When I contemplate my sin and the grace God has given me, not just in saving me, but giving me the gift of marriage, I am humbled. The day I married my husband was one of the happiest days of my life. God brought me a best friend, someone I fell in love with not just because we were similar, but also because we were different. I love who he is. I don’t want to change him into someone I think he should be. I want to treasure the man he is now. I want to help him be the man God wants him to be in the future. I want to truly love him. He is my man.
GraceAnna Castleberry is a wife, mother, and worker at home. She lives in Louisville, KY with her husband Grant, who is pursuing a M.Div. at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow her on Twitter @gacastleberry.
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