I read a marriage devotion recently, and I think, in a few simple words, it may have completely changed the way I look at my husband. And since he never reads my blogs (or my books, for that matter. Hey!), I can talk about it here. (Don’t fear. That’s largely the end of me talking about my husband. He’s safe. This now selfishly shoots back to me.)
The devotion writer pointed out that the surest way to offend someone is to mistreat that person’s child. I know this is true. Just a few days ago at church a young boy was cruel to my youngest son, and I wanted blood. It doesn’t take much to bring out mama bear.
God is pretty fanatical about his kids, too. I mean, He sent his natural son to die so He could adopt a bunch of other sons and daughters. We have a lot of value to him. Nobody mistreats us and gets away with it, not long term. The Old Testament, especially, is filled with verses about how God will come for his people, sword out and battle ready. Nations that mistreated his kids went down, and they went down hard.
Those of you females reading this might be aware of the current trend for Christian women to think of themselves as princesses. In a world that body shames and life shames and passes cruel judgments, we need to be reminded that we are royalty, beautiful and beloved in the eyes of God. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
And yet strangely I was surprised when the devotion writer pointed out that I married a prince. If I am beloved and beautiful and special to God, so is my spouse. He’s the son of a King. That same God who comes with sword drawn to defend his princesses–yeah, you guessed it. He’s pretty enamored with his princes, too. And I have been entrusted with one. There is a special one in my home all the time, one who is flawed sometimes, clueless sometimes, wise and powerful sometimes, and always one the King loves deeply.
I don’t know why I never thought of it this way, except I think our culture can be hard on men. I say this as a mother of three boys and one girl. Sometimes girls are taught it’s okay to abuse boys verbally. It’s okay to be hands on and play rough with the boys. Teasing boys and making fun of the entire sex–that’s acceptable. The boys are supposed to respect and love the girls as the princesses they are, and yet the girls aren’t always taught that it’s not a one-way street. They aren’t taught to see those boys as princes, sons of the living God as much as they are daughters, and just as worthy of respect and honor. It breaks my heart, because sometimes it breaks my boys, who will one day be men.
When we got married, my husband asked me not to play the wife game where we women get together and bash our husbands. He’d heard women do that, and it bothered him. It was a strange request, because he doesn’t ask things like that. This mattered immensely to him. He needed me to be on his side both when I was with him and when I was with others. (Okay, I lied. I’m talking about my husband again. But it’s good things!)
I’ve never forgotten that request. My prince, the son of my King, is vulnerable. I think most of God’s princes are. He wants to succeed at parenting, husbanding, life in general. But sometimes he’ll fail, and he needs to know I’m on his side. I’m not perfect, either, and sometimes when I’m hurt or angry I might slide into the wife game where we compare our husbands’ imperfections, but I try to guard my mouth and heart and protect him. He does the same for me. Both of us have royalty to protect and cherish. It’s a beautiful thing.
I married a prince. His Dad is a Big Deal. Am I acting like I care? Do I respect both the prince and his Father? Whether or not my husband respects his princess isn’t the question here (although, FYI, he does.). This is about me and how I perceive the man gifted to me. Do I focus on his moments of imperfection, or do I focus on his growth, on his journey to become the man he will be for eternity, a completed, mighty, grown son of his Father?
Of course, I can’t forget I’m raising little princes and princesses, too. The people in my world are important. They matter more than I can comprehend, just like I matter more than I can comprehend. I’ve been entrusted with a huge job, raising, loving, guiding, protecting such important people. It’s amazing to me that God put so many of his precious sons and daughters into my care. I pray I take that charge seriously and treat them as their Father wants to see them treated.