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Understanding Your Role as a Wife

with Cindy Easley | July 18, 2006

On today's broadcast, FamilyLife speaker Cindy Easley, wife of Moody President Michael Easley, encourages women to appreciate their husbands in ways they'll notice.

On today's broadcast, FamilyLife speaker Cindy Easley, wife of Moody President Michael Easley, encourages women to appreciate their husbands in ways they'll notice.

Understanding Your Role as a Wife

With Cindy Easley
|
July 18, 2006
| Download Transcript PDF

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Bob: Michael and Cindy Easley hadn't been married long when they began to realize that being married is a little bit like dancing.

Cindy: There's two ways that you're led by someone on the dance floor.  The first is by the hands.  You put your hands together, and you keep your arm stiff, and they either push on your hand for you to go backwards, or they let up pressure, and you know to go forward, okay?  So you're feeling, you're constantly feeling for these pressure points to know where to go.  So the first thing I had to do was learn how Michael led, how much pressure was I going to feel?  The second thing is sometimes I needed to ask him for a better lead.  The third thing we learned is that if I didn't follow, we didn't dance.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, July 18th.  Have you been stepping on one another's toes recently?  Stay with us.  We'll see if we can give you some dance lessons today.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition.  And, you know, our daughter, Amy, is just a few days away from getting married.

Dennis: How are you doing?  I notice that you're walking a lot lighter in your shoes.

Bob: You noticed that …

Dennis: You've taken some coins out of your pocket for the ol' wedding.

Bob: It is a little lighter.  We're all looking forward to the celebration of Amy's wedding, and one of the things that was a lot of fun for me was back in the spring Amy and her fiancé went to one of our Weekend to Remember conferences.  They went to one in Southern California, and, of course, I called as soon as the conference was over and said, "Well, well, what did you think?"  You know, I wanted the debrief.

 And both of them said it was really good, and here's a list of books we'd like you to get for us.  They had copied down a number …

Dennis: Looking for a freebie.

Bob: … a number of books that they'd heard mentioned at the conference that they wanted to start going through, and I thought, "Well, I'll make that investment in a day."

Dennis: Absolutely.

Bob: Because I wanted them, as they start their marriage, to have the right foundation and, frankly, I want to make sure a year from now they're back at one of the Weekend to Remember conferences and going through it again after they have a few months of cohabiting under their belts, you know?

Dennis: Yeah, legal cohabiting.  That word could be misunderstood.  And the reason we want our children to get to the Weekend to Remember is we know that they're going to get the biblical blueprints for what it looks like to be a husband, a father, a wife, and a mother.

Bob: Yeah, and this month we are encouraging our listeners to sign up for one of these conferences.  We're going to be hosting them in cities all across the country this fall, and we would like folks to go to our website, FamilyLife.com.  On the site, you'll find a list of all of the upcoming conferences, what weekend they're being held in which city.  You can decide which is the right conference for you to attend, and then if you'll register between now and the end of July, you will save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee.  That's a FamilyLife Today listener special, we call it "Bob's Special Offer" around here, and as you fill out the form online to register, when you come to the keycode box …

Dennis: They have to drop your name.

Bob: You need to type my name, "Bob" …

Dennis: In the keycode box.

Bob: In the keycode box.  That way we know you're a FamilyLife Today listener.

Dennis: Can you spell it backwards?

Bob: If you'd like.

Dennis: And it works that way, too.

Bob: Yes.  You can go in either direction.  You could also call 1-800-FLTODAY to register or to get any questions you have answered, and there you don't have to mention my name.  You just mention you're a FamilyLife Today listener, and that's good enough. We'll give you the group rate.  That means you'll save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee, and you'll be in line for a fun, romantic weekend getaway where together you'll learn just what you were talking about -- what God's plan is for husbands, wives, moms, dads, what the Bible has to say about building a stronger marriage and a healthy family.

Dennis: And earlier we had the chance to hear Cindy Easley, she is the wife of Michael Easley, president of Moody Bible Institute, and Michael and Cindy are good friends and have been speaking at our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences for a number of years.  In fact, Michael and Cindy have won the highest award we give to our speaker team, The President's Award.

Bob: That's right, he's got that trophy, and he keeps it in the basement of his house, is that what you said?

Dennis: You know, I spent the night with them one time, and I found it not merely in the basement, but the trophy -- and, folks, it was a nice trophy.  It was a nice trophy, and I realize this broadcast is heard on a number of Moody outlets around the country …

Bob: … maybe not any longer.

Dennis: I want the trophy out of the basement is what I wonder any longer.  Anyway, Cindy is going to speak here to the wives about how you can be a supportive wife.  You know, when God made a woman, in Genesis, chapter 2, He described her as a helpmate, one who comes alongside her husband, and her job description is very clear in Ephesians, chapter 5.  Let's listen to Cindy Easley.

Cindy: [from Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference] Proverbs 31 reads, "An excellent wife you can find, for her worth is far above jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."  Support is a complementary, not a competitive way of relating to your husband.  It's complementary.  Again, in Proverbs goes on -- "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, that he who shames him is as rottenness to the bones," and he needs your support in three areas.

 First, he needs support in his job.  Sometimes that means accepting an unusual schedule.  Are any of you in here military wives?  God bless you, thank you.  In our church we have about 90 men and women who have been deployed to Iraq.  We do have a very large church and a very large military community.  I so admire the families that have been left behind.  We have families in our church that the husbands were reservists.  They were just -- had regular jobs, and yet they've been deployed for a year in Iraq.  And the steadfastness these women have is beyond human.  They are so willing to allow their husbands to do what their husbands were called to, that sometimes when I complain about Michael being late two hours, I'm ashamed, because they're willing to give it up for a year, give it all up.

 Sometimes we have to accept an unusual schedule.  Sometimes it means to accept our husbands, support them in their job, is to be involved in their job.  No, no, you're not going to go to work with your husband, that's not what I mean.  But sometimes we do need to ask questions.  We need to understand what they do.  It might be that you need to offer to invite over the people he works with and have a barbecue this summer, just to have a way to get involved.  Another little tiny way to get involved that I think is quite helpful is to go to, like, one of these Glamour Shot places or at least a good photographer and have a really good photograph made of yourself, and then have it displayed predominantly in your husband's office or workplace.

 Now, I've got to tell you, you know, would think a pastor, it would be a pretty safe place to be, but there are women who see my husband on Sunday morning at his best, and they don't realize that he's a man, and all that that entails, and so they come into the office, and they are actually out for my husband.  Isn't that shocking?  Well, you know what?  There are women out there that are out for your husband, too.  You're thinking, "Not a chance."

[laughter]

 Big change, believe me, because when he's cleaned up at work, he's different, right?  So you need to state your presence.  Number two, he needs your support in public.  I hope you wouldn't scream at your husband in public.  But you know what?  You might do what I do.  I have two things I do that I believe is not supporting my husband in public.  The first is something called sarcasm.  Do you know what sarcasm is?  It's humor with a message.  Do you know what I've discovered?  When I'm sarcastic with Michael in public, I've got to reel back and figure out what is bugging me, and it may take me two or three days to figure it out, and then I have to go to him in private and say, "This is a problem.  We've got to deal with this, and I apologize for being sarcastic with you," because that's not ever helpful.  It makes everyone uncomfortable in the room.

 The second thing that I found out that I do, and I am working on this today, and that is that I correct his stories.  Isn't it amazing how wrong our husbands can be when they're telling stories?  You know, they say it was on a Sunday -- it was on a Saturday.  They say they did it -- you did it.  They say it was your third child -- it was your first child.  But do you know what I've figured out?  The details of the story really don't ever matter, they really don't.  And so I've learned, I am learning, I constantly fight this because it really bugs me some days, to let him tell the story how he sees it.

 Third, our husbands need our support in the home, and I think the place that this comes into play in my life mostly is around the children.  It's that I need to not step in and interfere in my husband's parenting.  I need to not step in and disagree with his leadership in front of the children.  There is a time that I go and say, "I think you overreacted with this child.  Let me tell you what's going on in their heart," or something like that, or, "I think you let him get away with too much.  I know he's a boy but, you know?  So there's times that I will do that, but that is in private not in front of the kids.

 Letter C, he needs support as leader of the relationship.  This support is called -- I hate this word -- "submission" in Scripture.  Let's look.  What is submission?  First, submission does not mean -- it does not mean "to be inferior."  Remember, we are all equal -- equal value -- it is role not rank.

 B, it does not mean to lose your identity and become a nonperson.  It does not mean that you don't have any thoughts or feelings or emotions and that you don't express those.  It never means blind obedience.  Submission is not intellectual suicide.  It does not mean you should feel used.

 It is not, Letter E, allowing your husband to violate the law or to be physically abusive and, Letter F, to be submissive does not mean that you follow your husband into sin.  We should always be submissive to God before anyone else.  That's what submission is not.  So what is submission?  Submission, first of all, is responding to your husband's leadership with a view to God's design for marriage.  I have found the more willing I am to follow, the better leader Michael becomes.  It's fascinating.  Submission does mean encouraging your husband to lead by willingly coming under his leadership.

 Several years ago, Michael and I took ballroom dancing.  Not, you know, like the fru-fru stuff, because he does a lot of weddings, and I just wanted to be able to get out on the floor and dance with my husband.  You know, when I was in high school and went to prom, we did this kind of dancing -- you know, that was our slow dancing, that bear-hug stuff, and I don't think Michael even did that.  We didn't go to the same high school, so I wouldn't know, but I really wanted to take ballroom dancing.  I had for years.  I just wanted to learn how to do things like the foxtrot and the waltz and those kind of things.  And so he, as a surprise, set up ballroom dancing lessons for me.

 Well, first of all, what I found out was they weren't quite as romantic as I thought they would be, because he sweats a whole lot on the dance floor.

[laughter]

 But as we took this 10-week lesson, we began to learn things about our marriage through ballroom dancing.  It was fascinating, and let me give you three little lessons I learned through ballroom dancing.  The first is that I had to learn how Michael led on the dance floor.  Now, when you are dancing like that -- some of you are great dancers, and so you're going to know this, but those of you who don't -- there's two ways that you're led by someone on the dance floor.  The first is by the hands.  You put your hands together, and you know how -- usually, you dance, you just hold your hands -- what you really do is you keep your arm stiff, and you put your hands together either like this or this, and they either push on your hand for you to go backwards, or they let up pressure, and you know to go forward, okay? 

The second thing is that the hand on the small of your back, they put pressure on your back to either move you forward, or they let up to go back.  And they also use the palm of their hand to move you to the right or the tips of their hands to move you -- that would be to the left or to the right.  So you're feeling, you're constantly feeling for these pressure points to know where to go.  Because, remember, you're a lot of times going backwards and haven't a clue if you're about to run into somebody.  It's somewhat frightening.  So the first thing I had to do was learn how Michael led, how much pressure was I going to feel?  The second thing is sometimes I needed to ask him for a better lead.  Sometimes he would say, "Cindy, you're not following me," and I'd say, "Michael, I don't know where you're taking me.  I need to feel your lead.  I need more pressure there.  I need to know, where are we going.  I need a firmer lead.  The third thing we learned is that if I didn't follow, we didn't dance.  We stood there on the dance floor tripping over each other.  Ballroom dancing does wonders for your marriage.

The top of page 137 -- last -- the last responsibility that a wife has is respecting her husband.  And let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.  Respect means to voluntarily regard another person with honor, esteem, and deference.  Respect can't be demanded.  We have to be willing to give it.  Respecting your husband involves two things -- understanding and appreciation. 

First, we need to understand and appreciate the weight of his responsibilities and pressures.  Michael told you about how I like to look at houses, and just driving by them, I especially like old houses, like stone houses, and it never dawned on me that he was feeling pressure that he wasn't a good provider until he told me.  How many of you own a pressure cooker?  You know, it used to be, 10 years ago when I started this conference, everybody had one.  Today we don't even know what they are.

Well, let me tell you about a pressure cooker.  We, our husbands, are like pressure cookers.  When you have a pressure cooker, from what I understand -- I used to watch my mom can things, and she would -- we would get the peas or whatever ready -- black-eyed peas -- and she would put them in Ball jars, put them inside the pressure cooker, she would put the top on the pressure cooker, lock it, and put this little round thing on this little valve thing.  Those are the technical terms.  Okay.  And then she'd say, "Oh, kids, hey, kids, back out of the kitchen in case it blows."

[laughter]

 All right?  I won't use a pressure cooker because I don’t trust myself not to let it blow.  So our husbands are like those pressure cookers with that little valve, and we're like that little round thing that sits on top.  You know, our husbands can come in from a day of work, or we can meet them somewhere in the middle of our day, and we know when they're under pressure, don't we?  We can be like the top of that little pressure where we let it off.  In a pressure cooker, you're supposed to let that steam off, right?  We can be like that pressure cooker, we can let it off.  Or we can tighten that baby down until they blow.  You know what the sick part is?  Sometimes we like to do it.

[laughter]

 Isn't that right?  And we are the only people that can help your husband let off that pressure.  We need to understand the weight and appreciate the weight of the responsibilities and their pressures.  Too, we need to understand and appreciate their unique needs as a man.  They are different, aren't they?  We need to understand and appreciate he is different as a man.  Boy, you've heard that a lot this weekend, haven't you?  They are different.

 Letter C, encouragement means saying and doing things both that build them up.  Number 2 -- encouragement says, "I believe in you."  It's knowing your husband's strengths and building on them.  It's pointing out the things he does well to him.  It's complimenting him when he's in a situation that he's handled it very well.

 Admiration demonstrates respect that energizes your husband.  It's saying, "Thank you," even when it's their job.  Now, you know, your husband may be the one that takes the trash out.  Have you ever thought about thanking him for doing that?  You know, there's times that Michael most nights, actually, he puts our two smaller children to bed.  He reads them a story, usually a biblical story, and then he puts them into bed, prays with them, and comes down.  Now, that is called "parenting," right?  It is his job.  He is their parent.  But I have learned that when he comes downstairs, if I say, "I am so thankful that you did that tonight, thank you so much because I am at the end of my energy, and I really appreciate you doing that."  Then he feels better, and the next night he is often willing to do it.

 Number 2, admiration says "I'm proud of you," and that's verbally and non-verbally.  It's nonverbally going and standing by your husband and letting people know that this is your husband, introducing him to people you know, to your friends, to other people in your life that have impacted you.  And also it is telling him, "I am so proud of you."

 You know, my husband has been a pastor for about 18 years, and we've been in from a small church.  Our first church was very, very small to now a very, very large church, and he is the senior pastor, he's the talking head, the one that gets up there every week and speaks, and a very interesting thing happens in our home every Sunday.  We have four services.  I go to the first two hours, and then -- so he doesn't get home until quite a bit later from the kids and I.  And he walks in the door, and after he changes, almost every Sunday he'll say, "So, how'd I do?"

 Now, he doesn't always use those words.  Sometimes it's "How was that illustration, or did you think that fell flat," or he'll almost always ask me.  Now, this kind of slays me, because in our congregation where we're located, we have senators, congressmen, admirals, generals, we have some high-powered people.  Do you know who he really cares about?  Me, my opinion.  And your husband does, too.  Sometimes he quits asking, though, because he knows he's not going to get anything that is going to affirm him; that's going to show admiration.  We need to verbally say, "I am so proud of you."

 Because deep down we all know this one thing -- what truly matters in this life is helping others to win, even if it means slowing yourself down and changing your course.

[musical transition]

Bob: Well, we've been listening again to Cindy Easley talking about how a wife can support and love and affirm her husband, and you were chuckling as she was talking about Michael asking, "How did I do?"

Dennis: Yeah, that's because I ask Barbara the same thing.  But I was also chuckling, I was thinking, you know, there are a lot of wives who aren't married to speakers, and your husband is still wondering, "How am I doing?"  And just around his role of being a husband, a father, a provider, I think it's the wise woman who uses her words to build her husband up and not tear him down, and I think that's Cindy's point here, and every woman would, I think, be wise to regularly point out to their husbands what they're doing right.  You know, just think of how the average husband comes home from work, and I realize wives come home from work, too.  Some of them have their work all day long at home, you know, come home, they are at work all day and don't get a chance to leave it.

 But just allow me, for a second, to be a man and talk to wives about this -- a man can come home and you know what?  His home is his harbor, and if he gets beaten up there, too, then, you know, it's not quite the safe place in the storm that it needs to be and, Bob, it's why I really -- I just commend every young couple and, for that matter, any couple who has been married 15, 25, 30, 35, 40 years go to the Weekend to Remember because all of us need help and encouragement and training to be better at the major responsibilities that we have in life and certainly in our marriages.

Bob: Well, and, as you know, this month we're trying to add a little incentive to encourage FamilyLife Today listeners to set aside a weekend this fall and be at one of our upcoming conferences.  If you will register for one of the fall conferences between now and the end of July, you can save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee simply by being a FamilyLife Today listener.

 Here is what you ought to do.  You ought to go to the website, FamilyLife.com, you'll find there a listing of locations where the conference is being held this fall.  The dates are there, all of the information you need.  Figure out which weekend works for you, which location is best for you, and then you can either register online or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY and register over the phone.  We could also answer any questions you might have about upcoming date and locations when you call 1-800-FLTODAY.  When you call, make sure to mention you're a FamilyLife Today listener in order to qualify for the $60 per couple savings off the regular registration fee. 

 If you're registering online, you will come to a keycode box.  As you fill out the registration type my name in there.  Just type in "Bob."  They will know that you're entitled to Bob's Special Offer, that's what they call it around here, and you will save $60 per couple off the regular registration fee.

 Now, this is available, again, only through the month of July.  So today would be a good day to go ahead and take care of that, get online or call 1-800-FLTODAY and make plans to be a part of one of these upcoming events when it comes to a city near where you live this fall.

 And if, for some reason, you're not able to be at the Weekend to Remember conference, you can hear the messages from a Weekend to Remember in our Weekend to Remember CD album.  In fact, the message we've been listening to this week from Cindy Easley is a part of that CD album.  If you'd like more information about ordering the entire CD series, go to our website, FamilyLife.com or ask for details when you call 1-800-FLTODAY.

 Now, tomorrow we want to tell you about a recent Weekend to Remember conference that was held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that turned out to be one for the ages.  We'll give you the information tomorrow.  I hope you can be back with us for that.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.

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