My husband Gene has always been a great provider for our family, choosing to hold two jobs. The spring of 2008, he had the first of four back surgeries. He went from running three miles daily and a bench press of over 300 lbs. to not being able to tie his running shoes or lift anything heavier than a baby.
He is not able to sit or stand more than 30 minutes at a time and his pain is constant. He has more screws in his body than a hardware store has in stock. He has dealt with depression for the first time, and he is no longer the one friends call for his strength on moving day. He lost his jobs due to his health and was approved by a judge for social security disability.
I am now the one working two jobs, but not all changes have been negative. As his physical walk weakened, his spiritual walk strengthened. He needs help to get up from the couch, but I’ve opened our bedroom door to find him kneeling on the wooden floors praying. During his time of recovery, God gave him the idea for a ministry. Three times a week he sends a verse out to what started out to just a few friends. He now sends God’s Word out to over 100 people each week.
As he tried dealing with losing his role as our provider, I began to lose respect for my husband. I longed to be the woman in Proverbs 31 whose husband was respected at the city gates because of his better half and yet he wasn’t respected at my front door. I resented him for my new position of working so much. I didn’t know how to make him feel like he was still the leader and provider of our family, so I opened my Bible.
Ephesians 5:22-27 is a familiar passage to married couples. It instructs wives to respect, and husbands to love, but this time God showed me something different. Six words would pop out to me and mull around in my head for weeks found in verse 26: washing with water through the word.
I approached Gene on a Friday morning this past February, and asked him if he would be willing to read scripture over me aloud. Then I shared the verse in Ephesians that prompted me to ask him. I asked if he could commit to washing me with water through the word. As he sat up straighter, he agreed with excitement and opened his Bible and read over me. We hugged and prayed and off to work I went.
Saturday came and nothing. I didn’t want to nag him, but I wanted him to know how important this was for us. Sunday morning I got off work at 7am and when I got home I woke him up and asked him to please take it serious. A half hour later he called me into the kitchen to show me his devotion book. The key verses for that day were Ephesians 5:26-27 and that is when he began to take his role as God appointed.
Why is it important for a man to read God’s Word aloud to his wife? I found there to be three main reasons:
- Because God wants him to. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word
- He encourages her. It is hard to disrespect a man reading God’s Word over you.
- Because she needs him to. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For me, it is easier to be led by my husband when he is investing in me spiritually.
God had strategically placed my husband into a leadership and provider role without him even knowing of His plan. He also taught me that provision and leadership doesn’t always come from a healthy man in a workplace. Sometimes, it’s a broken body kneeling on wooden floors behind closed doors. When a husband loses his job, even if it is out of his control he will battle with losing his position. Do not add to his feelings of unworthiness and let him lose the position of respect in your home and heart. If you are a wife of an unemployed husband or you are an unemployed husband, consider the six words that changed our marriage, for there is power in God’s Word.