In 2008 while in seminary (Western Seminary) I took a class on Loving God and Loving Others. Two of the books we had to read (and then summarize) were Becoming a Godly Wife and Becoming a Godly Husband. The summary for Becoming a Godly Wife is here. This is my summary of Becoming a Godly Husband.
Jokes abound on how hard it is for a husband to understand his wife, please her, or to love her in a way that matters to her. This book, Becoming a Godly Husband by Dr. Gil Stieglitz, takes the mystery out of these worthwhile and marriage-changing endeavors. By following the advice written in the form of the acrostic H.U.S.B.A.N.D., men can successfully understand, please, and love their wives in ways that matter to them. The acrostic stands for H-honor, U – Understanding, S – Security, B – Building Unity, A – Agreement, N – Nurture, D – Defender.
This book gives men practical tips and exercises. If followed, husbands can “encourage, develop and release [their wives] to achieve [their] maximum potential for the glory of God” (11). A great side benefit is that the wives will learn it is safe to trust, respect, and follow their husbands.
As a woman I had conflicting emotions while reading the book. I felt like I was being treated like a child needing the guidance of someone “older and wiser telling me what to do” in order to successfully navigate life. And paradoxically I found myself yearning for this type of relationship.
I reacted to the material in this fashion for three reasons.
- Society. I had subconsciously adopted society’s message that there are no differences between men and women (roles, abilities, reactions, etc.). In this context that would mean that a husband does not have a particular ministry for and obligation to his wife and visa-versa.
- Sadness. Reading the various points and examples of the acrostic showed me how my marriage was not like this. I would have liked to feel emotionally, physically, and spiritually secure with my husband. I am sad that we did not have the material from this book.
- Doubt. According to the marriage models I’ve seen, I doubt that many husbands would be interested enough or motivated enough to make these godly husband principles a part of their long-term thinking /behaviors. Although, I would love to see marriages operate this way.
Obviously since I am not a man or a husband, I cannot use these principles in a marriage. But I have started using the points in the book as journal prompts. In journaling these issues I am seeing more clearly my false ideas and where forgiveness for my ex and even for myself needs to take place. I am very sad while journaling, but I am hoping that someday I will be released from the pain as I truthfully face these issues of abandonment. I am also praying the principles for my son for when he gets married (no plans yet).