I had a conversation recently that challenged several of my beliefs and assumptions. Good thing I like challenges! :-)
First, the conversation challenged my beliefs about men. In case you haven't noticed, I tend to be a tad cynical about men. I don't like being that way, and I have been battling against it, but sometimes it creeps back in full-force.
But the man I was talking to said this:
If a man loves his wife as Christ loves the church and is willing to lay down his very life for her, she will be able to submit easily and willingly. So it is the husband's responsiblity to figure out what he is doing wrong when a wife doesn't submit or submits only out of a sense of duty. A wife should submit as a response to her husband's love and only rarely because it is "required" of her.
I have to admit, that sounds like a marriage made in heaven, literally. And my cynicism says that it would never happen on this side of the pearly gates. But that flicker of hope in me says, "But if there are men who believe this, then it can indeed happen here! Perhaps imperfectly, but if a man were at least trying to love his wife that way..." Score one for Hope, zero for Cynicism, because there are apparently men who believe this!
And then my friend challenged a belief I have held about myself. I commented on something a wife should or shouldn't do, and added, "Not that I am an expert on being a good wife, since I have failed at that twice now."
To which my friend replied, "I disagree. I think you probably make a very good wife. You learn from your situation and aren't afraid to step back and examine what went wrong and then do it a different way in the future."
Another wow. That goes a long way to helping with the whole self-condemnation issue I've been dealing with. To see myself from that perspective helps more than my friend could've possibly known when he said that.
Final score: Hope 2; Cynicism 0.
Now you see why I like a good challenge! :-)