My friends and I recently returned from hosting our 4th LIFEQUESTweekend event. (I’ve posted previously about these events.) We love doing these events and hope they change lives, mine included! As any person who takes on the role of a “guide” or “teacher” or “public speaker” will tell you, what we’re really offering is our lives. So, it’s not just about mastering the material, it’s about living it, letting it have it’s affect on you.
It’s one of the things I’ve come to enjoy about these events, with all the preparation and planning, etc., it’s the impact “the message” has on my own life. This time was no exception. I don’t want to just learn the words, I want to learn how to really live.
So, this year I did something really risky — I asked my wife to “give it to me straight” about one of the main topics we cover in our weekend event. I asked my wife to tell me, “What does it mean to ‘Rescue The Beauty’?” And more specifically, what does it look like, feel like, sound like for me to rescue YOU?
I had no idea what she might write. I didn’t want it to just be something cliché or pat. I didn’t want her to patronize me or coddle me. But, I admit, I was a little nervous to hear what she might say, or how I’m doing at it. What she came back with was one of the most thoughtful, honest, gracious, and wise letters she’s ever written me. Her words gave me hope and direction and purpose. And so, I asked her if I could post her letter here for others to read. I believe her thoughts are universally applicable.
So, Men, here’s my challenge — print a copy of this blog-post and read it together with your wife (or maybe even with one of the other important women in you life.) Ask her where she feels the same way and where she doesn’t. Let it be the beginning of a discussion of what it looks like from her perspective to fight for her. As for me, I plan to read my wife’s letter over and over, to study it, to make it part of my thought processes, and hope it changes our future together.
Women, I’d love to offer a similar challenge, but… I’m just not sure how. I don’t want to be careless with your heart. I’m cautious in offering these suggestions at-large. I’ve done enough work with men and women to know we each have a lot to learn about our partners. And, we have a lot to learn about our own hearts and our needs and wounds and insecurities. These types of deep questions can be really tough waters to navigate. So, proceed with care. Guys and Ladies, proceed with caution and gentleness and grace. Go in with the right motives. And remember, it’s a journey of discovery, not a sprint to an answer.
I hope this sparks some really good conversation and draws some really good things from each of you. I know it already is having that effect on me.
Learning to love,
I’m writing this letter to let you know what I believe it means to “rescue the beauty.” First of all I think I should tell you what I think it is NOT. It is NOT just fulfilling your role as a husband. I wonder if guys sometimes confuse the idea of “being a good husband” with the idea of “rescuing the beauty.” Describing the role of a good husband would include words like love, respect, honor, support, availability, communication, and romance, providing financially, parenting, working as a team and doing your part. I believe all the above words (and more) should be used to describe a good marriage and are played out on both sides with husbands and wives seeking to be a good spouse to the other. Still, I don’t believe the above words are all there is to “rescuing the beauty.” Being a good husband is fulfilling the more surface needs. Rescuing the beauty addresses the deeper needs.
Here’s what I believe it looks like to rescue the beauty…it looks like Jesus. Jesus is your ultimate example for rescuing the beauty. In Ephesians 5 it says, “Husbands love your wife like Christ loved the church.” Christ loves us in ways too numerous to count. The thing that comes to mind right now though is laying His life down…living as a human when He could have been in Heaven…going to the cross. When Christ went to the cross he didn’t want to do it. It was really, really hard but he did it because he loved us and wanted to rescue us. Practically speaking, if a husband can put aside/give-up/sacrifice what he is doing to turn to his wife and take care of her needs, he is “rescuing the beauty.” In my mind sacrifice/laying aside one’s self is the first step in rescuing the beauty…and I think probably the hardest part.
The second part of the rescue isn’t as clear-cut. It is more unclear…really it is a puzzle for each husband to figure out. I wish I could give you 10 Simple Steps to Rescuing the Beauty, but I can’t. Each husband must figure out what his wife’s needs and struggles are. They could be self-esteem, addiction, health, childhood wounds, etc., etc., etc. It is each husband’s responsibility to learn his wife’s needs and struggles.
The other verse that comes to mind when I think about rescuing the beauty is Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61 is how Jesus rescues us and I think those words should be used as an example of how to “rescue the beauty.” Here is what I would like to ask you to do for me as it applies to “rescuing the beauty” with Isaiah 61 as my guide—
“Bind up the brokenhearted” Help me with and counsel me through my struggles. Be an avenue of healing for me. No one else can speak into my life like you. No one else has seen the struggles I’ve been through like you. Cry with me, Empathize with me. Make my struggles your struggles. Be part of my solution.
“Proclaim freedom to the captives” Give me freedom to follow my passions and my desires. Encourage me to go for my dreams. Release me from those expectations you have of me so you can accept and love me for who I am instead of who you want me to be. Help me to be who God wants me to be.
“Release from darkness for the prisoners” Pray for me often, not just a quick morning prayer that I “have a good day.” Pray powerful spiritual battle prayers…from darkness and for protection, for my needs, for my struggles, and for my joys.
“Comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve” Listen to me when I’m hurt and give me a shoulder to cry on. Give me comfort, encouragement, understanding and compassion. Don’t be passive and uncaring. Don’t let me go through things alone.
“Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes” Make me feel beautiful, lovely, cherished, adored and worthy. This is a hard one. I’m not quite sure how to accomplish this one. Ask God for answers on how to do this. Practice gratefulness for me and the good qualities you see in me. Don’t take me for granted. Treat me like a princess, want the best for me, take good care of me, be gentle to me…that makes me feel cherished and adored.
“The oil of joy instead of mourning” Laugh with me. Enjoy being with me to do the fun stuff.
“A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” When I am missing what God is doing or feeling like “where is God in all this?” point him out to me. Remind me that God loves me and He is doing great things. Remind me of all the ways God has been good to me and has taken care of us.
Remember, setting your stuff aside for me is of key importance. I don’t exactly know all the reasons why it makes a difference, but it does. A wise woman once said, “You must risk something valuable to take care of someone’s needs.” I know you can’t always set everything aside for me all the time…I don’t expect that. I just hope you are able to do it some of the time…I will do the same for you.
I know this is a lot of stuff to process. I hope it doesn’t feel like a big weight because it really isn’t meant to be. I figure we all just do the best we can. Jesus doesn’t expect perfection and neither do I. Jesus put plenty of grace in this world for us all.
I Love You, Annie
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” Proverbs 18:22
This didn’t really fit with anything I had to say but I read it in quiet time today and thought it would be a good thing for you to ponder J (ha ha, just joking)
QUESTION: What jumped out at you? Is there one thing that you might be willing to meditate on this week to see the effect it has?